This article examines French efforts to disrupt the transfer of two thousand Chinese remains from Sài Gòn–Chợ Lớn to Hong Kong in 1892. French officials cited biohazardous threats as grounds for legal interdiction, infuriating Cantonese leaders who demanded the removal of bureaucratic obstacles to repatriations. Situating French epidemiology within a global bubonic plague outbreak, this article shows how colonial panic activated a racialized biopolitics that demonized Chinese bodies as plague-borne menaces and justified drastic measures. As interimperial competitions for biomedical research intensified, transnational Chinese practices, perceived as undermining public health initiatives, became a flashpoint of conflicts over hygiene, mobility, and interethnic interactions.

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