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Richmond first-generation immigrant felt emotional after learning his family history

November 6, 2021

By Richmond News |

It was only when Huaiyuan Sun moved away from his roots did he become interested in them.

Before immigrating to Canada, Sun wasn’t particularly interested in exploring his family tree, but since living here in Richmond and untangling his genealogy, he feels he has come to know himself and his place in the world.

“All journeys begin from home,” said Sun.

“If you don’t know anything about your family history, it’s like being a leaf without knowing you’re part of a tree. And we serve as bridges between the memories, present moments and the future journeys,” he added.

Sun has traced his roots back to Henan, a province in Central China’s Yellow River Valley where Chinese civilization is widely believed to have originated.

Over the centuries, however, his ancestors branched out, travelling all over the globe, including to North America.
One of the oldest recorded ancestors Sun discovered was his great-great uncle, Qinbo Sun, who was born in 1900, a time when China was ruled by the corrupt Qing family, and its ports were controlled by foreign nations.

Despite China being in a state of chaos and called “the sick man of Asia, Sun’s great-great uncle was determined to “save” the nation by importing the latest in Western science and technology.

“My great-great uncle decided to take a brave move to study modern agriculture abroad since the vast majority of farmers in China relied on old-fashioned and outdated equipment to harvest land in China,” continued Sun.

Qinbo graduated from a college in the U.S. and later moved to the United Kingdom where he thrived as a foreigner, explained Sun.

Regardless, Qinbo decided to return to China where he took a job working for the Chinese National Party, which governed all or part of mainland China from 1928 to 1949 and subsequently ruled Taiwan under Chiang Kai-shek.  Qinbo’s job was mainly to recruit top talent to the Chinese National Party’s ranks.

“My great-great uncle had even kept a signature from Chiang Kai-shek,” said Sun.

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