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Chinese American Citizens Alliance

Meeting July 18 2016

Next meeting: July 18, 2016 at 7 pm at Clubhouse 3, Dining Room 1


Topic: Why is This Peace Memorial in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Court?


It is the Peace Memorial to Comfort Women who were enslaved by the Japanese in World War II. It commemorates women in nations and territories invaded and enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Army.


As Phyllis Kim, Executive Director of Korean American Forum of California, will tell us of the journey to place this peace memorial in Gelndale and the challenge of keeping it there despite efforts from Japan.

Meeting June 20, 2016 6 pm

Chinese American History 1950s to 1970s

Next meeting will be on June 20, 2016 at 6 pm at Clubhouse 3, 28322 Moulton Parkway, Dining Room One.

It is open to the public and is free.

Wrongly accused Chinese Espionage

The U.S. Justice Department bungled the economic espionage case against Xiaoxing Xi. It investigated him for contact with Chinese scientists that was required by his U.S. funded research grants. Now cleared, Xi, a naturalized citizen of the U.S., fears the false accusations may have lingering repercussions on his promising career. Xi appears in his first television interview in a Bill Whitaker story about Chinese-American citizens wrongly accused of economic espionage-related crimes for China. Whitaker's report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, May 15 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.


Xiaoxing Xi


Last May, Xi was arrested at his home in a raid by armed FBI agents wearing bullet-proof vests. At first he thought it was a mistake. Soon he learned otherwise. "I was saying to myself, they're going to put me in jail, and all of these things that I've been working for years was coming to an end," he tells Whitaker.

The government accused Xi of providing Chinese scientists with a piece of proprietary American technology used for superconductor research. It turned out Xi was collaborating with the Chinese scientists on a completely different device that he was developing himself. It wasn't proprietary and it had no economic value. Still, it took four months and $200,000 in legal fees before his lawyer, Peter Zeidenberg, could make the government recognize its mistake. Xi is back at Temple, but he will no longer chair the physics department. The Justice Department has not apologized. "I didn't do anything wrong but my family and myself had to go through this. I think we deserve some kind of apology," he says. "And, you know, it's not over, right? The scars from this traumatic experience is so deep that it's going to be with us for the rest of our life."

Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor, blames government alarm about a legitimate problem. Chinese economic espionage costs the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars. "I think prosecutors are feeling pressure to bring these cases. I think investigators are excited about bringing cases that may be high profile," he says.

Zeidenberg also represents Sherry Chen, a naturalized American citizen and former National Weather Service hydrologist who was suspected of passing government data on U.S. infrastructure to China. As in Xi's case, prosecutors eventually dropped the charges against Chen. But she was fired from her job. In her first television interview, Chen tells Whitaker, "I'm a dedicated worker. I didn't do anything wrong. And I love my job."

The Justice Department would not be interviewed on camera but gave 60 Minutes this statement: "We investigate and prosecute individuals based on known or suspected criminal activities or threats to national security, not based on race, ethnicity or national origin."

Innocent Chinese Americans targeted as spy
Sherry Chen needs your help to pay the legal fees she has incurred to defend herself for the previous case that has been dropped and for getting her job back.


On October 20, 2014, the U.S government arrested Ms. Chen and charged her with 4 counts (the charges were later increased to eight), carrying a maximum of 25 years in prison and a $1 million fine.  Five months later, the ordeal abruptly ended. In March, just a week before she was scheduled to go on trial, prosecutors dropped all charges against Mrs. Chen without explanation.

Despite all charges being dropped, Ms. Chen was put on notice by her employers at the National Weather Service. In a letter to Chen, Deputy Director Laura Furgione proposed to remove Chen from her position in order to "promote the efficiency of the service."

The U.S. government alleged Ms. Chen accessed the National Inventory of Dams database without proper authority and lied to federal investigators.  However, Ms. Chen did have authority to access the database and was transparent with the investigators at all times.  Ms. Chen never gave any proprietary information to anyone.  Now the government agency she works for is using the same reasons that she was alleged for in proposing to terminate her.

Her attorney Peter Zeidenberg said that for the government to drop charges as an espionage matter but then to pursue termination as an employment matter was, in his words, "not appropriate."

Chen also spoke at the United Chinese Communities Press Conference for Professor Xiaoxing Xi and Ms. Sherry Chen (September 15, 2015) about the toll the charges have taken on her life. "I really, really enjoy the Christmas season, but not last year," she said. "The few times I ventured outside of my house to get some fresh air, I tried very hard not to look at those lights. Those decorations were not as beautiful as I remembered."


U.S. fights against espionage targets wrong Chinese Americans

CBS's 60 minutes will feature this coming Sunday the shocking stories of Professor Xiaoxing Xi and Dr. Sherry Chen, two Chinese American scientists who were wrongly prosecuted by our government for espionage. I recently met both of them and their families at the Committee of 100Conference in LA. We admire their brave effort to speak out so that other innocent scientists would not have to experience similar horrifying ordeals.

American Xiaoxing Xi, chair of Temple University physics department, was wrongly accused of sending American technology to China and worries about his career

Meeting May 30

The next meeting will be May 30, 2016, Monday at 6 pm, at Clubhouse 3, Dining Room 1.

President John Gee will show a video of Tyrus Wong, the 100 year old original inventor of Bambi for Disney.


The meeting is open to the public.


Chinese American History website

Ocean Crossing to America

On the Water - Ocean Crossings, 1870-1969: Liners to America

On the Water - Ocean Crossings, 1870-1969: Liners to America | Chinese American history |
1876 engraving of steerage class that most Chinese took to cross the Pacific from Hong Kong to San Francisco
John Jung's insight:
The Smithsonian Institute documented immigrant crossings to America across the Atlantic and the Pacific (this section occurs about half way down the site). It describes the vessels that were used from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century. One intriguing revelation was that the main company, Pacific Mail Steamship initially hired only Chinese as crew because they were cheaper, but eventually they were dismissed due to objections of white workers.
For an in-depth study of the business of transporting immigrants from Hong Kong, see Elizabeth Shinn's authoritative book,  Pacific Crossing: California Gold, Chinese Migration, and the Making of Hong Kong.

Salinas Chinatown

Salinas Chinatown

Salinas Chinatown | Chinese American history |

The Asian Cultural Experience (A.C.E.) is a multi-ethnic non-profit organization (501c3) dedicated to the historical and cultural preservation of Salinas Chinatown founded and incorporated in 2008.


It is committed to preserving, recording, documenting and exhibiting the history and culture of the Salinas Chinatown area where several ethnic groups have lived, worked, and gathered together since 1872. Chinatown is a historical “gold mountain" holding a rich multi-ethnic history of agricultural development, labor movements, daily life and low life, collaboration and tension, discrimination and solidarity. 

Bamboo Stone

"Bamboo Stone" by Karen Minden PhD

"Bamboo Stone" by Karen Minden PhD | Chinese American history |
 In the late nineteenth century, Canadian missionaries developed a medical training program for Chinese students in the city of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, in southwestern China. From modest beginnings, the training evolved into a medical and dental college at West China Union University, a joint venture by five Western mission boards. The college provided an institutional setting for the interaction of two cultures for the transmission of Western medical knowledge. Minden describes both the process and the longterm implications by tracing the history of the college and the careers of its students and faculty. The school's history is linked to the political turmoil that has troubled China since the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911. Minden follows the progress of the college from 1888, taking the reader through the Sino-Japanese war in the 1930s, the Civil War of 1945-9, and the political upheavals in the People's Republic of China. She also explores the background, motivations, and campus life of both students and faculty, and follows their careers up to 1989. Based on extensive interviews and archival research in Canada, the United States and China, this study charts the range of human hope and despair during a turbulent period of history. It contributes to our understanding of the role of Canadian medical missionaries as agents of change in pre-revolutionary China, and elucidates the cross-cultural transfer of technological knowledge.
John Jung's insight:

The vast majority of Americans in the 19th century never had any direct contact with Chinese people, yet they had strong stereotypes of them, e.g., heathens.  Missionaries, although few in number, who worked in China, either with evangelical or medical agendas, were one influential source of information about the Chinese for the public.  


Were missionaries "accurate" in their depictions and/or did they overstate the problems of the Chinese to justify receiving continued financial support from their churches?    Did they work with a representative or with a more disadvantaged part of the Chinese community?


NOTE: Bamboo Stone does not directly address these questions, but provided me with an inside look of a sample of medical missionaries from Canada a century ago which helped my understanding of their work and how they might affect American public conceptions of Chinese in China, which would carryover to their views of recent immigrants from China.


Disclaimer: The author, Karen Minden, is the daughter of  Harold Minden, an esteemed colleague of mine when I taught psychology in Toronto in the mid 1960s. By sheer luck, this month I became reacquainted with her sister, Nancy Minden, who told me about this valuable book based on Karen's Ph.D. dissertation.

Seattle Anti-Chinese Violence

The hidden history of Seattle's anti-Chinese violence

The hidden history of Seattle's anti-Chinese violence | Chinese American history |
 The Seattle waterfront is the city's photogenic front porch. It's a tourist attraction, and a camera-friendly place to capture the essence of Seattle, while ferryboats blow their horns and cars speed or crawl by on the viaduct. But something might be missing. - Local -
John Jung's insight:

In February, 1886, Chinese were driven out of Seattle by angry mobs resentful that Chinese laborers were taking jobs away from whites. Similar violence occurred during the 1880s and 1890s in the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the U. S.


As the article notes: "...there seems to be a collective gap in community consciousness about the anti-Chinese violence that happened here, and about what it all means to greater Seattle, circa 2016."

History of Oakland Chinatown

History of Oakland's Chinatown

History of Oakland's Chinatown | Chinese American history |
 Wlliam Gee Wong, author of [Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America], talks about the history of Oakland's Chinatown neighborhood and his experience as a Chinese American growing up in the area.
John Jung's insight:

William Gee Wong, journalist and author, who grew up in Oakland's Chinatown discusses the history of this community.

Early Chinatown in San Bernardino
Scooped by John Jung!

City of San Bernardino - Chinatown

City of San Bernardino - Chinatown | Chinese American history |
Early Chinatown, San Bernardino, CA
John Jung's insight:
"According to author/historian Richard Thompson, in his article, The Founding of San Bernardino's Chinatown, published in 1978, the first Chinese arrived in this area in August of 1867. The U.S. census records for 1870 indicated there were 16 young males. The oldest was Ah Wing at age 31 and the youngest was Jim Kang at 19. Their occupations were listed as laundry men, cooks, and houseboys.
In its heyday during the late 1890's, San Bernardino's Chinatown boasted between 400 and 600 residents. In addition to rather crudely constructed wooden "shack" homes, there were a number of business establishments as well. These included groceries, restaurants, and mercantile shops. 
 Some of the residents were farmers who raised vegetables east of Waterman Avenue. From "Chinese Gardens" they peddled their produce in carts. Janet Miles reminisced about the Chinese farmers in The Memoirs of Janet Miles: San Bernardino 1901-1994, written in 1994.

Chinese Laundry Business

Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance

The Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance (CHLA) is a labor organization formed in 1933 to protect the civil rights of overseas Chinese living in North America and "to help Chinese laundry workers break their isolation in American society."

First Chinese Lawyer in America

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To Be Chartered C.A.C.A. South Orange County  Lodge
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