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Documentary on Vincent Chin named to National Film Registry

The 1987 Oscar-nominated film, Who Killed Vincent Chin, has been named to the National Film Registry, reports the Detroit Free Press.

The film by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Pena tells the story of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American who was beaten to death by two men in detroit with a baseball bat after they mistook him for Japanese and blamed him for the unemployment of auto workers in 1982.

It is one of 25 films being added to the Registry in the Library of Congress this week.

“The attack on Vincent Chin was a tragic but significant incident in local and American history,” said Rich Homberg, president and CEO of DPTV which produced the documentary along with Film News Now. “The film is a moving testament to the loss of a young man’s life and to the people who rose up to protest this terrible injustice. It speaks more loudly now than ever about the contemporary issues in race relations that we are still struggling to cope with,” he said to One Detroit PBS.

The death of Vincent Chin catapulted the Asian American movement, and is still cited today as a pivotal while tragic moment in Asian American history.

The lenient sentence given to the two men who never served any jail time angered the Asian American community and sparked protests from Detroit to New York to San Francisco.

“When we began examining the Vincent Chin case 38 years ago, we knew we would be telling a story that explored contemporary issues of national significance,” said Juanita Anderson, head of media arts and studies at Wayne State University and executive producer of the film. “Now that story is not only a vital chapter in American history, it resonates in our present-day struggles against social injustice.”

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