The only “Canadian village” in China, operated for decades, disappeared overnight


The only “Canadian Village” in China

Chikan Town, Kaiping City, Guangdong Province, is one of the “Five Famous Towns” in China, and one of the most famous villages in Chikan Town is the only “Canadian Village” in China.

The most famous thing here is the unique villagers’ mansions and the story of an ethnic migration behind the mansions.

When it comes to Kaiping, many people know that the most famous building here is the towers. It is a kind of architecture that combines defense and housing, which was popular in the era of military and banditry. “Canada Village” mansions also belong to the towers, but different from the general towers, where the combination of Chinese and Western, both the traditional Chinese gray plastic, carved flowers, and Western Roman columns, domes, towers, from a distance, there is a sense of a small European medieval castle.

These towers were built in the 1920s, and decades after the completion of all, the village has become an empty village, no one living there, what is the story behind it?

“Canada Village” was originally called Shrimp Village, and the entire village was surnamed Guan. It is located in Kaiping City, is China’s most famous overseas Chinese hometown, ancestral home of a total of 750,000 overseas Chinese in Kaiping, and now the resident population of Kaiping City, but 680,000. The town of Chikan, where the shrimp village is located, is the home of overseas Chinese, with a resident population of 48,000, while the number of overseas Chinese is 72,000.

Shrimp village is the most representative village of this overseas Chinese town.

In the early years of the Republic of China, Shrimp Village welcomed an overseas wanderer back to his hometown. This wanderer is named Guan Guonuan, many years ago alone to Canada to make a living, and now returned home with all the best. After returning to his hometown, Guan Guonuan built the first mansion in Shrimp Village, and then led the villagers to go to Canada to seek gold together, typical of one person to drive a village, the first rich to drive the next rich.

Guan Guonuan’s former residence

The entire village, led by Guan Guonuan, made money in Canada and returned to buy land and build houses.

There are only 20 families in “Canada Village”, all of them are surnamed Guan, and they are not only building mansions for themselves after getting rich overseas, but also spending a lot of energy and money to build their hometown.


Decades of building their hometown

Wanting to “return to their roots”

The city of Kaiping, where the “Canadian Village” is located, was a small, backward county on the coast of China. Throughout Chinese history, Kaiping has always been a barbaric place, with a special geographic location in the “Three Regions” zone, which has long been a hideout for bandits and anti-government activists, and beyond the reach of local officials.

In order to suppress the bandits and anti-government people, the official set up a military canton here in the ninth year of Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty, called “Kaiping Tun”, which means “open and suppress”, and the meaning of suppression is to pacify and stabilize. The name Kaiping City is also derived from this.

After the fall of the Ming Dynasty, a large number of people who opposed the Qing Dynasty and restored the Ming Dynasty gathered in Kaiping, because here you can organize anti-Qing activities, and retreat to the sea for refuge.

At the end of the Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Civil War, the area was plundered by various bandits and was in turmoil and poverty for a long time.

In order to survive, the villagers in Kaiping had to leave their homeland and relatives behind and go abroad to work.

All of them had the dream of returning to their hometowns, but only a few of them were able to do so.

However, these few who returned to their hometowns played an important role in the construction of their hometowns.

In the area of Kaiping, the people are tough, education is scarce, and various stereotypes and customs have seriously affected the development of the area. Those Kaiping people who returned from overseas not only brought back wealth, but also advanced foreign civilization at that time.

For example, the schools in Kaiping at that time were mostly private schools, teaching the Four Books and Five Classics and the eight essays. In 1905, the Qing government had abolished the imperial examination, but many places in China still used the same education as Kaiping for the purpose of coping with the imperial examination.

In 1926, the first new elementary school in Kaiping, the Xiao Haiping School, was opened, dedicated to training “the masses with the spirit of democracy and the citizens who can adapt to the needs of society. The school was dedicated to the cultivation of “the masses with the spirit of democracy and the citizens who can adapt to the needs of society.

How advanced was education in Kaiping at that time? They introduced the theories of Rousseau, a French thinker of the Enlightenment period, on education as a teaching guide. The local Chinese compiled Rousseau’s educational theories into a book and preached them vigorously, which played an important role in Kaiping’s educational reform.

For example, the local clans often fought with each other, which was caused by the competition for limited resources over the years, often gathering clansmen and villagers to fight and kill each other over trivial matters. The most serious one was the “Dragon Horse Riding Incident”. The local villagers with the surnames of Guan and Fang had a large-scale armed fight over the ownership of a road in the village of Riding Longma, and eventually the villagers with the surname of Fang gathered more than 300 thugs and took brutal revenge on the villagers with the surname of Guan, looting 25 houses in the village and burning them down, injuring many villagers.

The Chinese pointed out that this narrow clan concept will only cause social unrest, stagnation and affect development. So they vigorously appealed to “further break the narrow concept of clan, unite and shoulder the responsibility of construction together, and expand the clan competitive heart into a national competitive heart.”

Such and such, the benefits of the cultural and spiritual changes brought by overseas Chinese to their hometowns are no less than the money they bring back.


All moved out overnight and

The buildings were empty

One night in 1951, all the villagers of Canada Village, led by Guan Guonuan, made a decision to move to the real Canada.

The villagers were all Chinese Canadians who had been working overseas for many years and wanted to settle down in their hometown and return to their roots. However, the special historical circumstances at that time made it a crime to have an overseas status, not to mention that they all had mansions and land and were classified as “landlords and bourgeoisie”, which was an added crime.

Reluctantly, they had to abandon the decades spent building towers mansions, abandoned their hometowns built over the years, the entire village immigrated to Canada, decades without a trace.

Now the towers in the Canadian village, has belonged to the public resources, free to the public, when their owners, if you want to enter these towers, but also only in the capacity of tourists.

Such a policy of treating overseas Chinese has continued for more than 30 years. Overseas Chinese are seen as a typical bourgeois group, and even as long as there are overseas Chinese in their relatives, they are excluded and suspicious people.

Despite the special historical circumstances of this policy, today it is seen as too simple and brutal, causing sadness and aggravation to the overseas Chinese.