Gems of History

Chinese in PH suffered worse fate at Japanese hands

Do you know how many Chinese in the Philippines lost their lives and properties during the three years of Japanese occupation?

The “Summary of Overseas Chinese Affairs Statistics of 1946” report published by the Taiwan Overseas Affairs Office reveals that 12,000 of the 117,463 Chinese in the Philippines died during the Japanese occupation. This accounts for 10 percent of the Chinese in the Philippines then.

In addition, 90 percent of the properties owned by the Chinese in the Philippines were lost during that period. Before the Japanese occupation, the properties were worth 356,381,000 yuan but 320,743,000 yuan worth were destroyed.

One major reason behind the massive losses is that the Chinese in the Philippines initiated and joined the anti-Japanese movement as early as 1931 when Japan started to invade Manchuria in northeastern China. The Chinese here, especially those who joined the resistance movement, became the main targets of the Japanese invading army and authority. The Japanese mistreated the Chinese more fiercely than the Filipinos.

Had the Chinese in the Philippines not lost so much during the Japanese time, their economic strength and contribution would certainly be even greater nowadays. Just imagine how far they would have gone if they had 356,381,000 yuan to work with instead of a measly 32,638,000 yuan after the war.

This was how much the Chinese in the Philippines suffered compared to the Chinese in other Southeast Asian countries at the hands of the Japanese:

CountryPopulationKilled% Killed
Philippines   117,46312,00010%
Burma   193,59419,00010%
Malaya2,358,33571,000  3%
Thailand2,500,00075,000  3%
Indonesia1,344,80927,000  2%
Vietnam   462,466  9,000  2%
North Borneo     68,034  1,000  2%
Country      Property (Yuan)  DestroyedDestroyed (%)
Philippines   356,381,000320,743,00090%
Burma   115,800,000104,220,00090%
Malaya   924,031,000462,915,00050%
Vietnam   444,340,000222,176,00050%
Thailand   879,588,000351,835,00040%
North Borneo     40,800,000  16,324,00040%

Only the Chinese in Burma lost as much as those in the Philippines did at the time. — First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 22 (April 19-May 9, 2016): 5. Photo credit: Binondo, Manila, Philippines, 1945 (1)