On June 18, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to acknowledge that the Chinese Exclusion laws (1882-1943) were unjust and discriminatory. House Resolution 683 expressed “the regret of the House of Representatives for the passage of laws that adversely affected the Chinese in the United States, including the Chinese Exclusion Act.” The Senate passed a similar bill, Resolution 201, in October 2011. C-100 Executive Director Angie Tang observed the historic vote.
The Committee of 100 issued a statement following the Resolution’s passage commending Congress “for having the courage to acknowledge its past legislative errors. C-100 applauds the role of lawmakers in the passage of both measures in the House and Senate, particularly the steadfast commitment of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Scott Brown and Congresswoman Judy Chu.” C-100 Chairman Dominic Ng recognized the Committee’s proud role in the 1882 Project Steering Committee, which has spearheaded the legislative and community outreach. He thanked Committee of 100 members, especially Michael Lin, whose legislative and community outreach exemplified C-100’s emphasis on public diplomacy.
H.Res. 683 is a concise historical review of more than sixty years of legislation targeting Chinese solely because of their ethnicity. Watch the proceedings on C-SPAN, which feature House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith who brought the resolution to the House floor, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus members Rep. Chu, Rep. Mike Honda, and Rep. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega.
Following the historic vote, Chu described the significance of this resolution in addressing “deep scars in the Chinese American community.” For six decades, Chu’s grandfather, like many other Chinese Americans, was excluded from participating in American political life. “We must finally and formally acknowledge these ugly laws that were incompatible with America’s founding principles. We must express the sincere regret that Chinese Americans deserve.”