State Spaces

2- Augusto B. Leguia, President of Peru (1908-1912, 1919-1930)
Augusto B. Leguia, President of Peru (1908-1912, 1919-1930)
3- Yuming C. Suez, Charge d'affaires for the Republic of China in Peru (1924-?)
Yuming C. Suez, Charge d'affaires for the Republic of China in Peru (1924-?)
4-Santiago Escudero Whu, speaking to Peruvian officials at the 1924 dedication ceremony for the fountain the Chinese community donated to Lima's Park of the Exposition to commemorate the nation's centennial
Santiago Escudero Whu, speaking to Peruvian officials at the 1924 dedication ceremony for the fountain the Chinese community donated to Lima's Park of the Exposition to commemorate the nation's centennial.

Keenly aware that Peruvian officials had come perilously close to passing a law restricting Chinese migration in 1922, the group of Cantonese merchants and China Legation officials who compiled The Chinese Colony in Peru crafted it as a tool for self-defense. The album addressed Lima’s political elite. In a gesture to secure state protection for the Chinese community, the album began with an intense visual and textual appeal to state authority. Its opening pages paid homage to distinguished Peruvian political figures, including President Augusto B. Leguia and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Alberto Salomon, but also to the diplomatic officials of the China Legation, such as the Chargé d'affaires Yuming C. Suez, the former Chargé d'affaires Tsung Yee Loo and General Consul Juan F. Iglesias Chin. By paying homage to state authorities, the compilers of the album appealed to Peruvian officials to use their power to protect Chinese migrants’ rights as foreigners to run businesses, "under the protection of [Peruvian] laws, which always provide vast guarantees for their peaceful development (Colonia 1924, 13)." 

Appearing at a moment when President Leguia pursued a nation-making agenda driven, in part,  by the desire to forge a modern cosmopolitan nation closely tied to the global market with a centralized state, the album appealed to state authority by reminding officials of the economic and patriotic contributions Chinese made to the Peruvian nation. The album reminded Peruvian officials of the taxes and customs fees their import-export businesses contributed to the state treasury. It also reminded Peruvian officials of the many public buildings and monuments that Chinese communities across Peru gifted to local communities, including a locale for the Fiscal School in Huacho, a small plaza in Barranco and a public fountain in Miraflores (21-22). The largest contribution, featured prominently in the introductory pages of the album, was the fountain the Chinese community commissioned in 1921 in commemoration of the nation's centenary for Lima’s Park of the Exposition (21a-21d, 23-24). By commissioning public buildings, plazas and monuments at a moment when the Peruvian state promoted the installation of statuary across the city, part of an effort to assert the growing role of the state in the public sphere in conjunction with an urban modernization program, the merchants behind the album affirmed Leguia’s state-making agendas, positioned themselves as contributors to these state-driven projects and appealed to the Peruvian nation as patriotic subjects. Through the album Chinese elites strategically downplayed their Chinese national identities in order to assert their political and economic rights as foreign residents and to position these rights and themselves in relation to the Peruvian state’s nation building agendas (McKeown 2001, 170).

State Spaces