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US Senate apologizes for laws against Chinese immigrants

(People's Daily Online)

08:48, October 09, 2011

The U.S. Senate approved a resolution Thursday night apologizing for its past discriminatory laws that exclusively targeted Chinese immigrants, such as the notorious Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

The bill was approved by unanimous consent on the Senate floor.

Republican Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts, a leading sponsor of the resolution, said: “ Though it cannot undo the hurt caused by past discriminations against Chinese immigrants, it is important that we acknowledge the wrongs that were committed many years ago by this country."

A similar resolution, sponsored by Representative Judy Chu from El Monte, the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress, is pending in the House. It is backed by members of both parties.

For Chu, the effort to get Congress to acknowledge the discrimination is personal; her grandfather had faced the hostile laws.

"He decided to make something of his life anyway. He opened up a small Chinese restaurant in Watts, and worked day and night and he was finally able to make ends meet," Chu said on Friday. "The thousands of Chinese Americans around this country with similar family histories will celebrate the passage of this Senate resolution."

The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act halted Chinese immigration to the U.S. for a decade and denied U.S. citizenship to Chinese immigrants in the country. The law was repealed in 1943 after China became a U.S. ally in World War II.

But Chu said that Congress has never apologized for the injustice.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a cosponsor of the U.S. Senate resolution, said Friday she hopes the resolution will serve to "enlighten those who may not be aware of this regrettable chapter in our history and bring closure to the families whose loved ones live through this difficult time.”

In 1988, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed legislation providing $1.25 billion, or $20,000 each, in reparations and a formal apology for Japanese Americans interned during World War II. And, in 2008, the House issued an apology to African Americans "on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them.”


Leave your comment5 comments

  1. Name

Kyle H. Davis at 2011-10-20123.187.88.*
Oh, and elee... It IS a changing world, but... tell me how many Chinese people have non-Chinese names. Again, in pointing out what you consider flaws in the US, the hypocrisy of other nations is show even greater.Let"s weigh options: Living in a nation that sometimes has problems in dealing with differences in race/ethnicity, because it is a diverse culture, with overall acceptance and understanding of other cultures, or a nation that has NO problems, because it excludes them more thoroughly than even Nazi attempts to exclude Jews.The US has a black president, and blacks are not even the largest minority in the US. Come back and talk to me once the politburo elects a Uighur Premier or President.
Kyle H. Davis at 2011-10-20123.187.88.*
The government should not have to APOLOGIZE to anyone. Yes, there should be regret about the implementation of the laws that went against the usual mentality of open immigration, but who would they need to apologize to? Non-citizens?Elee - Are Chinese feeling discomfort for their exclusionary immigration laws? Should China apologize to non-citizens for 5,000 years of exclusionary practices? If you can name 5... no 4... no... 3... no... 2... no... If you can name ONE Chinese national that you have personally met, from European, African, North American, South American, or Mid-Eastern heritage, I will crawl on my knees to every Chinese household and apologize to every Chinese national, for the exclusionary practices of the US government for 63 years of its history.When you realize you CAN"T name one, because of China"s 5,000 years of exclusionary immigration practices... then you might get off your high horse and realize that it is a tad hypocritical to view this issue in such a way.
elee at 2011-10-09183.39.32.*
Your governments had long ago apologised to those Japanese Americans (whose nation cruelly invaded half of Asia and fought the American forces) as well as the African Americans; and it was only done today with a formal apology to the Chinese Americans. Yes, in a sure way, your government or "white man" was the perpetrator; and only hope that your government or "white man" shall not live with its sickness of eternal supremacy in this world among all communities! It is a changed world, and you must realise that all the American names in the USA are so different while very few sound like Jim Reeves or Elvis Presley or Connie Francis .... .... ...! Travel abroad and feeling strange but why is it so damn unpleasant? The words of wars, revolutions and conflicts have been spreading like wild fires through the trumpets of your own American politicians; check it out please! No one wishes to hate the Americans but it has been your own doings at all times, if you are an American! Good luck with your discomfort!
PD User at 2011-10-09122.55.48.*
Why must our government apologize for actions done by our ancestors? Is the practice being carried on today? I don"t think so. If our government apologizes to the Chinese, then the Japanese, and the blacks...the implication is the "white man" is the perpetrator! Thats the implication and I protest this innuendo! These alleged heinous practices were done prior to my lifetime. So, I don"t think I (the white man) owes any apology to anyone. Its now history. Let it go.Want to see real discrimination? Travel abroad and see how other nations react to an American when in their country. Then come back and we will talk about it.
LovingChina at 2011-10-09183.39.32.*
"Apologies very welcome though better late than never." All overseas Chinese must thank China and those unforgettable Chinese heroic characters (* combatants, engineers & scientists *) who had struggled and sacrificed their lives and good livings abroad to produce those defensive goodies for China to be safe, secure, prosperous and strong. Else, such recognition and apologies would not come about today as could be seen herein, the last in line among all brown and black skins despite that China did not start any war against any party nor invaded another. China must continue to be strong economically and militarily; and as well overseas Chinese must also play their parts to ensure all other races are not playing unfair games against China and Chinese people while of course to behave similarly to and better than their counterparts while living overseas as their chosen homelands, if you want others to respect you.

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