HomeChinese AmericanNPR: Chinese Americans come to terms with their fake names

NPR: Chinese Americans come to terms with their fake names

Angel Island Immigration Station courtesy California State Parks

William Wong is proud of his surname.

It’s Gee, not Wong. But the world knows him only as a Wong.

His family was one of many Chinese families who immigrated to America before World War II.(pictured Angel Island Immigration Station, courtesy California State Parks)

“We knew when we were growing up in Oakland Chinatown we were the Gee family,” said William.

Wong was a name the mother bought using false papers to get around the Chinese Exclusion Act, the only law to this day that ever to ban immigration based on nationality. William’s mom came to America pretending to be her father’s sister.

She was one thousands of paper sons and daughters who came to America this way.

William is so proud if being a Gee he has the name tattooed to his left bicep, and now in his 70’s, plans to legally change his name to Gee.
You can hear two other family stories in the clip from NPR below.
What’s your story?



  1. RE: Chinese Americans come to terms with their fake names: Think later generations of CAs are willing to discuss this openly, but not so with first & second generations. Some may not even know of the “confession program” instituted in the 1960’s if my knowledge is correct.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Worth the Time

Must Read

Regular Features


Discover more from AsAmNews

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading