Mexico’s President Apologizes for the 1911 Massacre that Killed Over 300 Chinese People

Mexico’s president made a public apology on Monday for the killing of over 300 Chinese people by the revolutionary forces of Francisco I. Madero in the city of Torreón over a century ago.

Gruesome history: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he wants to ensure the 1911 massacre, in which Chinese nationals were mutilated or hung from telegraph poles, “never, ever happens again,” reported the Associated Press

  • Obrador said the discrimination was based on the “most vile and offensive stereotypes,” adding “these stupid ideas were transferred to Mexico, where extermination was added to exclusion and mistreatment.”
  • His apology was part of Obrador’s efforts to atone for the past mistreatment of Indigenous and minority people in Mexico. 
  • “We will never forget the brotherhood of the Chinese during the bitter and anguishing months of the pandemic,” he added.
  • Chinese Ambassador Zhu Qingqiao was present during Obrador’s apology ceremony.

Hate born of envy: The racial killings of 303 Chinese men, women and children happened after revolutionary troops overran Torreón in 1911, during the early parts of the Mexican Revolution.

  • The victims were descendants of Chinese laborers who migrated to Mexico in the 1800s to work on the expansion of the nation’s rail network, setting up businesses, farms and other establishments.
  • During this period, some Mexican people reportedly grew envious of the success of some Chinese immigrants, with others blaming them for taking jobs or depressing wage rates in Torreón.
  • When revolutionary troops took over the city from May 13-15 in 1911, they killed many of the Chinese people living there. Some managed to survive by hiding or were rescued by local residents.
  • Following the massacre, the Chinese government demanded an apology and indemnity of 12 million pesos ($605,000) from Mexico.
  • Reparations for the killings were promised for the massacre following the success of the revolutionary government but no payment was ever made.

Featured Image via Newzee (left), Jesús Roberto Duarte (Public Domain Mark 1.0) (right)

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