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Chinatown massacre in 1871 memorized in Los Angeles

(Xinhua)

08:45, October 25, 2011

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Bells chimed on Sunday when California Assemblyman Mike Eng read the names of 19 Chinese who were massacred mercilessly by some 500 mobsters in Los Angeles' Chinatown on Oct. 24, 1871.

Early on Sunday morning, a group of Chinese came to the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, where the old Chinatown was sited, to mark the 140th anniversary of the tragic event.

During the massacre, 19 Chinese were confirmed killed by mobs, while historians estimated that the actual number of deaths might reach 84.

David Louie, commissioner of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority, told Xinhua that on Oct. 24, 1871, about 500 mobsters in the city came to Chinatown to attack, rob, lynch and brutally murder Chinese.

According to historians, those involved in the massacre included city council members and police; only 10 attackers were ever brought to trial, and eight were convicted, but their convictions were overturned later because the U.S. law at that time prohibited any Chinese from testifying.

Kunson Kwok, grand president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, told Xinhua, "Today represents one of the worst cases that affected Chinese in the United States. One hundred and forty years ago, 19 Chinese were murdered here around this area, because people in Los Angeles at that time ran against the Chinese."

Kwok said he was happy to see that the U.S. Senate finally passed a measure earlier this month expressing regret for the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. But he added that the fight against discrimination is not over.

"I am here because the question is how we should handle this, what is the best way to remember it... so that something like this will not happen again," Eng said.

The massacre was horrible, said the assemblyman, who is working hard with some other state lawmakers for the passing of a bill to designate Dec. 17 as the "Day of Inclusion" for all immigrants.

On Dec. 17, 1943, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was repealed.

It took 61 years to get the Chinese Exclusion Act repealed, and another 68 years to have the U.S. Senate to pass a resolution to express regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Judy Chu, the first Chinese American Congresswoman, is now working hard to push for the passage of a similar move at the U.S. House of Representatives.

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