Through a Returning Eye: Toishan, China

Photographer Alan Chin documents the story of the Chinese-American diaspora and his family history by visiting his roots in Toishan, China mainland.

It wasn't Chin's first time to visit Toishan, a county located in Guangdong Province, Southern China. It was a poor and overpopulated county in the 19th century, and was very close to Guangzhou, where foreign influences and powers firstly entered China. By the 1960's, it then became a recruiting ground for 'coolies' -- those who made the American transcontinental railroad and those who emigrated to the West to become restaurant workers and laundrymen.

With at least a population of one million, Toishan looks more of an urban area than a province, as the area has buildings, factories, multi-lane divided highways, new model cars, well-dressed pedestrians. For Chin, Toishan is where his ancestral home is, enabled to speak a local dialect of Cantonese exclusive to Toishan. He revisits his ancestral home, to discover his lineage history and how most of them already left for the United States, Malaysia and Canada.

Toishan is now becoming a forgotten rural in China engulfed in a quiet, sustained crisis.


Images are from the Kickstarter page.

2017-04-19 #places #china #documentary-photography #toishan #alan-chin

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