In 1874, government officials in Qing China sent a Yale-educated special envoy named Yung Wing to Peru to survey the conditions of Chinese contract workers on plantations. A parallel mission to the better-known Qing survey of Chinese in Cuba, Yung Wing's trip to Peru has received almost no scholarly attention. Drawing on new archival evidence, this essay provides a historical analysis of the Qing mission to Peru and its official findings, as rendered in the original, 1874 English-language translation, “Yung Wing's Reports.” I argue that Yung Wing elaborated a multivocal, cross-cultural, and transimperial condemnation of Chinese indenture in Peru. Yung Wing served as a crucial broker across political and cultural systems. He strategically mobilized testimonies from American, Chilean, and Chinese informants and deployed abolitionist discourse to equate Chinese contract labor with African slavery. Denouncing Western failures to guarantee liberal principles for Chinese people, he pressured Qing authorities to protect Chinese subjects by opening formal legations in Latin America. Chinese workers in Peru had a different perspective, and their testimonies often diverged from Yung Wing's core argument. Chinese informants never equated contract labor with chattel slavery. Instead, they denounced employer failure to fulfill existing contract terms. Moreover, they provided evidence of successful collective efforts and alliances between Chinese and non-Chinese people that pressured Peruvian authorities to defend Chinese workers. Taken as a whole, “Yung Wing Reports” both elaborates a powerful Chinese denunciation of contract labor and demonstrates Chinese ability to negotiate its terms.

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