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A Chronology of Chinese-Americans


The decade of 1930-1940 reveals a decrease of Chinese males and a rapid increase of females in the United States. Of 77,504 in 1940, there are 57,389 males and 20,115 females.

There are twenty-eight cities in the United States having Chinatowns, the number of which has decreased. Some old Chinatowns, founded by miners and railroad laborers in early days, disappear when they move out.

All Chinese commercial radio program is broadcast on April 22 by KSAN in San Francisco. Thomas Tong of the Golden Star Radio Company is the director and the sponsor.

Among many Chinese artists in the United States, Kingman Dong is comparatively better known. The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquires its first Dong painting.


Twenty-four Chinese are debarred from landing.


Congress passes an act to repeal the Chinese Exclusion Acts to establish quotas. The act establishes an annual Chinese immigration quota of 105. This figure is one-sixth of one percent of the number of the Chinese in the United States in 1920 as determined by the census of that year.

There are 78,000 Chinese in the United States. When the Chinese exclusion Acts are fully enforced, the number of departed Chinese is 37,738 more than the immigrants during the period 1908-1943.

The Yale Institute of Far Eastern Languages is founded, focusing on teaching Chinese language and culture.

Wilbur Carl Sze is commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on December 15.


Edward Bing Kan of Chicago is granted citizenship on January 18. He is interpreter of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.

K. C. Li, one of the most successful Chinese industrialists in the United States, establishes the Li Foundation, providing fellowships to students working for advanced degrees.

Ko-kwei Chen, research director of the Lilly Company since 1929, is awarded the Certificate of Merit by the American Medical Association.


In spite of the repeal of the Chinese exclusion acts, Chinese quota immigrants to the United States in the ensuing decade are generally below one hundred as selected by the American government. There are, however, non-quota immigrants. More Chinese scholars comes to the United States, on an average of about 137 each year in comparison with 10 per year during the previous decade.

The Hung Man Ming Chi party is established as a result of the reorganization of the Chee Kung Tong, a politically influential organization of the Chinese community in the United States.


Subsequent to the War Bride Act of December 28, 1945, Congress passes a bill enabling wives and children of Chinese-American citizens to apply as non-quota immigrants.

Chih Tsang, a close associate of K.P.Ch'en, a successful financier in China, and secretary-general of the Universal Trading Corporation from 1942 to 1945, establishes the China Trade & Industrial Service, Inc. It exports machinery and other goods to China in the postwar period to meet the need for her recovery and reconstruction.

Wing F. Ong is elected to the Arizona state legislature. He is the first American of Chinese descent to sit in a state legislature.

By the end of 1946, there are fourteen Chinese dailies out of ninety-five foreign language newspapers in the United States.


The number of Chinese immigrants to the United States drastically increased this year. The total number was 1,128, most of whom came on non-quota basis.

Remittances from overseas Chinese has long helped the Chinese government to offset China's unfavorable trade balance. The amount sent by the Chinese in the United States during the period of China's full-scale war with Japan and two postwar years (1938-1947) reaches seventy million dollars, largely to their families and relatives in China.

Eddie Gong, a grandson of a Chinese immigrant in laundry business, is named "Boy President of the U.S.A.," and warmly received by President Harry S. Truman at an American Legion ceremony in Washington, D.C. He is then a high school student, and later graduates from Harvard University.


The Displaced Persons Act provides some relief to the Chinese already in the United States, who are able to change their status under stipulated conditions. This act is later amended, and eventually expired on June 30, 1954.

Elected to the legislature of Hawaii in 1938, Hiram Fong is elevated to the position of speaker of the House.

Wing F. Ong is re-elected to the Arizona state legislature.


This year marked the communist conquest of China's mainland. There are 2,490 Chinese coming to the United States. Because of the domestic development in China many Chinese students remain in this country even after completion of their studies. According to "a Survey of Chinese Students in American Universities and Colleges in the Past One Hundred Years," prepared by the National Tsing Hua University Research Fellowship Fund and China Institute in America (published in New York, 1954), the total number of these students reaches 3,914 in the academic year 1948-1949, an all-time high.


The second Displaced Persons Act gives Chinese in the United States further relief for adjustment of their status.

According to the 1950 census, the total number of Chinese in the United States, including Hawaii, reaches 150,005.

Betty Lee Sung, author of Mountain of Gold, finds an example of flagrant discrimination in a government agency. The division chief of that agency frankly tells her that he wants an American not a Chinese-American to head its section dealing with Far Eastern affairs.

Jade Snow Wong's Fifth Chinese Laughter is published. It is a fascinating and perceptive memoir written by a young Chinese-American, who vividly describes her early life and family tradition in San Francisco.


An Wang starts his Wang Laboratories with $600 on Boston's Columbus Avenue into a $3 billion computer power house. He dies in 1990 at age 70.

Violinist Si-hon Ma, husband of pianist Kwong-kwong Tung, is a recipient of the Heifetz Award at Tanglewood.

Chinese American Civic Council is founded.


The Sino-American Amity, a non-political organization, is founded in New York by Paul Cardinal Yu Pin. To foster a better understanding and a closer friendly relationship between the Chinese and American peoples, it has offered educational, cultural, and social programs of wide scope.

Mrs. Toy Len Goon of Maine is chosen America's "Mother of the Year." Mrs. Truman confers this title upon her in Washington, D.C. After the death of her husband in 1940, she raises her eight children by operating a small laundry. They all receive higher education and pursue successful careers in different professions.

When the Immigration and Nationality Law (McCarran-Walter Act) is in effect, it removes inequality against Chinese women, who are previously not entitled to the same privileges under non-quota status as Chinese men. Like the 1924 act, it still upholds the national-origin quota, which, in effect, is discriminatory against the Chinese and other peoples from the Asia-Pacific area. From the enactment of the 1952 act up to the end of 1960, however, 27,502 Chinese immigrants were admitted to the United States.


The Refugee Relief Act of 1953 later amended expires at the end of 1956, apportioned 2,000 for Chinese out of a total of 205,000 non-quota immigrants.

The Air Force announces a new electronic tube producing radar power of four million watts developed by Chao-Chen Wang of the Sperry Gyroscope Company and his associate, C. E. Rich.


There are 2,747 Chinese who arrive in the United States, more than twice the number of any other year from l950 to 1953. Many of them come as refugees.

Because of the participation of the People's Republic of China in the Korean War, the United States government issues a restraining order under which Chinese scholars with technical knowledge which might be beneficial to an enemy country are not permitted to leave the United States. A group of twenty-six Chinese students petition to the President of the United States, urging him to revoke that order.

Phi Tau Phi Scholastic Honor Society, established in China in 1921, is separately organized in the United States with three regional chapters (East America, Mid-America, and West America). The organizaiton is formally incorporated in 1972 in New York.

According to a survey conducted by the China Institute in America, there are sixty-four Chinese Scholars teaching Chinese history, culture, and language at different American universities and colleges.

Upon the request of the State Department, Kingman Dong, a noted painter, represents the United States as a special cultural envoy to the Orient and later other parts of the world.

Under a sensational headline, "China Mathematician Solves Firm's Dilemma," The Philadelphia Inquirer on November 1 reported how Peter Pei-chi Chow solves the vibration problem for the Bearing Products Company of Philadelphia.

The United Board for Christian Colleges in China, with headquarters in New York, sends Theodore Hsi-en Chen, head of the department of Asian Studies of the University of Southern California, to Taiwan as its representative to help establish the Tunghai University on the island.


According to a survey made by Peter Sih, only sixteen cities in the United States have China towns, a decrease of twelve in fifteen years.

According to a report released by the United Council of Christian Churches, there are sixty-six Protestant churches, including four in Hawaii.

Kuan H. Sun, a noted writer on physics and holder of approximately fifty patents, becomes the manager of the Westinghouse radiation and nucleonics laboratory.

James Wong Howe has long been the highest paid cameraman in Hollywood. For the superb effects in filming "The Rose Tattoo," he wins another Oscar for cinematography.

Seventy-six Chinese intellectuals leave the United States for mainland China.


Chih Tsang, founder of China Trade & Industrial Service, Inc., establishes the New World Research Corporation, which has been conducting business with some forty countries.

The Refugee Relief Act of 1953 expires on December 31


The Nobel Prize for physics is awarded to two scientists of Chinese descent, Chen-ning Yang, member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and Tsung-dao Lee, Professor of Physics at Columbia University respectively. They jointly discover a new order of universe that shatters the "Principle of the Conservation of Parity."

According to a survey made by the Advisory Committee on Cultural Relations in America, there are 219 educational institutions in the United States offering some courses on China, and only 127 students majoring in Chinese studies.

C. Y. Lee publishes his first novel, The Flower Drum Song describing the life of the Chinatown in San Francisco.


The American Association of Teachers of Chinese Language and Culture (AATCLC) is established under the sponsorship of Chi-pao Cheng, who becomes its first executive secretary. It has now a membership of over four hundred scholars from different universities and colleges in the United States.

Chen-ning Yang and Tsung-dao Lee have discovered a new order of universe and won the Nobel Physics Prize in the preceding year. It is Chienshiung Wu, professor of physics at Columbia University, who conducts their experiments. In recognition of her important contributions to experimental physics, Princeton University Confers on her an honorary doctorate in science, its first one to a woman.


Delbert E. Wong is appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown to a municipal bench in Los Angeles. He is the first Chinese-American to become a judge.

In Hawaii, Hiram L. Fong, speaker of the house of the state legislature, is elected United States Senatetor. A Republican, Fong is the first senator from Hawaii, where the Democrats have held predominant influence.

Congress passes an act on September 22 under which more Chinese on the quota waiting list are granted non-quota status.

The number of Chinese coming to the United States reaches 6,031.

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