HomeAsian AmericansAsian Americans Petition Obama to Say, "Sorry" for 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

Asian Americans Petition Obama to Say, “Sorry” for 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

By Shirley N Lew
AsAmNews New York Correspondent
Local political pressure is now on President Obama to make an official apology for the passing of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act before he leaves office.

In early May, Senior Director of the Chinese Freemasons, Karlin Chan created a “We The People” petition in an effort to have President Obama offer an official apology for the Chinese Exclusion Act, but it fell short of the 100,000 signatures required within the 30 days. It garnered about only 2,000 signatures.

Days earlier, Chan collaborated with Democratic Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim who pulled in 20 other local politicians to sign a letter Kim wrote to the president requesting a formal apology.

The letter was signed on Monday, June 20. A formal press conference is to follow in the next few days.

View Assemblyman Ron Kim’s letter to the president.

The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act violated the Chinese of their basic American civil rights solely because of their race. They were denied  entry into the US, their right to become naturalized citizens and their right to vote. The Chinese were the first ethnic group to be denied their civil rights explicitly because of their race.  The Chinese Exclusion Act was later renewed for an additional ten years in 1892 and eventually became permanent in 1902.

In 1943, it was repealed when Congress passed The Magnuson Act solely because China joined forces with the US in World War II.

Karlin Chan poses with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act traveling exhibit in Manhattan's Chinatown in May 2016.
Karlin Chan poses with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act traveling exhibit in Manhattan’s Chinatown in May 2016. Photocredit: Ed Chin

Some feel that the passing of Congresswoman Judy Chu’s bill, H. Res 683 in 2012, to express regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act by Congress, fell short of a full apology, which prompted Chan last month to start his first petition.

When we last spoke with Chan, he knew the goal of 100,000 signatures for the petition would be difficult to meet even with the help of social media. However, he felt it was a good “warm-up” in creating awareness of the history of racism towards the Chinese and to create a second petition with no time deadline.

You can sign Chan’s new petition on Change.org to have President Obama apologize for the passing of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act here: http://tinyurl.com/PetitionToObamaForApology

Share your thoughts with us.

What other forms of “exclusion” do you face currently?

Share a story with us on how the Chinese Exclusion Act impacted your family.

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  1. Asian Americans petition Obama to say” Sorry” for 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act: This is quite necessary. Hypocrisy and selective justice are two serious problems of the American society. We claim equal justice for minorities. But Asians, especially Chinese, are always the exception. We over-emphasize that some certain minority groups historically suffered, but most don’t even know that Chinese Americans once suffered, too.

    Some Chinese complain about the selective fairness and the double standard, saying it’s discrimination. Well I don’t think so. This is not discrimination against Chinese. This is some sort of “fear”. Chinese are too intelligent, too diligent, and too smart. Chinese Americans are the biggest threat to other Americans, especially the ignorant and lazy ones. Of course they are afraid of Chinese. We can see such sorts of coward here in some other comments. I won’t call those cowards racists. They are just ignorant losers.


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