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Laborers from all across Asia journeyed to the Pacific Northwest, in search of fortune and freedom. Push factors such as war, famine, and restricted civil liberties in their homelands drove thousands of Chinese, Japanese and Filipino citizens to the other side of the Pacific. Although all these groups contributed widely to the growth of the Washington Territory, and later, state, it was the Chinese who settled first and in the largest numbers. By the 1860s when news of the discovery of gold in Eastern Washington had reached the distant shores of China, the Chinese were suffering from severe civil unrest and even famine. However, it was the heavy tolls of unproductive harvests at home, and heavy recruitment by railroad and logging firms abroad, that attracted most of the Chinese to Washington.
Kazuko, Ono. "Chinese Women in a Century of Revolution, 1850-1950." edited by Joshua A. Fogel, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989. Zheng, Wang. “Maoism, Feminism, and the UN Conference on Women: Women's Studies Research in Contemporary China.” Journal of Women's History 8, No.
After the first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in the United States in the early 1840s during the California Gold Rush, many Chinese people continued to travel across the Pacific, escaping poor conditions in China with hopes and ambitions for a better life in America. Many more Chinese immigrants began arriving into the 1860s on the Pacific coast for work in other areas such as the railroad industry. The immigrants noticed an increasing demand for their labor because of their readiness to work for low wages. Many of those who arrived did not plan to stay long, and therefore there was no push for their naturalization. The immigrants left a country with thousands of years of a “decaying feudal system,” corruption, a growing population, and the downfall of the Qing dynasty.