Documentary: The RMS Titanic's Chinese Passengers
A documentary is being released later this year on the story of the six Chinese survivors of the Titanic disaster. The Six shows how the men beat the odds to make it out alive, only to be singled out for expulsion from the U.S. within 24 hours of their arrival.
Questions were raised at the time over whether the Chinese passengers were stowaways or workers on the Titanic. However, they were fare-paying passengers.
Steven Schwankert, lead researcher and historian for The Six, and British documentary maker Arthur Jones began their research three years ago and found the names of eight Chinese men on a single ticket for third-class passengers. The survivors were Lee Bing, Fang Lang, Chang Chip, Ah Lam, Chung Foo and Ling Hee. Lee Ling and Len Lam died in the disaster. Fang Lang was found on a floating piece of wreckage. The others made it on to lifeboats, and four shared a lifeboat with Joseph Bruce Ismay, owner of the Titanic.
The movie makers say: “We track down their descendants for the first time – and find out how a nation-wide policy of exclusion led to a century of struggle and secrets for their families. Their attempts to penetrate the deeply unjust prohibitions on Chinese immigration take us deep inside an untold story about the migrant experience, torn between ties to the home country, riven by civil war, and constantly thwarted hopes for a fresh start. The Six shines a new light on one of the twentieth century’s most infamous and intriguing events, tracing its relevance and impact up to the present day.”
The Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early hours of April 15, 1912 after hitting an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. There were an estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, and more than 1,500 died.