January 19, 2024

Volume 4, Issue 1

Dear Friends,

We hope that your new year is off to a great start. The upcoming Year of the Dragon is said to bring good luck, strength, progress, and abundance. Here at the 1990 Institute, we have an exciting year ahead in our vision to create and support educational programming to improve mutual understanding and build a constructive environment for both U.S.-China relations and for Asian Americans.

Our first Teachers Workshop of the year will be on March 6 on the topic of Asian American Identity. Asian Americans are seen as both perpetual foreigners and, often at the same time, at the forefront of popular culture, such as in movies/series (“Everything Everywhere All At Once,” “Beef,” “The Brothers Sun”), K-pop, beauty/skincare innovations, and so on. How do these two vastly different connotations coexist and what does it mean? Read more about the upcoming event and see what else is new in Spotlight below.

2024 is also a presidential election year and our friends at Stop AAPI Hate have joined with Chinese for Affirmative Action to bring attention to the growing number of political leaders using U.S.-China geopolitics as an excuse to promote anti-Asian political rhetoric and discrimination. Stop The Blame is a nationwide campaign to end anti-Asian scapegoating. You can also visit Stop AAPI Hate's website to report an incident. Read their report and visit our Reference Library for a deeper understanding of Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences.

We rely on individual contributions to sustain and grow our nonprofit programming. If you are able to make a charitable contribution, we would be so grateful to continue our work toward supporting teachers and students with our resources that support a foundational understanding of Asian American studies and the complexities of U.S.-China relations.

For 2024, we will bring you a newsletter once a month and will feature some guest contributors in the months ahead. For this issue, please enjoy expanded Curated News and Spotlight sections. Please share our newsletters with your friends and family, encourage them to subscribe.


Save the date! Join us on March 6 for our first Teachers Workshop of the new year. By fostering dialogue and encouraging creative expression, this workshop seeks to inspire positive change and contribute to a more inclusive and diverse cultural landscape.


Curated News

Asian American eligible voters grew more than any other racial group since last presidential election | NBC News  In the past four years, the Asian American eligible voter population grew by 15%. “The fact that Asian American eligible voter growth is five times that of the population overall is still striking and would seem to demand the attention of any campaign looking to expand its reach,” one expert said.

Taiwan's China-skeptic ruling-party candidate wins presidential election | NPR  Lai Ching-te of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is Taiwan's new president-elect. Since its founding in the 1980s, the DPP has now secured a third term in the presidential office, a first in Taiwan's short democratic history. Taiwan election: Why the outcome matters to the world. Prior to the election, Reuters picked up a desk note cowritten by 1990 Institute board member Aily Zhang, geopolitical strategist at Lazard, on the far-reaching implications of Taiwan’s election.

Ali Wong is the first woman of Asian descent to win lead acting Emmy | Los Angeles Times  At the Emmy Awards, “Beef” won and Steven Yuen became the second man of Asian descent to win Best Actor in a limited series. At the Golden Globes, “Beef” won for best limited TV series, making history by becoming the first show created by and starring Asian Americans to win in its category, and Ali Wong and Steven Yeun also made history with their wins.

House bill aims to restart controversial DOJ program that targeted Chinese academics | NPR  The Justice Department ended the controversial "China Initiative" nearly two years ago amid criticism of racial profiling. A House spending bill could revive the initiative.

China says it’s easier than ever for Americans to visit the country | CNN  The Chinese embassy in Washington announced newly relaxed guidelines citing the desire “to further facilitate people-to-people exchanges.”

Asian American Officials Cite Unfair Scrutiny and Lost Jobs in China Spy Tensions | New York Times  National security employees with ties to Asia say U.S. counterintelligence officers wrongly regard them as potential spies and ban them from jobs.

‘The Brothers Sun’ Co-Creator on Subverting Asian Male Stereotypes and Why Michelle Yeoh Has Limited Fight Scenes | Variety  “We wanted to subvert those typical Asian American tropes of the very serious Asian assassin and the really goofy, silly Asian guy, and we wanted to play around with them,” said writer-producer Byron Wu. “We want Asian American people to feel good about watching the show and feel good about being Asian American.” For more on how Asians are depicted on screen, see our video: “Beyond Shang-Chi: Superheroes, Masculinity, and Asian American Representation.”

The push for a national landmark at Donner Pass | Sierra Sun  The tunnels trace back to the 1860s, when thousands of Chinese laborers worked to achieve a monumental feat in the High Sierras. At the risk of death by explosion and avalanche, builders of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Tunnel 6 — the Summit Tunnel — made possible the rugged Sierra stretch of the line, which in turn helped grow the country into an international powerhouse when it was completed in 1869.

China’s Youth Are Quitting the Rat Race to ‘Let It Rot’ | Wall Street Journal  A growing number of middle-class urbanites in their 20s and 30s in China have begun to question the trajectory of traditional expectations of career and family as prospects of upward mobility fade.

California restaurant’s comeback shows how outdated, false Asian stereotype of dog-eating persists | AP News  A baseless accusation grounded in a racist stereotype about Asian food using dog meat brought a six-month barrage of harassment so heated that owner David Rasavong closed down its previous location over fears for his family’s safety.

Shohei Ohtani: What it means that the new face of MLB is Asian | NBC News  “The fact we’ve had someone become the face of MLB is an incredible move forward for the Asian and the Asian America community,” said Stan Thangaraj, the director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Social Justice at Stonehill College in Massachusetts.

Essay: The Food In The Brothers Sun Is Where The Heart Is | Refinery29  “Talk to any Asian American, and ‘Have you eaten?’ is usually the first question they’re asked by their parents when they return home. … It’s the food that sets this dark humor family drama apart and continues the movement of strong Asian American stories told through a talented Asian cast.”

‘May December’ film about Mary Kay Letourneau ignites discussion of race and class | NBC News  California State Polytechnic University, Pomona sociology professor Anthony Ocampo said the tabloids were able to sell the story of the 35-year-old teacher and her sixth-grade Samoan American student as a love story because of the popular perception that white women are inherently innocent while men of color, no matter how young, are criminal and threatening.

Statement from President Joe Biden on the 80th Anniversary of the Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act | The White House  “For generations, people of Chinese heritage have enriched our country – from Chinese laborers who did backbreaking work to build the transcontinental railroad in the 1800s to the Chinese Americans who serve in our military, to the authors, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and scholars of today. We honor them, and all immigrants, who continue to make extraordinary contributions to our nation.”


We celebrated Korean American Day, January 13, on New Asian American Voices with a spotlight on two remarkable Korean Americans: Sammy Lee and Philip Jaisohn.



  • UPCOMING TEACHERS WORKSHOP ON MARCH 6  – When you think of Asian Americans, what comes to mind? Model minority and yellow peril or K-Pop and your favorite pop icon? Asian Americans comprise a diverse, multifaceted grouping of multiple constituencies, and it is a culture that is constantly changing. Our upcoming Teachers Workshop on Asian American Identity will explore the intricate intersection between stereotypes and pop culture, aiming to empower participants to navigate, challenge, and redefine prevailing narratives. We are also creating a lesson plan for teachers so they can be more prepared for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May. We are pleased to announce that our speakers include writer Jeff Yang, author of “Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now’ and “The Golden Screen: The Movies That Made Asian America;” Neil Ruiz, Head of New Research Initiatives at Pew Research Center; and Margaret Yee, an education consultant formerly with the Asian Art Museum. There will be an opportunity to win two tickets to see “The Far Country” at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California. Registration is open! Save the date and visit our Teachers Portal and Reference Library for more resources.
  • HONORING KOREAN AMERICAN DAY – Korean American Day occurs annually on January 13, marking the day the first Korean Americans arrived in the U.S. in 1903. This year, we are pleased to highlight two history-making Korean Americans. Diver Sammy Lee faced racial prejudice and was only permitted to use his local community pool on “international days,” when nonwhites were allowed to swim the day before the pools were cleaned and drained each week. At the 1948 Olympics, he became the first Asian American man (and second Asian American, two days after Vicki Draves won) to earn a gold medal. Four years later, he again earned gold in platform diving, becoming the first to repeat as a gold medal winner in that event. Philip Jaisohn was a Korean American pioneer and Korean independence activist who, in 1894, became the first Korean to gain American citizenship. Learn more about these and other unsung Asian Americans on New Asian American Voices.
  • RECORDING AVAILABLE ON U.S.-CHINA SCHOLARLY EXCHANGE FROM BIG DATA CHINA – The goal of Big Data China (a collaboration between the CSIS Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics and the Stanford Center on China’s Economy and Institutions) is to analyze leading academic research on China and highlight the most relevant findings for today’s policy issues. At its second annual conference last month, “Prospects for China’s Growth and Foreign Relations in an Era of Competition,” the moderator for the second panel discussion of the event, “Charting a Path for Scholarly Exchange in the Era of Strategic Competition” (starting at time code 1:36 on YouTube), was Stanford’s Scott Rozelle, who has been a speaker at the 1990 Institute’'s Teachers Workshop on several occasions. The panel discussed potential risks of collaboration but also illuminated the greater damage that could result from cutting off scholarly exchanges between the U.S. and China. While there are genuine concerns for national security, IP commercialization, and human rights abuses, the U.S. can not afford (for its own competitiveness) to not engage in scholarly exchange with China. U.S. government institutions and universities’ research labs are protected by sound rules and guidelines. For a better understanding of the history of U.S.-China collaboration in science and technology, watch our short video called “U.S. and China Seek Relationship Counseling: Technology in the Crosshairs,” and visit our Reference Library page for more resources on this topic.
  • MONTEREY PARK / HALF MOON BAY REMEMBRANCE – One year ago, two horrific mass shootings occurred in predominantly immigrant and Asian American communities in California around the Lunar New Year (January 22, 2023). On January 21, 11 people were killed and nine injured in the San Gabriel Valley, the deadliest mass shooting in the history of Los Angeles County. Two days later, on January 23, seven people died and one was critically injured at two farms in Half Moon Bay. Let us remember their names and honor their lives: Valentino Marcos Alvero; Hongying Jian, Yu Lun Kao, Lilan Li, Ming Wei Ma, My My Nhan, Diana Man Ling Tom, Muoi Dai Ung, Chia Ling Yau, Wen Tau Yu, Xiujuan Yu, Yetao Bing, Qizhong Cheng, Zhishen Liu, Jingzhi Lu, Marciano Martinez Jimenez, Jose Romero Perez, and Aixiang Zhang.
  • WHY CHINA MATTERS TO THE U.S. HEARTLAND – The United States Heartland China Association just released its 2024 report on “Why China Matters to the Heartland.” The annual report addresses community leaders’ growing interest in examining the U.S.-China relationship at the local level. The report includes insights on 21 U.S. states and an excerpt states: “For the Heartland states overall, 2023 proved to be a year of renewed cultural ties, stabilized educational exchanges, and robust trade volume.” The full report can be downloaded on their website.
  • CALLING​​ FOR SURVEY RESPONDENTS WHO ARE MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS IN NEW YORK – The Next Generation Leaders Program from the Committee of 100 is interested in hearing about experiences of middle school teachers incorporating and teaching Asian American and Pacific Islander curriculum in New York State. The Chinese American Librarians Association is a co-sponsor. The survey is available through February 15 and the first 100 survey respondents will receive a $15 gift card. More information is available here.

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


1990 Institute
P.O. Box 383  | San Francisco, California 94104



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