Galang, Jely A. 2021. “Policing the Chinese: tenientes Mayores de Chinos and ‘Undesirable’ Chinese in the Philippines, 1870-1898”, Chinese Studies Journal 14: 85-116.
This paper explores an aspect of the 19th-century Philippine judicial system by examining the origins and development of the office of the tenientes mayores de chinos framed within the broader state concern related to the “undesirable” Chinese in the last three decades of the Spanish regime. Using underutilized primary materials from various archives in Manila and Madrid, it probes into how and why the government deemed it necessary to include the Chinese community in curbing criminality through such “Chinese agents.” Although a brief section is devoted to law enforcement agencies from outside the Chinese community, the focus will be on these Chinese officers, specifically interrogating how they conducted their dual function as government agents who had to enforce the law, and, at the same time, as leaders of their community, expected to protect their compatriots, even the “criminal” ones.