SCMP Chronicles

The forgotten army of the first world war: How Chinese labourers helped shape Europe

A special report sheds light on the hundreds of thousands of forgotten migrants of fortune who toiled through the Great War

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 July, 2014, 7:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 5:14pm

July 28, 2014 marks the centenary of the first world war’s outbreak in Europe. A hundred years later, the story of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers, the largest non-European labour contingent in the war, is only slowly being rediscovered. 
In a special report, the South China Morning Post traces their story from rural Shandong to the European war trenches and back through archive photos, eyewitness accounts, maps and news articles published in the Post at the time, when the Hong Kong paper was only a decade old.

Click here to access the six-part multimedia series

See more exclusive photos of the Chinese Labour Corps