Congressional Gold Medal for WWII Chinese American Veterans Initiative

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Although the Chinese American community has always strived to be good citizens, history has shown that they have not been treated fairly and need to let their Congressional leaders know that their service to our country needs to be recognized. Like many minorities, Chinese Americans overcame discrimination to serve their country bravely and honorably and we need to encourage the Congress to act favorably on this proposal to commemorate the service of these Chinese American veterans. 

 

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[NEW YORK, Oct. 6, 2017] — The Committee of 100 (C100), an organization of leading Chinese Americans, urges the 115th United States Congress to pass the Chinese American World War II Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Act (H.R. 2358/S.1050), and award the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the Chinese American Veterans of World War II in recognition of their dedicated service during the war.

Introduced in the House and Senate on May 4, 2017, the Chinese American WWII Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Act has received bipartisan sponsorship (Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ted Lieu (D-CA) were the original lead co-sponsors in the House (H.R.2358), and Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Thad Cochran (R-MS) were the lead co-sponsors in the Senate (S.1050)), and is awaiting additional Congressional sponsors.

C100 commends Representatives Royce and Lieu, and Senators Duckworth and Cochran, along with other Members of Congress who have subsequently signed on as co-sponsors, for their leadership in recognizing the military contributions of Chinese American servicemen and women who volunteered or were drafted at a time when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was still in effect.  Despite ongoing anti-Chinese sentiment at that time, more than 13,000 Chinese Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II and sacrificed for their country in the face of discrimination and injustice.

During this time, Chinese Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces in all theaters of war, including at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Guadalcanal, and Solomon Islands in the Pacific Theater, and on all fronts of the European and African Theaters.  The 14th Air Service Group, an all-Chinese American unit assigned to the 14th Air Force (Flying Tigers) under the command of General Claire Chennault in the China-Burma-India Theater helped provide transportation, supplies and and communications support at a critical time during the war.  Chinese American women also demonstrated skills, loyalty and patriotism in the Women’s Army Corps, the Army Air Force, and the U.S. Naval Reserve Women’s Reserve.  Altogether, Chinese Americans were crucial to the success of the war effort.

“As an organization committed to the full inclusion of Chinese Americans in American society, it is important for us to acknowledge and salute the role that previous generations of Chinese Americans have played,” says Frank H. Wu, chairman of C100.  Despite discrimination and rejection, the unwavering commitment, sacrifice, and patriotism shown by the WWII Chinese American veterans helped pave the way for today’s Chinese Americans, including many of our members, to be integrated into mainstream America after World War II.”

The Committee of 100 also urges all Chinese Americans to contact their Congressional representatives to co-sign and support the House (H.R. 2358) and Senate (S.1050) bills, both of which require two-thirds support of Congress in order to be considered.  The Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress, has been awarded in recent years to other World War II units that have been overlooked, including Native American code talkers, the Monuments Men, and Filipino WWII Vets.

After the 115th Session of Congress, the Congressional Gold Medal will no longer be awarded to groups.  “There is urgency on the part of all stakeholders to encourage this Congress to act expeditiously,” Wu continues.  “Many of the Chinese American veterans of World War II have already passed away, and many of the surviving veterans are in their 90s.  We owe our veterans a great debt that is difficult to repay.  The least we can do is to recognize and honor their achievements and sacrifices.”

 

The Committee of 100 is an international, non-partisan leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, and the arts. For over 25 years, the Committee has been committed to a dual mission of promoting the full participation of Chinese Americans in all fields of American life, and encouraging constructive relations between the peoples of the United States and Greater China. www.committee100.org.

 

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