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Chinese Americans revel in rejection of Asian data collection bill in Massachusetts

(People's Daily Online)    14:29, February 08, 2018

[Photo courtesy of Voice of American Chinese]

Chinese Americans across the U.S. on Wednesday rejoiced over the rejection of the Asian Disaggregation Bill H3361, which was proposed in Massachusetts (MA) in January 2017 to identify Asian Americans in all data collected.

“Disaggregation is not segregation. I’m glad that our 13-month protests have finally paid off. The rejection of [H3361] is truly a milestone for the Asian community in the U.S., and will surely serve as an example for other states,” Alex Wong, a Chinese American activist who lives in Massachusetts, told People’s Daily Online.

[Photo courtesy of Voice of American Chinese]

Alex’s remarks came Wednesday after the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight voted to substitute the original bill with new legislation, titled “An Act to Establish a Special Commission to investigate and Study the Feasibility and Effects of Collecting Disaggregate Data.”

According to Jennifer Benson, the joint committee’s chairwoman, the legislation would establish a special commission to study the feasibility and impact of directing state agencies to collect disaggregated demographic data for all ethnic and racial groups, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

[Photo courtesy of Voice of American Chinese]

Voice of America Chinese, a WeChat account that aims to improve Chinese Americans’ well-being in the U.S., noted that the rejection of H3361 is a satisfactory response to petitions and protects organized by over 16 Asian American organizations, as well as to over 1,000 concerned Asian Americans who gathered in the state during the hearing of the bill on Jan. 30.

The controversial bill, which resembles its counterparts in other U.S. states, would require all state agencies and quasi-state agencies to identify Asian Americans in all data collection. However, the proposal was met with a backlash from within the Chinese American community, who believed that Beacon Hill’s decision would harm social equality and encourage discrimination against Asian Americans.

“States including California and Rhode Island have already passed similar laws. Our victory in Massachusetts will encourage Asian Americans across the U.S. to fight against such unfair treatment. We will stop any discriminative moves that could allow incidents such as the Harvard enrollment scandal to happen again,” said Milos Chang, a 36-year father of two daughters.

[Photo courtesy of Voice of American Chinese]

Ivy Leagues schools, including Harvard University, have been criticized by Asian American communities for discriminatory college admission practices against Asian American children since 2014. Asian communities fear that the passage of H3361 and similar bills across the U.S. would worsen the “educational inequality.”

Though a triumphant vibe has inundated social media platforms, many human right activists suggest that the victory is just temporary, calling for further actions against the spread of similar bills in the U.S.

“Our battle for equal rights is still arduous. As Chinese Americans, we should use peaceful and polite ways to express our needs, and use our votes to create an equal society for our kids,” read an announcement from Voice of America Chinese.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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