Au­thor says ‘ed­u­ca­tion’ is needed to pre­vent an­other Chi­nese Ex­clu­sion Act

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By WANG JUN


Martin Gold, au­thor of For­bid­den Cit­i­zen, Chi­nese Ex­clu­sion and the US Congress, said that “con­tin­u­ous ed­u­ca­tion’’ is needed to pre­vent en­act­ment of leg­is­la­tion sim­i­lar to the Chi­nese Ex­clu­sion Act that was re­pealed by the US Congress in 1943.

In re­marks on Wed­nes­day in Los Angeles to an au­di­ence of about 100, in­clud­ing Chi­ne­seAmer­i­can lead­ers, on the heels of the 70th an­niver­sary of the re­peal of the act, Gold said the “ed­u­ca­tion’’ should go be­yond the Chi­nese com­mu­nity to reach the broad pub­lic.

Gold, whose book re­counts the long and shame­ful his­tory of the law, said such leg­is­la­tion is “not only a vi­o­la­tion of the US Con­sti­tu­tion, but also a vi­o­la­tion of the “Amer­i­can spirit.” He made his com­ments at a Speak­ers Fo­rum spon­sored by the Com­mit­tee of 100 (C-100) at the Ad­vanc­ing Jus­tice Cen­ter.

The Chi­nese Ex­clu­sion Act was signed into law on May 6, 1882. At first it pro­hib­ited im­mi­gra­tion of Chi­nese la­bor­ers. It was later re­vised to sus­pend all Chi­nese im­mi­gra­tion, mak­ing Chi­nese the first group of people banned from en­ter­ing the US. It was fi­nally re­pealed on De­cem­ber 17, 1943.

Gold said his grand­fa­ther im­mi­grated to the US from Rus­sia and loved this coun­try be­cause of the op­por­tu­ni­ties it gave him to re­al­ize his Amer­i­can dream. “If my grand­fa­ther were a Chi­nese, he wouldn’t have had the op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Gold said.

“The re­peal of the Chi­nese Ex­clu­sion Act changed the course of his­tory for Chi­nese and Asian Amer­i­cans, and the ex­pres­sion of re­gret from the US Congress was a mile­stone for our com­mu­nity,” said Ste­wart Kwoh, a C-100 mem­ber and pres­i­dent and CEO of the Ad­vanc­ing Jus­tice Cen­ter.

In a mes­sage from Wash­ing­ton, Con­gress­woman Judy Chu praised Gold: “Martin is my hero, who led the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and lob­bied both the Democrats and Repub­li­cans on a pro bono ba­sis. ‘’

Gold worked with Chu to get Congress to ap­prove a res­o­lu­tion that for­mally ex­pressed US re­gret for the Ex­clu­sion Act and other leg­is­la­tion that dis­crim­i­nated against people of Chi­nese ori­gin. It was Chu who in­tro­duced the bill that the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed in June 2012; the Se­nate passed a sim­i­lar res­o­lu­tion in Oc­to­ber 2011.

The Speak­ers Fo­rum high­lights ma­jor is­sues in US-China re­la­tions and the Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­nity, and is held in C-100’s five main re­gions — Los Angeles, San Fran­cisco, New York, Wash­ing­ton and Greater China.


Martin Gold (right) and C-100 mem­bers.

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