An annual celebration of generosity towards nonprofits, Giving Tuesday is on November 28, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. We would love your support to help us expand and improve our programs that educate and foster understanding, which are now more important than ever. Join us all month as we highlight ways you can contribute and make an impact. See Spotlight below for details and more information on what’s new at the 1990 Institute, including a warm welcome to our 2023 board members.
Our upcoming Teachers Workshop is open to all and explores how the media can shape public perceptions and how journalists are guided morally and ethically in their reporting, especially with regards to the U.S.-China relationship. Register for “Media Narratives: Evaluating U.S.-China Headlines” on November 15 at 3:30 pm PT / 6:30 pm ET. Our distinguished speakers will speak to their firsthand experiences as journalists and highlight the complexities of U.S.-China news reporting.
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How did the Magnuson Act bring an end to the Chinese Exclusion Act?
By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
My grandfather was a Flying Tiger, fighting side by side with American pilots during World War II.
But he could not have immigrated to the United States at the time if he had wanted to because of the Chinese Exclusion Act.
During the war, propaganda from Japan was aimed at weakening the ties between the U.S. and the Republic of China by continually pointing out the contradiction of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Although the U.S. was willing to fight alongside the Chinese people, the U.S. was not willing to allow immigration and live alongside the Chinese people.
So in December 1943, two years after the U.S. and China became allies, the Magnuson Act repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and all the subsequent acts that had restricted Chinese immigration to the U.S. for 60 years. In its place, it created a very low quota of 105 Chinese that could immigrate to the U.S. each year. The Magnuson Act also allowed Chinese immigrants to naturalize and become U.S. citizens.
“They will now say that China is now on the same basis in the minds and hearts and spirit of the American people as all other countries,” said U.S. Rep. Warren G. Magnuson, who sponsored the bill, in testimony before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in May 1943.
While the Magnuson Act did promote foreign policy, Asian immigration, and naturalization, the 105 quota was based upon two percent of the number of Chinese people recorded in the 1890 U.S. census, a year chosen for the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1924 because it was sufficiently far back that the U.S. did not have too many people of color yet. However, unlike other countries’ quotas, the Chinese quota was based on ethnicity rather than citizenship. The concern was that too many Chinese people might emigrate from Hong Kong under the large and underused quota for England or since immigration from the western hemisphere was not regulated, too many Chinese might come in unrestricted from those countries. So 105 was not the number of Chinese citizens allowed to immigrate to the U.S. from China, but the number of ethnic Chinese allowed to immigrate to the U.S. from anywhere in the world.
In a letter to Congress, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wrote that passing the bill was vital to correcting the “historic mistake” of Chinese exclusion, and that the legislation was “important in the cause of winning the war and of establishing a secure peace.”
“It is with particular pride and pleasure that I have today signed the bill repealing the Chinese Exclusion Laws,” said Roosevelt upon signing the legislation on December 17, 1943. “The Chinese people, I am sure, will take pleasure in knowing that this represents a manifestation on the part of the American people of their affection and regard. An unfortunate barrier between allies has been removed. The war effort in the Far East can now be carried on with a greater vigor and a larger understanding of our common purpose.”
The 105 quota on Chinese immigrants was made more equitable with other nations with the passage of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965.
This December 17 will be the 80th anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese exclusion laws. There are a few organizations celebrating the end of the Chinese Exclusion laws this December, but in this time of war, I am thinking about what true alliances could mean for peace.
My grandfather ended up immigrating to Canada in the 1970s and opened a small sandwich shop in Niagara Falls with my grandmother. When interviewed by the local newspaper about why a four-star general was making sandwiches and pouring coffee, he said, “I just want peace.
Larry Itliong, Filipino American leader in the labor movement, honored across California | NBC News Itliong was at the “forefront” of building the multiracial coalitions that formed the United Farm Workers.
For the 1st time since Covid, anti-Asian hate dropped. What's behind the 33% decrease | NBC News “We don’t have a president saying that the ‘Chinese flu’ has come to the U.S.,” one researcher said.
Mayor Eric Adams vows to 'protect' NYC Sikh community after killing of 66-year-old man | NBC News Jasmer Singh, 66, died last week in Queens after a traffic accident led to an assault.
How DeSantis’ ban on Chinese homeownership has affected buyers and real estate agents 3 months in | NBC News Buyers are ditching home deals, while some brokers say they feel forced to racially profile people and turn down business.
Newsom’s trip shows collaboration between U.S., China is possible on a state level | Mercury News This trip is seen as a step in paving the way for Biden to meet with Xi this month at the APEC summit in San Francisco.
U.S. and China seek to ease tensions ahead of possible Biden-Xi summit | PBS NewsHour Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, are both expected to urge China to play a constructive role in both the Israel-Hamas and Russia-Ukraine wars as China’s top diplomat visits Washington to help stabilize ties and perhaps set up a Biden-Xi summit.
Some deaf children in China can hear after gene treatment | MIT Technology Review After gene therapy, Yiyi can hear her mother and dance to the music. But why is it so noisy at night?
Newsom’s visit underscores electric car reality: China holds the keys to battery industry | Cal Matters China modeled some of its climate programs on policies first adopted by California. Now, California depends on the world’s most populous country for essential materials in its electric vehicle ambitions.
Sen. Hirono pushes to improve race data on Asian American and Pacific Islander students | Hawaii Public Radio The All Students Count Act would require the collection and reporting of disaggregated data on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander populations, to ensure equitable resources go to impacted students in the education system.
Memories of Florence and Mas Hongo | Rafu Shimpo Florence and Mas Hongo, the founders of the San Mateo-based Asian American Curriculum Project, passed away earlier this year.
Three Decades Of Chinese Students In America, 1991-2021 | US-China Education Trust This joint report from US-China Education Trust (USCET) and the China Data Lab of the UC San Diego 21st Century China Center provides a broad perspective on the changing composition and experiences of students from China who earned degrees in the United States over a period of three decades.
What is APEC? Asia-Pacific leaders head to San Francisco | Reuters Leaders from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will meet in San Francisco from November 11 to 17 for the 30th APEC summit, the first hosted by the United States since 2011.
We’re pleased to welcome board members who joined the 1990 Institute in 2023:
Aily Zhang, Lin Sun-Hoffman, and Yuelin Yang.
SUPPORT THE 1990 INSTITUTE ALL MONTH LEADING UP TO GIVING TUESDAY ON NOVEMBER 28 – Our mission was founded on the belief that education is the key to bridging gaps and building stronger, more harmonious communities. As we approach Giving Tuesday later this month (November 28), we are asking for your help to support teachers and the next generation of leaders in meeting these challenges and opportunities:
- Importance of Education: In these challenging times, education is not just a luxury but a necessity. It is through knowledge and understanding that we can build bridges, break down stereotypes, and work together to address the pressing issues of our time.
- Building Cultural Bridges for Economic Prosperity: Strong U.S.-China relations are not only beneficial for both nations but for the entire global community. By promoting cross-cultural understanding, we contribute to a more interconnected and prosperous world.
- Addressing Unjust Acts: Our organization works to raise awareness about the importance of respect, empathy, and fairness towards all individuals, regardless of their background. We aim to foster a world where discrimination and prejudice have no place.
Visit our website to learn more about our nonprofit and our 33-year history and make a tax-deductible donation at 1990institute.com/donate. Follow us on social media this month leading up to Giving Tuesday as we highlight ways we are making an impact – links are at the bottom of every newsletter.
REGISTER FOR “MEDIA NARRATIVES: EVALUATING U.S.-CHINA HEADLINES” ON NOVEMBER 15 – You're invited to our upcoming virtual Teachers Workshop: “Media Narratives: Evaluating U.S.-China Headlines” on Wednesday, November 15 at 3:30 pm PT / 6:30 pm ET. Accurate information and responsible news reporting play a crucial role in shaping public perceptions. At times, and especially at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some media outlets have portrayed China as an exaggerated threat to the welfare and way of life for U.S. residents. These anti-China narratives have not only exacerbated U.S.-China tensions but yielded a sharp rise of anti-Asian American racism and violence that continues today. We’re thrilled to have these distinguished journalists as our speakers for this important discussion:
- Kaiser Kuo, Editor-At-Large, The China Project, and Founder, Sinica Podcast
- Amy Qin, National Correspondent, The New York Times
- Bochen Han, U.S. Correspondent, South China Morning Post
This workshop is open to all interested and will provide insights on how to evaluate reports and headlines, including identifying sources and exploring moral and journalistic standards and principles. Attendees will come away with practical tools and resources to support students’ learning on media literacy, cross-cultural understanding, and responsible consumption and dissemination of news. Sign up here.
JOIN US IN WELCOMING OUR 2023 BOARD MEMBERS – We are very pleased to announce our newest board members – Aily Zhang, Lin Sun-Hoffman, and Yuelin Yang – who bring their global perspectives, enthusiasm, and expertise to our nonprofit.
- Aily Zhang is a geopolitical strategist at Lazard, the world's largest independent investment bank. As a founding associate of Lazard's Geopolitical Advisory group, she provides strategic macro insights on U.S. foreign and domestic policy, East Asian affairs, and the geopolitics of energy and clean tech markets. She worked in the public sector as a congressional aide for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and as a policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Beijing, with a focus on U.S.-China climate policy and diplomacy. Aily graduated from Yale and studied at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
- Lin Sun-Hoffman is a patent attorney with a PhD in molecular biology/biochemistry focusing on innovative life sciences client matters and all aspects of intellectual property matters. She represents startup companies as well as public companies. She previously served as a patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Before entering into law, she did her postdoctoral work at the National Cancer Institute at NIH. She serves with many nonprofits, including as a board member of the California-based Chinese Health Initiative and Secretary General of the U.S.-China Green Energy Council.
- Yuelin Yang continues his family’s charitable work with the 1990 Institute. He is the son of Linda Tsao Yang, our Honorary Co-Chair, a former U.S. ambassador, and the first woman to represent the U.S. on the board of a multilateral financial institution. Yuelin is a Senior Advisor to the Pacific Pension and Investment Institute (PPI) whose membership comprises senior investment professionals from 17 countries, representing $25+ trillion in assets. He is the Chief Stewardship and Wellbeing Governance Officer for International Maritime Carrier Pan Asian Alliance Group (IMCPAA) and serves on the board of two IMCPAA foundations: Restore Nature and No 17 focusing on catalyzing impact solutions to climate and environmental issues in Asia. Concurrently, he is Deputy Group Managing Director of IMC Industrial Group and Group Managing Director of Unithai. He received a BS and a JD from Stanford.
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