Julián Herbert – La Casa del Dolor Ajeno

On May 16th, the Guardian newspaper reported the tragic events in Torreón, Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution under the headline. The headline read: Mexico faces up to the uneasy anniversary of Chinese massacre.

As the librarian, I look mostly for Latin American Studies-related materials without any judgment about the contents and collect for our library a representative and sustainable collection of all aspects of Latin America that are diverse and neverending. After reading the headline, it reminded me of my research on Chinese in Mexicali during my graduate school. Today, I leave you with some library materials that relate to Chinese in Mexico and Latin America.

The house of the pain of others: a chronicle of a small genocide / Julián Herbert; translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, [2019]). The publisher’s description in WorldCat states, “Early in the twentieth century, amid the myths of progress and modernity that underpinned Mexico’s ruling party, some three hundred Chinese immigrants–close to half of the Cantonese residents of the newly founded city of Torreón–were massacred over the course of three days. It is considered the largest slaughter of Chinese people in the history of the Americas, but more than a century later, the facts continue to be elusive, mistaken, and repressed. ‘And what do you know about the Chinese people who were killed here?’ Julián Herbert asks anyone who will listen. An exorcism of persistent and discomfiting ghosts, ‘The House of the Pain of Others’ attempts a reckoning with the 1911 massacre. Looping, digressive, and cinematic, Herbert blends reportage, personal reflection, essay, and academic research to portray the historical context as well as the lives of the perpetrators and victims of the ‘small genocide.’ This brilliant historical excavation echoes profoundly in an age redolent with violence and xenophobia”–Page 4 of cover.”

Here is the presentation by the Author for your information.


On one-hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of Mexico, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador(AMLO) held a ceremony whose title was, “Petición de perdón por agravios a la comunidad china en México, desde Torreón, Coahuila. Lunes 17 de mayo 2021.” Below is an excerpt from his speech.

Primary Sources: Manchurian Daily News Online

logo for collectionThe Library has recently acquired the digital archive of the Manchurian Daily News and associated publications Manchuria Magazine, Manchuria Month, Contemporary Manchuria, and the Manchurian Information Bulletin. As described on the Brill website, this resource “offers scholars of Japan’s modern history an unparalleled inside view of Japan’s agenda in Manchuria and its plans for domination in Asia. Founded in 1908 in the wake of Japan’s victory in the war against Russia, the Manchuria Daily News set up in Dalian (Darien) at the headquarters of the South Manchuria Railway Company (Minami Manshū Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha) (SMR).
“Lavishly funded from Tokyo, and with the full resources of the SMR Research Department behind them, the Manchuria Daily News and the associated titles offered here constitute a formidable record of Japanese policy on Manchuria and the Manchoukuo project. From 1908-1940 this compact, feisty daily and its associated titles responded to the exigencies of the day, taking requests from a variety of official and often competing propaganda bureaux. In the Manchuria Daily News and in these associated publications, the SMR presented a powerful case for the Japanese leadership of Asia, after 1932 using Manchoukuo as a showcase for Japan’s technological, cultural and political advancement.”

Primary Sources: Chinese Pamphlets: Political Communication & Mass Education

cover of chinese pamphletAnother digitized collection from the Center for Research Libraries is Chinese Pamphlets: Political Communication & Mass Education, materials collected by the journalist Edward Hunter. The Hunter Collection consists of “mass education materials published in Hong Kong and in Mainland China, particularly Shanghai, in the years 1947-1954. These include approximately 200 cartoon books, pamphlets, postcards, and magazines, heavily pictorial in content, on such topics as foreign threats to Chinese security, Chinese relations with the Soviet Union, industrial and agricultural production, and marriage reform. The materials were produced by both Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist) and Communist regimes, and appear to be directed at the general youth and adult populations of China.”1

This collection can be searched or browsed. A few of the pamphlets include English translations.

1 “Chinese Pamphlet Digitization Project.” Accessed October 4, 2017. https://dds.crl.edu/view/about_hunter.

Donation of Modern Chinese Painting Titles

The Art History/Classics Library at UC Berkeley has received a donation of four books on Modern Chinese Painting from the American Society for the Advancement of Chinese Arts (ASACA), and the Bay-Area based, Chinese-American artist Hou Beiren.

Titles include:

Hou Beiren Art Museum, published by the Hou Beiren Art Museum in the city of Kunshan, China, 2005

Century Meeting of Writing Brush: Collection of Zhu Qizhan and Hou Beiren’s special works for the Shanghai World Expo, published by Beijing Arts & Crafts Publishing House, China, 2010

Selected Paintings of Pei-Jen Hau (Selected Paintings of Beiren Hou), published by Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, China, 1997

夢裏家山: 遼寧籍旅美畫家侯北人捐贈作品集 (Homeland in My Dreams: Donated Artworks by Hou Beiren, An American Artist from Liaoning), published by Liaoning People’s Publishing House, China, 2015

Hou Beiren


Hou Beiren2

Pictured: Karen Tseng and Susan Chan of the American Society for the Advancement of Chinese Arts (ASACA), with the Art Librarian.