Hu­man rights mu­seum to fea­ture dis­plays on atroc­i­ties against Chi­nese

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

The Cana­dian Mu­seum for Hu­man Rights, which is sched­uled to open in Septem­ber, will fea­ture in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays on no­to­ri­ous cases of hu­man rights abuse in­volv­ing Chi­nese: the Nank­ing mas­sacre, “Com­fort Women’’ and Canada’s head tax.

The mu­seum’s Break­ing the Si­lence gallery looks at atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted against China dur­ing World War II, in­clud­ing the Nank­ing mas­sacre, and the “Com­fort Women’’, thou­sands of girls and women from China, Korea the Philip­pines and other oc­cu­pied ar­eas who were forced into sex­ual slav­ery by the Ja­panese Im­pe­rial Army. The in­ter­ac­tive pro­gram will in­clude in­ter­views with some vic­tims.

The Cana­dian Jour­ney gallery will have a dis­play on the head tax, a fee im­posed on each Chi­nese per­son en­ter­ing Canada from the late 1880s un­til 1923.

The $351 mil­lion mu­seum (­man­rightsmu­seum. ca) in Win­nipeg, Man­i­toba, Canada, will be the first in the world de­voted to the evo­lu­tion, cel­e­bra­tion and aware­ness of hu­man rights, and mem­bers of Canada’s Chi­nese com­mu­nity said they are de­ter­mined to play a ma­jor role in the mu­seum’s fundrais­ing and startup.

“The Chi­nese com­mu­nity has been in­volved in the strug­gle for hu­man rights in Canada since 1858,” said Dr. Vivi­enne Poy, who is leading the Chi­nese Cana­dian Com­mu­nity Cam­paign to raise funds for the mu­seum. Poy’s group has raised $1.55 mil­lion and needs to raise an­other $300,000 by the end of this month to re­ceive a spe­cial plague that ac­knowl­edges the Chi­nese com­mu­nity’s ef­forts on be­half of the mu­seum.

“The Break­ing the Si­lence theme is im­por­tant,” said Poy. “It’s time all Chi­nese Cana­di­ans re­flect on these events so we can un­der­stand how and why we have come so far in hu­man rights. And it also means that we must con­tinue to safe­guard these tri­umphs not just for the Chi­nese but for all Cana­di­ans.”

The mu­seum will be the coun­try’s first na­tional mu­seum that isn’t within the cap­i­tal area of Ot­tawa, On­tario.

The mu­seum’s in­ter­ac­tive pro­gram will in­clude in­ter­views with Com­fort Women vic­tims. It will uti­lize dig­i­tal in­ter­ac­tion, im­ages, film and per­for­mances to stim­u­late re­flec­tion and con­ver­sa­tion on hu­man rights in Canada and all over the world.

“The goal is to get ev­ery­one to dis­cuss hu­man rights and re­late to them in a way that is per­sonal while cre­at­ing a shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” Poy said. “It will also serve as an ed­u­ca­tional re­source with the abil­ity to have these ma­te­ri­als ac­cessed all over the world.”

In a speech last June, Stu­art Mur­ray, the pres­i­dent and CEO of the mu­seum, noted that the mu­seum is “the first cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tion of its kind to be built in the dig­i­tal age’’, and that the dig­i­tal, in­ter­ac­tive tech­nolo­gies in the mu­seum have only one pur­pose: “… to make our sub­ject mat­ter more en­gag­ing, more rel­e­vant, more ac­ces­si­ble and ul­ti­mately more hu­man’’.

Chi­nese im­mi­grants first en­tered Canada in the late 1850s to work on the Cana­dian Pa­cific Rail­way. The head tax was im­ple­mented af­ter the Cana­dian Par­lia­ment passed the Chi­nese Im­mi­gra­tion Act of 1885. The tax was elim­i­nated by the Chi­nese Im­mi­gra­tion Act of 1923, which limited Chi­nese im­mi­gra­tion to cer­tain groups such as the clergy, ed­u­ca­tors and stu­dents.


The Cana­dian Mu­seum for Hu­man Rights will dis­play an ex­hibit on the Com­fort Women of World War II.

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