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Lee Tin Suk (Li Tianshi)

Lee Tin Suk, ca. 1885 (Photo by Robert Amos).

Lee Tin Suk, ca. 1885 (Photo by Robert Amos).

Lee Tin Suk was a leading merchant among early Chinese immigrants in Victoria, and he came from Taishan county (originally Xinning), one of the four counties (Siyi or Sze Yap) near Canton that sent out most of the early Chinese immigrants to North America. Lee first operated family businesses in Macao, Hong Kong, Honolulu, and San Francisco in the late 1840s, and then moved to Victoria in 1875. In this city, he launched the Tai Yune Company as one of the largest Chinese companies, and entrusted the management of this company to Lee Yick Tack (Li Yide). He not only helped found the Lee Association in Victoria and offered financial assistance to his clansmen and other Chinese immigrants in Canada, but he also made frequent donations for disaster relief in late Qing China. As a result, he received an honorary title of deputy prefect (tongzhi) from the late Qing government. Lee Tin Suk eventually retired to China in the 1880s or 1890s, and he continued to operate a remittance shop in Hong Kong for overseas Chinese until his death.

By Zhongping Chen


Li Donghai (David T. H. Lee). “Jianada Li-shi xianxian xiaozhuan” (Brief biographies of the Lee pioneers in Canada). In Quan-Jia Li-shi disanjie kenqin dahui jinian tekan (Proceedings of the third meeting of the Lee lineage in Canada). Cloverdale, B.C., 1986: 47-50.