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The New Chinese Diaspora: Embracing the Model Minority and Perpetual Foreigner?


A new wave of Chinese immigration is now arriving in America, different than prior waves. (1) The new arrivals embrace what their predecessors forswore. From the model minority myth to the perpetual foreigner syndrome, the new Chinese diaspora is staking out a conception of Chinese American identity that is Sinocentric and empowered. This article, based on the opening keynote speech of the CHSA Conference, analyzes how this new wave is unlike the Chinese American community that preceded it. The work is descriptive, not normative; that is, the point is to be objective, not to pass judgment on either newcomers or those whose families came earlier. It is perforce general, with the risk of error that arises from any report about groups in the aggregate.

None of these changes is unusual. Jewish migration to the United States included a Sephardic wave; an Ashkenazi and German, Yiddish-speaking wave; and a later Eastern European wave. (2) Among them were those who were assimilated to European high culture and educated, who were relatively privileged, and there were mutual apprehensions among these waves. The intellectual discourse among African Americans included the "debate" between Booker T. Washington, who suggested Blacks "cast down your bucket where you are," and W. E. B. DuBois, who urged "the Talented Tenth" to insist on equality; not to mention plans such as for repatriation to Liberia or colonization as promoted by Marcus Garvey. (3) That was followed by the conventional if not cliched dichotomy between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. (4) Likewise the Chinese diaspora in the United States has included everyone from Sun Yat-Sen, founder of modern China, and Soong Mei-Ling, better known as Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, who secured U.S. support for China during World War II, to Ai Wei Wei, the avant-garde artist. (5) Sun spent formative years in Hawaii with his elder brother, in the 1880s; Madame Chiang attended college in Georgia and retired in the States; and Ai began attracting acclaim for his art in New York City a century later.


To understand the new wave, it is necessary to recall the two earlier waves. (6) There are various means of classifying Chinese immigrants. For the sake of simplicity, only two categories are used here: those who came prior to the Magnuson Act, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943, and those who came afterward, until the advent of the new wave. The McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 could be used as the dividing line, but the earlier date groups together the Chinese who were resident in the United States during World War II, who landed during the hostilities, or who came during the immediate postwar period, with the later entrants, which seems in sociological terms more appropriate. The classes are demarcated by U.S. immigration policy, but they also correlate roughly to Chinese historical periods.

These two groups are quite different from one another. (7) It begins with their roots.

The earliest Chinese immigrants were virtually all men from Canton or the Pearl River Delta, southern coastal areas that used the Cantonese language. There were exceptions, including a few well-to-do merchants or sons of families that could be described as mercantile, but these individuals were rare, and women even more so. They worked on the transcontinental railroad, laying the Western tracks from California to Promontory Point, Utah. (8) Some also were recruited unwittingly as strikebreakers in Eastern factories, others to the Deep South during Reconstruction, in a scheme to replace freed slaves. (9) A few families sailed in junks to Monterey, California. (10)

The next Chinese immigrants had a broader range of geographical origins, and they included significantly more who used the Mandarin language. Although the persons who were diplomats or from other elite backgrounds remained uncommon, they had become less scarce in absolute terms and more significant in proportional terms (because immigration exclusion ensured extremely low overall numbers). From 1949, for two generations (forty years), the bulk of Chinese immigration started not from mainland China, due to restrictions on emigration, but from Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as other places where Chinese had settled, such as the Philippines, Vietnam, or Malaysia, or even in a few instances locations such as within the Caribbean--of course it all commenced at some point on mainland China, but it passed through these places, with pauses of even longer than a single generation. The few Chinese from the mainland during the Cold War era would have been extraordinary--refugees or defectors.

However, these two earlier groups together can be distinguished from the current flow by the environment. They came at a time of open, harsh, unabashed discrimination against Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans. These were de jure measures, meaning they were formal laws (whether federal or state, statutory or decisional), that disadvantaged persons of Chinese ancestry. They included the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited further migration subject to limited quotas (and circumvented by "paper sons"); the subsequent Geary Act, which required Chinese who had come legally to carry papers at all times to avoid summary deportation; and limits on land ownership, intermarriage, and professional licensure. (11) They also included attempts--defeated in the courts--to enforce neutral regulations in a racial manner, such as by denying almost all Chinese applicants the requisite permits to operate laundries in San Francisco while granting almost all non-Chinese competitors the same privilege. (12) The ongoing existence of Chinese Americans was endangered because they were barred from naturalizing on a racial basis (though some managed to do so under the standard of "free white persons"). (13) The United States opposed, unsuccessfully, the recognition of citizenship by birthright. (14) In the "separate but equal" era between the 1896 decision of Plessy v. Ferguson and the 1954 decision of Brown v. Board of Education, Asians--specifically Chinese--were deemed no different than African Americans, insofar as segregation could be practiced (though enforcement was not uniform). (15) The bigotry was comprehensive. Prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, barring private parties from the practices, it was customary to refuse employment, housing, and public accommodations to even Chinese Americans who were bona fide citizens. (16) Nor was the intolerance limited to xenophobia or a principled distinction between citizens and foreigners, because it extended to Chinese Americans but not European immigrants.

Even prior to the current flow, these two groups of Chinese Americans were discrete. The earliest Chinese immigrants were laborers who faced occupational segmentation, which concentrated them in the crews building the railroad, laundries, restaurants, owners of small businesses serving ethnic clientele (e.g., insurance brokers), and, in the Deep South, proprietors of grocery stores for Black or impoverished While patrons. The next Chinese immigrants were professionals, including students on scholarship who stayed after completion of their degrees, and others who could qualify on the basis of skills that were needed within the domestic economy, such as health care service providers. The former formed an urban, Cantonese-speaking community; the latter, by and large a suburban, Mandarin-speaking counterpart. While these communities had contact, they nonetheless were separated by multiple factors, including the founding of churches and language schools that functioned as centers of social life. A church that conducted worship in Cantonese would not appeal to a family that was not Christian, nor to a family that was Christian but was fluent in only Mandarin. A language school that had instruction in Mandarin would attract few families that wished to maintain Cantonese (these language schools had a further decision with political implications whether to use the simplified ideograms developed on the mainland or the traditional characters still in use in Taiwan and Hong Kong).

Despite their differences, these two groups converged toward shared traits. As they formed associations to advance equality, their civic engagement has depended on a set of strategies. That has been the case especially as Chinese Americans have joined others to become Asian Americans. The term itself was invented by scholar Yuji Ichioka in the late 1960s. (17) The trends that made "Asian American" a reality emerged with the cultural revolutions of 1967, when the "Summer of Love" occurred in the San Francisco Bay Area, and 1968, when civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. A Yellow Power Movement brought together Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and Filipino Americans, primarily students, emulating the Black Power Movement and participating in the Third World Strike. (18) The activism was circumscribed by time (the late 1960s and early 1970s), geography (centering on California), and generation (young, native-born). Another round of protests occurred with the campaign of "Justice for Vincent Chin." (19) A Chinese American killed with a baseball bat in 1982 in Detroit, "the Motor City," by White autoworkers who apparently blamed him for the success of Japanese imported cars, he became an iconic martyr after the murderers were each given three years of probation and a $3000 fine. That effort brought together multiple ethnicities, because of the "mistaken identity" twice over (Chinese for Japanese, American for foreign).

Among the accomplishments of the movement was the creation of Asian American Studies as an academic discipline. (20) The practitioners were self-consciously "of' the community They sought to forge an identity through scholarship.

Their research, and the accompanying advocacy, has had clear themes. They were pan-Asian American in a form of mutual defense. (21) Both words in the artificial identity were important. They encouraged bridge building among Asian ethnicities in America, acknowledging that "Asian" was associated with the imperialism of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, a euphemism for Japanese imperial aggression. (22) The Asian ancestors of Asian Americans may have hated one another, may even have fought total wars among themselves. (23)

These Asian Americans proclaimed that they were loyal Americans, however they may have felt about assimilation. They were not sojourners who were temporarily resident, or perpetual foreigners relegated to second-class status. (24) During the Cold War, it was in the interests of Chinese Americans particularly to lay claim to a U.S. passport, to avoid suspicions when a "confession" program was under way to ferret out those whose ancestors included illegal immigrants. (25) The government correspondingly had reason to refute the notion that the United States was racist to promote its image, in contrast to the Soviet Union, with nations that had populations who resembled the people of color in the States. (26)

Among the recurring concerns for "Asian Americanists," as those in the field called themselves, was debunking the "model minority myth." (27) The image that Asian Americans were highly successful, overcoming prejudice without government intervention, in pointed comparison with African Americans and Latinos, was challenged as empirically false, for failing to take into account selective migration, educational attainment, multigeneration households, concentration of the demographic in higher-wage areas, and dissimilar stereotypes. A multitude of books, articles, and op-eds were produced to demonstrate either that Asian Americans were normal or that their achievements on average were attributable to factors other than some sort of ethnic superiority.

These tenets are exemplified by the Organization of Chinese Americans. A nonprofit founded in 1973, OCA adopted bylaws that deliberately stayed away from homeland politics by restraining themselves from expressing opinions on "politics of any foreign country." (28) They subsequently amended their name to the abbreviation "OCA" to indicate they aspired to represent all Asian Americans. They belong to the Washington, D.C.-based umbrella group, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, founded by labor unions, Jewish, and African American organizations. The earlier Chinese American Citizens Alliance, which initially was constituted as the Native Sons of the Golden State (akin to the Whites-only Native Sons of the Golden West), similarly was, as indicated by both names, prideful about citizenship and native status. Japanese Americans were even more patriotic. The Japanese American Citizens League was criticized for acquiescing to the World War II internment. (29)


The new wave of Chinese immigrants has established itself independently. (30) They have not deferred to others out of respect for priority in time. Just as the native-born children of immigrants have not always revered their immigrant parents out of Asian filial piety, the new immigrants have not paid homage to the earlier native-born. The new organizations, such as United Chinese Americans (UCA), advertise themselves as the first such nonprofits, which is true by the criteria of dedication to Chinese mainland diaspora, not Chinese Americans from Taiwan or Hong Kong, much less American-born Chinese ("ABCs"). Even before this constituency asserted itself, Chinese Americans and other observers had wondered whether Asians would become honorary' Whites, members of a privileged majority "overclass," instead of welcoming the status of "people of color." (31) To add Asian Americans to racial narratives, adopting a paradigm "beyond black and white," does not indicate whether Asian Americans will be inserted in the black or the white side of the line. (32) The new Chinese diaspora is generating another cleavage, based on native-born versus foreign-born status. (33) For some, "ABC" has connotations that are pejorative. In the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, released in 2018 and based on the best-selling novel of the same name, "ABC" is synonymous with "banana," which is clearly derogatory: "yellow on the outside, white on the inside." Whatever else may be said, "Asian American" is dynamic rather than stable, indeed contested. (34)

As a factual matter, Chinese immigration to the United States has shifted. The phenomenon is predominantly mainland at the moment and for the foreseeable future: to use two data points for comparison, in the 1970s migration from Taiwan to the United States was five times that of migration from mainland China, but by the 2000s migration from mainland China was ten times that from Taiwan; as of the most recent immigration yearbook, 2016, lawful permanent residence or "green card" status was granted to 77,658 from China, 5,062 from Taiwan, and 2,982 from Hong Kong. (35) The "tipping point" was circa 1980s.
Country of       1950-    1960-    1970-     1980-
Last Residence   1959     1969     1979      1989

China            8,836    14,060   17,627    170,897
Taiwan           721      15,657   83,155    119,051
Hong Kong        13,781   67,047   117,350   112,132

Source: Office of Immigration Statistics, 2016 Yearbook
of Immigration Statistics (Washington, D.C.:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2017), 8,

Within Chinese immigration, and Asian immigration, another line can be drawn. There are both those who come with great capital, whether financial or human, and those who come impoverished, including those who lack documentation. (36)

These Chinese immigrants are entering an altogether different America, as they are departing an altogether different Asia. The United States no longer allows racial discrimination, at least ostensibly rejecting such prejudices in both public life and private life. The persistence of the problem is taken as an aberration rather than the norm. Unlike prior to the Fair Housing Act, enacted in 1968, a Chinese immigrant who has the financial means to purchase real estate, even in a White neighborhood, should be able to do so. Chinese in integrated suburbs and Asians in prosperous Asian districts have ceased to be startling, and Chinese high-net-worth buyers can move in to the most exclusive buildings and neighborhoods with minimal fuss. Asia is ascendant, with China developing at a pace that is unprecedented and on a scale surpassing all others. Chinese immigrants are no longer leaving a Third World nation, beset by famine and riven by conflict, for a Gold Mountain of material prosperity that could not be attained in their homeland however hard they worked; to the contrary, they may envision a temporary residence for training Stateside, because their career prospects ultimately are better in Shenzhen than Silicon Valley. The contemporary Chinese, furthermore, have survived, or their parents did, the Cultural Revolution, the effects of which cannot be underestimated. Thanks to technology, in particular social media platforms such as WeChat, they can sustain meaningful relationships without interruption after they relocate overseas. (37) The Chinese government has requested that its United Front propaganda activities be assisted by the Chinese diaspora, for example, on its "Belt and Road" initiative. (38) This type of coordination has alarmed U.S. officials. (39)

Thus the new wave of Chinese immigrants can be contrasted with the earlier waves. Among them are a transnational diaspora. (40) Some are "Chinese in America" (to borrow Iris Changs phrase) rather than Chinese Americans: they are foreign students, expatriate business persons, and migrant workers who lead lives always in transit as "astronauts" or "sea turtles," to use the Chinese-language metaphors for keeping homes on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. (41) Instead of being pan-Asian American, they may be less enthusiastic about both the "Asian" and the "American," shying away from association with other Asian ethnicities and declaration of American citizenship. They embody ethnic nationalism, a few of them willing to advance the Chinese agenda as they have been invited to do, including on such controversies as Taiwan and Tibet--though reports have been criticized for hyperbole. (42) The "model minority myth" is regarded positively, as a truth, albeit typically less on a biological basis than a cultural one. The proposition is that "Tiger Mom" parenting produces desirable outcomes and that some behaviors, correlated to an ethnic group, result in economic success. (43)

The contrast is revealed through multiple disputes. In partisan politics, a vocal contingent of Chinese Americans for Republican nominee, and eventual victor, Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election were at odds with Chinese American elected officials: all three members of the House of Representatives of Chinese descent are liberal Democrats--Judy Chu, chair of the Asian Pacific American Caucus, from Monterey Park, California; Ted Lieu, who emerged as a leading critic of President Trump, also from Southern California; and Grace Meng, of Flushing, Queens. (44) Other controversies range from Chinese Americans who filed suit against Harvard University for alleged discrimination in undergraduate admissions, blaming affirmative action for the unfairness--who are being fought by those who would separate anti-Asian bias from diversity programs--to the Chinese Americans who reject sanctuary for undocumented persons and wish to unseat Asian American politicians who support regularization of status for such "illegal immigrants." Among those who are most prominent in these debates are new arrivals. As the New York Times put it in a headline, "They Left China to Chase the American Dream. Now They're Fighting Affirmative Action." (45) Or as the Washington Post put it in another headline, "These First-Generation Chinese Americans Are Vigorously Opposing Sanctuary Laws." (46) Much of the internal quarrel among Chinese Americans is generational within families. (47) Chinese Americans were divided by the case of Peter Liang, a Chinese American rookie cop in New York City who in 2014 shot and killed Akai Gurley, an unarmed African American. (48) Liang was prosecuted. Some believed he was scapegoated for conduct that White peers engaged in with impunity. Others joined the "Black Lives Matter" movement and called for him to be punished. An open letter to Asian immigrant parents was published on the Internet by their Asian American children, explaining the youths' position (49)

The new Chinese Americans themselves are purchasing guns, responding to targeted advertising in Chinese on social media. (50) This summary does not even encompass issues such as gender equity and anti-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals, among others likely to show divisions. In their literature--now websites rather than ethnic newspapers--arguments are presented in Chinese as much as they are in English. Diaspora identity is affecting political behavior. (51) The empirical data confirm that Asian Americans are, in partisan terms, more Democratic than Republican, casting votes for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over Republican nominee Donald Trump. (52) But disaggregation discloses the details: in one generation, Asian Americans moved from George H. W. Bush (Republican) voters to Barack Obama (Democratic) voters, by sizable margins, confounding predictions based on their socioeconomic status. (53) Yet Chinese Americans, like Vietnamese Americans, favored Clinton at lower rates than Asian Americans (and other racial minorities such as African Americans and Hispanics). (54) Chinese Americans are being courted as natural conservatives. (55)


To the extent anyone is implicitly taken to task here, it is progressive Chinese American leaders who have failed to engage with newcomers. They ignore this growing population at their own peril. The assumption that Chinese Americans are homogeneous is wrong. Many Chinese Americans do not agree with a liberal ideology. Theirs is an authentic version of the Chinese American experience, as much as any other. It may become the prevailing one.

Or perhaps the project of uniting Chinese Americans, on the basis of ethnic affinities, is not possible in practical terms, regardless of whether it is imagined to be ideal. (56) Chinese Americans, as Chinese Americans, may have much in common, yet they also exhibit the diversity that defines democracy.


(1.) A demographic "snapshot" is Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova, "Chinese Immigrants in the United States," Migration Policy Institute Spotlight, September 29, 2017,

(2.) A popular history in three volumes corresponding to the distinct waves is Stephen Birmingham, The Jews in America Trilogy, reprint ed. (New York: Open Road Media, 2016).

(3.) See Thomas Aiello, The Battle for the Souls of Black Folk: W. E. B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and the Debate That Shaped the Course of Civil Rights (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2016); see also Wilson Jeremiah Moses, ed., Classical Black Nationalism: From the American Revolution to Marcus Garvey (New York: New York University Press, 1996).

(4.) David Howard-Pitney, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and the Civil Rights Struggle of the 1950s and '60s: A Brief History with Documents (Boston: Bedford St. Martin's).

(5.) Harold Z. Schiffrin, Sun Yat-Sen and the Origins of the Chinese Revolution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010); Seth Faison, "Madame Chiang, 105, Chinese Leader's Widow, Dies," New York Times, October 24, 2003, C11; Ted Loos, "Ai Weiwei, Once and Future New Yorker, Barnstorms through the Boroughs," New York Times, October 5, 2017, C13.

(6.) For general histories of Chinese Americans, I have relied on Iris Chang, The Chinese in America (New York: Penguin, 2004); and Shih-Shan Henry Tsai, The Chinese Experience in America (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1986). I also consulted Peter Kwong and Dusanka Miscevic, Chinese America: The Untold Story of America's Oldest New Community (New York: New Press, 2007); and Sucheng Chan and Madeline Y Hsu, eds., Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008). See also Him Mark Lai, Chinese American Transnational Politics (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2010). The phenomena described here are too recent to have attracted full treatment by scholars, but some early trends are discussed in Tritia Toyota, Envisioning America: New Chinese Americans and the Politics of Belonging (Palo Alto, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2009); and Min Zhou, Contemporary Chinese America: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Community Transformation (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009). Chinese immigration in the context of Chinese history is discussed by Philip A. Kuhn, Chinese among Others: Emigration in Modern Times (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). The interactions of the United States and China over time are discussed in Gordon H. Chang, Fateful Ties: A History of America's Preoccupation with China (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015); John Pomfret, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present (New York: Henry Holt, 2016); and Guoqi Xu, Chinese and Americans: A Shared History (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2014).

(7.) These two waves are described in, respectively, Shehong Chen, Being Chinese, Being Chinese American (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2006); and Xiaojian Zhao, Remaking Chinese America: Immigration, Family, and Community, 1940-1965 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2002).

(8.) See I. Chang, The Chinese in America, 53-64; and Stephen E. Ambrose, Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000) 150-53, 243.

(9.) Regarding Chinese in Eastern factories, see Martin B. Gold, Forbidden Citizens: Chinese Exclusion and the U.S. Congress, A Legislative History (Alexandria, Va.:, 2012), 210-13. Regarding Chinese in the Deep South, see Lucy M. Cohen, Chinese in the Post-Civil War South: A People without a History (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1999).

(10.) Sandy Lydon, Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region (Aptos, Calif.: Capitola Books, 1985).

(11.) Geary Act of 1892, Public Law 52-60. The act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fong Yue Ting v. United States, 149 U.S. 698 (1893). Regarding anti-miscegenation, see Hrishi Karthikeyan and Gabriel J. Chin, "Preserving Racial Identity: Population Patterns and the Application of Anti-miscegenation Statutes to Asian Americans, 1910-1950," Asian American Law Journal 9 (2002): 1-40. Regarding Alien Land Laws, see Keith Aoki, "No Right to Own? The Early Twentieth-Century 'Alien Land Laws' as a Prelude to Internment," Boston College Third World Law Journal 19, no. I (1998): 37-72. Regarding professional licensure, see Takahashi v. Fish & Game Commission, 334 U.S. 410(1948).

(12.) Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886).

(13.) The Ozawa and Thind cases are reproduced and analyzed in Ian Haney Lopez, White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race (New York: New York University Press, 1996). An exception would be the Bunker twins, Chang and Eng, the original "Siamese" (conjoined) twins, Chinese-Thai, who were able to naturalize despite the color line.

(14.) United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898).

(15.) Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78 (1927). A history of the case is Adrienne Berard, Water Tossing Boulders: How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate Schools in the Jim Crow South (Boston: Beacon Press, 2016). An earlier San Francisco case, involving the Tape family, is described in Mae Ngai, The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2010).

(16.) Frank H. Wu, "From the 'Perpetual Foreigner' to the 'Model Minority' to the New Transnational Elite: The Residential Segregation of Asian Americans," in Gregory D. Squires, The Fight for Fair Housing: Causes, Consequences, and Future Implications of the 1968 Fair Housing Act (New York: Routledge, 2017), 133-50.

(17.) K. Connie Kang, "Yuji Ichioka, 66; Led Way in Studying lives of Asian Americans," Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2002.

(18.) Karen L. Ishizuka, Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties (New York: Verso, 2016); Michael Liu et al., The Snake Dance of Asian American Activism (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2O08); Daryl J. Maeda, Chains of Babylon: The Rise of Asian America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009); and William Wei, The Asian American Movement (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993). See also Steven G. Louie and Glenn K. Omatsu, Asian Americans: The Movement and the Moment (Los Angeles: UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press, 2001).

(19.) Frank H. Wu, "The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Death of the Motor City," Asian America: A Primary Source Reader, ed. Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, K. Scott Wong, and Jason O. Chang (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2016), 286-97.

(20.) See, in chronological order, Gary Y. Okihiro et al., Reflections on Shattered Windows: Promises and Prospects for Asian American Studies (Pullman: Washington State University Press, 1987); Jean Yu-Wen Shen Wu, ed., Asian American Studies Now: A Critical Reader (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2010); and Cindy I-Fen Cheng, ed., The Routledge Handbook of Asian American Studies (New York: Routledge, 2016).

(21.) See Yen Le Espiritu, Asian American Panethnicity: Bridging Institutions and Identities (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993); see also Dina G. Okamoto, Redefining Race: Asian American Panethnicity and Shifting Ethnic Boundaries (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2014).

(22.) John Toland, The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire: 1936-1945 (New York: Random House, 1970). Chinese attitudes are described in Frank Dikotter, The Discourse of Race in Modern China (London: C. Hurst & Co., 1992).

(23.) As concerns China and Japan, see Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War 11, reprint ed. (New York: Basic Books, 2012); and Rana Mittner, China's War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival (New York: Penguin, 2013).

(24.) The "sojourner" thesis has been a subject of controversy. It is the proposition that Chinese, and Asian, migrants were not immigrants but transients, explaining hostility. It is true that some Chinese, and other Asian, settlers did not stay, but that may have been due to prejudice, and "return migration" was prevalent among European migrants of the same time period. Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore (Boston: Little Brown, 1989), 11; and Mark Wyman, Round-Trip to America: The Immigrants Return to Europe, 1880-1930 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1993).

(25.) Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004), 218-22; and Him Mark Lai, "Unfinished Business: The Confession Program," in Robert A. Fung, The Repeal and Its Legacv: Proceedings of the Conference on the 50th Anniversary of the Repeal of the Exclusion Acts (San Francisco: Chinese Historical Society of America and San Francisco State University, 1994), 47-56.

(26.) Charlotte Brooks, Between Mao and McCarthy: Chinese American Politics in the Cold War Years (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015); and Cindy I-Fen Cheng, Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War (New York: New York University Press, 2014).

(27.) Madeline Y. Hsu, The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015); and Ellen D. Wu, The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2015). See also Rosalind S. Chou and Joe R. Feagin, The Myth of the Model Minority: Asian Americans Facing Racism (Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm Publishers, 2008).

(28.) The bylaws were introduced into the Congressional Record by Senator Hiram Fong. 93rd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (July 12, 1973), 23509.

(29.) A brief overview is Cherstin M. Lyon, "Japanese American Citizens League," Densho Encyclopedia, (accessed August 24, 2018).

(30.) There has been scant media coverage of this phenomenon. For one of the few articles extant, see John Pomfret, "The Split at the Heart of Chinese America," Sup China, June 14, 2017, For an explanation of the perspective of the new Chinese immigrants, see Rupert Li, "New Chinese Immigrants Are Different from Chinese Americans and Proud of It," Huffington Post, April 5, 2017, df98c.

(31.) Dan Walters, The New California: Facing the 21st Century (Sacramento: California Journal, 1986), 20. See also Mia Tuan, Forever Foreigners or Honorary Whites: The Asian Ethnic Experience (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1999).

(32.) See Claire Jean Kim, "The Racial Triangulation of Asian Americans," Politics & Society 27, no. I (March 1999): 105-38.

(33.) There is another parallel, the argument as to whether foreign-born Blacks (even if naturalized, or the immediate descendants of Black immigrants) and African Americans (of African American parents) are the same. At Cornell University in 2017, for example, there was a challenge to the inclusion of foreign-born Blacks in counts of African Americans. See Ifeyina Onyenekwu and Chrystal A. George Mwangi, '"Who Counts as a Black Student' Is Not a New Debate," Inside Higher Ed, November 27, 2017, debate-about-who-counts-black-student-not-new-essay.

(34.) June Junn and Natalie Masuoka, "Asian American Identity: Shared Racial Status and Political Context," Perspectives on Politics 6, no. 4 (December 2008): 729-40.

(35.) Pei-Te Lien and Jeanette Yih Harvie, "The Political Incorporation of Taiwanese Americans and Irish Americans Compared," Taiwan in Comparative Perspective 4 (December 2012): 128-53; and Office of Immigration Statistics, 2016 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2017), 10. In the 2010 Census the total population was 308.7 million. Asian Americans numbered 14.7 million, or 4.8 percent; an additional 2.6 million were mixed-race with some Asian ancestry, for a total of 17.3 million, or 5.6 percent. Chinese were 3.35 million and 4.01 million in combination with other backgrounds. Within that, there were 196,691 (one group reported) and 215,441 (one group or in combination) who self-identified as Taiwanese. Elizabeth Hoeffel et al, "The Asian Population: 2010," United States Census Bureau, pdf (accessed August 24, 2018). Official statistics, which reference the country from which an immigrant has arrived, are not reliable. According to the 1997 INS yearbook, for example, the China category included Taiwan as of 1957; Hong Kong was reported separately as of 1952. But in the 2016 yearbook, Taiwan and Hong Kong are listed separately. Whether someone from Taiwan identifies as Chinese or Taiwanese may involve or imply political choices. For a discussion of Taiwanese American identity, see Christine L. Lin, "What Impacts a Taiwanese American's Political Views," Chinese America: History & Perspectives (2017): 35-50.

(36.) The economic stratification among Asian Americans is the greatest for any racial group in the United States. Rakesh Kochnar and Anthony Cilluffo, "Income Inequality in the U.S. Is Rising Most Rapidly among Asians," Pew Research Center, July 12, 2018, The undocumented aspect of Chinese immigration is rarely discussed. See Peter Kwong, Forbidden Workers: Illegal Chinese Immigrants and American Labor (New York: New Press, 1998).

(37.) "How WeChat Spreads Rumors and Reaffirms Bias and Helped Elect Trump," WIRED, (accessed August 24, 2018). See also Jonah M. Kessel and Paul Mozur, "How China Is Changing Your Internet," New York Times, June 5, 2017, (accessed August 24, 2018); and Chi Zhang, "How Misinformation Spreads on WeChat," Columbia Journalism Review, October 30, 2017,

(38.) Kingling Lo, "Overseas Chinese 'Have a Role to Play,' in Building Political Trust Abroad for Belt and Road," South China Morning Post, August 24, 2018, -play-building-political.

(39.) Alexander Bowe, "China's Overseas United Front Work: Background and Implications for the United States," U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission Staff Research Report (Washington, D.C.: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2018),'s%200verseas%20United%20Front%20Work%20 %20Background%20and%201mplications%20for%20USJinal.pdf (accessed August 24, 2018). See also Anastasya Lloyd-Damnjanovic, A Preliminary Study of PRC Political Influence and Interference Activities in American Higher Education (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center, 2018),

(40.) A diaspora framing rather than immigrant framing is increasingly common. A synthesis is Wang Gungwu, The Chinese Overseas: From Earthbound China to the Quest for Autonomy, rev. ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002). See Hong Liu, ed., The Chinese Overseas, vols. 1-4 (London: Routledge, 2006); Lynn Pan, ed., The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999); Chee-Beng Tan, ed., Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Diaspora (London: Routledge, 2018); Ling-Chi Wang, The Chinese Diaspora: Selected Essays, vols. 1-2 (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 1998); and Min Zhou, ed., Contemporary Chinese Diaspora (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2017). See also Shelly Chan, Diaspora's Homeland: Modern China in the Age of Global Migration (Durham, NC: Duke University Press); Laurence J. C. Ma, The Chinese Diaspora: Space, Place, Mobility, and Identity (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002); and Elizabeth Sinn, ed., The Last Century of the Chinese Overseas (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1998).

(41.) See Vanessa L. Fong, Paradise Redefined: Transnational Chinese Students and the Quest for Flexible Citizenship in the Developed World (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2011); and Robert Guest, Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges, and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism (New York: St. Martin's Press/Griffin, 2013). See also "Plight of the Sea Turtles," Economist, July 6, 2013,

(42.) Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, "The Chinese Communist Party Is Setting Up Cells at Universities across America," Foreign Policy, April 18, 2018, -cells-at-universities-across-america-china-students-beijing-suiveillance/; and Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, "China Built an Army of Influence Agents in the U.S.," Daily Beast, July 18, 2018, See generally Hong Liu, "New Migrants and the Revival of Overseas Chinese Nationalism," Journal of Contemporary China 14, no. 43 (2005): 291-316. See also Harry Krejsa and Anthony Cho, "Is Beijing Adopting an Ethnonationalist Foreign Policy?," Foreign Affairs, October 23, 2017, beijing-adopting-ethnonationalist-foreign-policy.

(43.) Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, reprint ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 2011); and Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America (New York: Penguin Books, 2015). Chua is not the only author in this vein. See Soo Kim Abboud and Jane Kim, Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers--and How You Can Too (New York: Berkley Books, 2005).

(44.) Kate Linthicum, "Meet the Chinese American Immigrants Who Are Supporting Donald Trump," Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2016. See also "Chinese-Americans Are Becoming Politically Active: A Long-Slumbering Voter Block Awakes," Economist, January 19, 2017, -politically-active.

(45.) John Eligon, "They Left China to Chase the American Dream. Now They're Fighting Affirmative Action," New York Times, August 9, 2018.

(46.) Bill Turque, "These First-Generation Chinese Americans Are Vigorously Opposing Sanctuary Laws," Washington Post, March 20, 2017.

(47.) Terry S. Tepper and May Tung, Chinese Americans and Their Immigrant Parents: Conflict, Identity, and Values (London: Routledge, 2000). See also Vivian S. Louie, Compelled to Excel: Immigration, Education, and Opportunity among Chinese Americans (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2004).

(48.) For a sampling of opinion, see Jon Caspian Kang, "How Should Asian-Americans Feel about the Peter Liang Protests," New York Times, February 23, 2016; Julia Carrie Wong, "'Scapegoated?' The Police Killing That Left Asian Americans Angry--and Divided," Guardian, April 18, 2016, https://www.theguardian.eom/world/2016/apr/18/peter-liang-akai-gurley-killing-asian-american-response; and Alex T. Tom and Alix Manko Webb, "Chinese Americans Want NYPD Officer Peter Liang Held Accountable, Too," Nation, April 13, 2016,

(49.) Shereen Marisol Meraji and Kat Chow, "A Letter from Young Asian Americans to Their Families about Black Lives Matter," National Public Radio, July 27, 2016, a-letter-from-young-asian-americans-to-their-families-about-black-lives-matter. A humorous version of the generational conflict is presented in Jimmy O. Yang, How to American: An Immigrant's Guide to Disappointing Your Parents (Boston: DeCapo Press, 2018).

(50.) Frank Shyong, "At L.A. Gun Store. Chinese Immigrants Exercise an Unfamiliar Right to Bear Anns," Los Angeles Times, December 31, 2016, http://www.latimes.comnocalnanowna-me-headlines-chinese-gun-store-20161228-story.html.

(51.) Christian Collet and Pei-Te Lien, The Transnational Politics of Asian Americans (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009). An earlier distinction was made by Robert Blauner between "colonized" and "immigrant" minorities. It may be that native-born Asian Americans are the former, while the Chinese diaspora is the latter. See Robert Blauner, "Colonized and Immigrant Minorities," in Ronald Takaki, ed., From Different Shores: Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 149-60.

(52.) Natalie Masuoka et al., "Understanding the Asian American Vole in the 2016 Election," Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics 3, Special Issue I (March 2018): 189-215. In general, see Janelle Wong et al., Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and Their Political Identities (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2011). See also Andrew L. Aoki and Okiyoshi Takeda, Asian American Politics (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2009); and Don T. Nakanishi and James S. Lai, Asian American Politics: Law, Participation, and Policy (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002). Earlier works, still useful, are Pei-Te Lien, The Making of Asian America through Political Participation (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001); and Pei-Te Lien et al. The Politics of Asian Americans (New York: Routledge 2004). A case study of Chinese and Mexican immigrants in New York and Los Angeles, as these phenomena were beginning, is Janelle Wong, Democracy's Promise: Immigrants and American Civic Institutions (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008).

A scholarly, online repository of data is the National Asian American Survey, -american-voting/ (accessed August 24, 2018). A report by the reputable FiveThirtyEight website, based on that database, is Dhrumil Mehta and Jennifer Kanjana, "Asian-American Voters Are Diverse But Unified against Donald Trump," October 10, 2016, -are-diverse-but-unified-against-donald-trump/. An exit poll with geographic limitations is Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Asian American Vote 2016, (accessed August 24, 2018).

(53.) Karthick Ramakrishnan, "How Asian Americans Became Democrats," American Prospect, July 26, 2016, See also Cecilia Hyunjung Mo, "Why Asian Americans Don't Vote Republican," Conversation, November 2, 2015, and Alexander Kuo et al., "Why Are Asian Americans Democrats?" Politico Magazine, March 18, 2014,

(54.) Masuoka, "Understanding the Asian American Vote," 199-205.

(55.) See John Yoo, "Betrayed Asian-Americans Should Turn Their Backs on Democrats," Chicago Tribune, June 26, 2018; and Tevi D. Troy and Lanhee J. Chen, "The Mystery of Jewish and Asian-American Democratic Loyalty," Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2016. See also Chris Fuchs, "Before Obama, Asian Americans Voted Republican. The GOP Wants to Bring Them Back," NBC News, May 15, 2018, -gop-wants-bring-them-back-n873401.

(56.) There are many authors who doubt the value of identity-based organizing. For one such critique, see Walter Benn Michaels, The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality, anniversary ed. (London: Picador, 2016).
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Author:Wu, Frank H.
Publication:Chinese America: History and Perspectives
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2018
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