Cupertino Asian Pacific Town Hall Discussed Chinese Exclusion Act
By Donna Austin
The Cupertino APAPA (Asian Pacific American Public Affairs) Town Hall Meeting was held at the City Hall Chambers, yesterday, and was well attended.
Congresswoman, Judy Chu spoke about how members of congress from both sides of the aisle passed HR 683, the bill that expressed regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and followed with the US Senate companion SR 201 on October 6, 2011.
Chu told the audience that the United States has only apologized four times in its history: In 1993 Joint Resolution 19 apologizing for Slavery; also in 1993, to apologize to Native Hawaiians for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Better known is the legislation brought by Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1988, apologizing for the internment of both native born and immigrant Japanese residents of the US during WWII, after Japan declared war. The legislation states that US government actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”
The Chinese Exclusion Act, imposed severe restrictions on Chinese immigration and naturalization and denied Chinese-Americans basic freedoms. This, sadly, was not an unusual move for Congress during times of stress—Jews suffered similar restrictions twice in our history—the last during WWII, with a ship loaded with escapees from Germany who were not allowed to dock and were sent back to Europe where they were interned in concentration camps.
A few in attendance were Mayor Mark Santoro, Vice Mayor, Orrin Mahoney, Council Member, Barry Chang, Ben Liao, Catherine Chen and Former Mayor, Patrick Kwok.