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Is Private Danny Chen Becoming the new Vincent Chin?


Pvt Danny Chen

(note from the editor: An earlier version of the story misspelled the name of Binghamton University. It has been corrected below)

Students at Binghamton University in upstate New York held a candlelight vigil to remember Private Danny Chen on the second anniversary of his death Tuesday night, reports the blog Pipe Dream.

It was the latest sign that the Asian American soldier has become a new symbol in the civil rights movement in the Asian American community.

It’s thought that Chen killed himself in Afghanistan after being subjected to hazing and racial taunts from his fellow soldiers.

The vigil at Binghamton University coincided with one in his home city of New York City which is in the process of naming a street after him.

The Washington National Opera has commissioned noted playwright David Henry Hwang and composer Huang Ruo to write an opera about Chen’s story.

The light sentences received by eight soldiers who were court martialed in Chen’s death has received national attention and outrage from the Asian American community.

Reaction to Chen’s case has been similar to that of the death of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American beaten to death with a baseball bat by two men who were never convicted in the case.Vincent Chin

Chin’s case has been the subject of two documentaries, Who Killed Vincent Chin and Vincent Who.

Chin’s case is often cited as igniting the civil rights movement in the Asian American community.

The impact of Chen’s death may not be as far reaching, but the similarities to Chin are there.

What do you think? Over time, do you think Private Danny Chen will become the new Vincent Chin for a new generation of Asian Americans?





  1. RE: Is Private Danny Chen the New Vincent Chin?: Alexander Lien could have had the same fate as Vincent Chin had not good Samaritans stopped to intervene in his beating.


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