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You In Chinese, the United States of America means a beautiful country.
They talk about democracy, they talk about freedom. But as soon as I enter this so-called beautiful country, my whole experience is just the opposite. The Communist Party on a worldwide campaign. They are seeking to weaken America. Their goal is the overthrow of our government. Are you a member of the Communist Party? Or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? I was delivered with a piece of paper and what it was was it was a subpoena to appear before the State Department loyalty board. They had pictures with people in it and asked me to identify each of these people as to whether I knew them or not. And how did they stand in relation to the point of view of China? Apparently some statements I had made were quoted to the FBI by someone because when I was told these statements, I was quite startled that they had somehow made their way into the files. They will stop you on the street, you know, just harass you, ask all sorts of questions, push around.
This has become a daily part of our lives, you know, in China, during that time. During the height of the Cold War of the 1950s, as fear of communism abroad spiraled into anti-communist hysteria at home, many Chinese Americans became the targets of fear and suspicion. They were hunted down, jailed, and targeted for deportation. The terror they faced left an indelible mark on the Chinese American community. After a half a century of silence, some are speaking up for the first time. That was born in Chinatown, in Chinese hospital on Jackson Street. We grew up to five of us in two rooms.
If I remember correctly, we had five bathrooms, five toilets for 22 families. I mean, it really was in retrospect rather poor circumstances, but if you grew up with this and everyone else lived the same way, you really didn't know. Well, I was born here in San Francisco and then I grew up in Oakland. I was in a black community and my dad had a grocery store there. I remember that we all had to chip in as a family to make a living. My parents wanted to keep my interest in China. They thought if I ever became a doctor, I would go back to China and be in the faculty of a medical school. And be practicing actually over there. So they wanted to keep my interest in China to know what's happening. When I was a little girl, you never heard English spoken until you went to junior high school.
We never heard English at all. We did our shopping, the day-to-day activities of life was all done in Chinese. I grew up in a small town in the Minnesota border called Albert Lee, Minnesota. I think many American born at that time was a banana, white on the outside and white on the inside, wanting very much to be part of the mainstream. But also, you know, in that whole identity search, looking for what I am, your roots, that kind of thing.
We were aware of certain prejudices. We were aware that we have a language handicap. We also seem to have to work longer hours to make a living. And for those of us who are younger, we have to study harder and spend more time in school. Up until 1882, the United States was a country that was open to all immigrants. The only people that were excluded were prostitutes, lepers and morons. And in 1882, Chinese got added to that list. We encountered problems. You know, kids were chases because we were Chinese.
There was a name calling. Certain shops, if you went in, you were made to feel that your patronage was not welcome. This simply wouldn't wait on you. The fact that we are Chinese today is an indication of the kind of institutional racism that was, you know, started way back in the 19th century. In the 1960s, there were a lot of people who knew about it. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. We were very close to the Buddha. We were in the same age as the Buddha. Because I grew up in a small town, I never really faced discrimination.
We were treated like pets. I don't know if that's good or bad, but we were treated like we were special. Barred from citizenship and unable to assimilate, Chinese immigrants tried to build a life in a country where they were not accepted or welcomed. As a result, the Chinese community remained close-knit and insular. Children went to Chinese school. Many never learned to speak English. Most Chinese cherished hopes of returning to their homeland. A dream tempered by memories of the harsh realities they left behind. My experience, when I was a little boy in China, was that, you know, baby died every day, but it doesn't. People start to die every day.
Every day, and my own childhood friend, who was only eight-year-old girl, got very alive. But the landlord just because she was so hungry and stole one tiny sweet potato from the landlord. And this kind of situation that I experienced when I was in China as a little boy. In 1937, the world watched passively as the Imperial Japanese Army unleashed a campaign of terror and destruction in China. News of one brutal atrocity after another came over the wires, intensifying Chinese Americans' concern and anxiety for their homeland. They scrambled for ways to help. They started community newspapers, wrote impassioned editorials, and raised money for ambulances to be sent to China.
At parades and rallies, they called for the United States to come to China's aid. Four years later, the United States finally entered the war when the Japanese bombed the US naval base at Pearl Harbor. Chinese Americans from coast to coast, signed up to fight on the battlefields and on the home front. In 1943, Chinese immigrants were finally rewarded with the right to become American citizens, along with all other immigrant groups. At war's end, the country looked forward to a new prosperity, but for Chinese Americans, events in China would soon cast a shadow on their newly won freedoms.
There was a division in China. There was a very corrupt government led by the KMT Party, headed by Chantai Shik, and there was also an emerging movement of Chinese Communist Party, that by Mao Zedong, as soon as the Second World War was over, the civil war broke out almost immediately. Within the Chinese community, clearly there was division. The business people tend to follow the marching order of Chantai Shik government, but working class people in China town, however, identify themselves with the Chinese Communist movement, not that they are communist, but they thought that the Chinese movement seemed to represent a new idea, a new vision for a new China that would be very modern, very democratic, and very egalitarian about war.
I came to the United States in 1948, when I was 15 years old, with my father. Right after that, I began to involve myself with an organization called Manchink, which is in English. This is China's American Democratic Club, or the only progressive organization in San Francisco. I was at that point, pretty interested in the stronger China. I was interested in the China that is respected in the world. You talk about a China where you have a fair deal for everybody, try to solve the problems of hunger, poverty, and so forth. That day and age is a very, very appealing goal to meet. It seems to me, with the corruption that I see in the common-down government, that this is the one way the China would be strong.
Most of the activities in the club, the Manchink was like education committees, social committees, and news committees, which means that we involve a lot of activities, particularly that is interested to the young people. When I first made contact with Manchink, I found that I had met a lot of Chinese Americans I could relate to, in that I had a pretty good knowledge and awareness of 20th century Chinese history, and they were just terribly Chinese. I felt that I wanted to come back to China to practice. I felt I was also one way for me to sort of strengthen my Chinese, which I had totally ignored, and I thought that was a good group to sort of practice with.
I didn't speak the language and cultural wise, it was really a very difficult thing for me to cope. As a youngster, you were looking for companions, you were looking for friendship, so I think that Manchink had been giving that all to me. Mao Zai Deng promised to build a new society free of the feudalism and corruption that had long plagued China. Chinese Americans were inspired by this idealism and wanted to learn more about the change in events. We were all concerned about what was happening in China, what the new leaders are thinking about as to how they could improve China.
We sympathized with China, actually the new China had what new hope for the people. In 1949, the People's Liberation Army swept into Beijing, finally bringing an end to the war. At the top of the gate of heavenly peace, Mao Zai Deng proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China. Mao Zai Deng was the leader of the People's Republic of China. Mao Zai Deng was the leader of the People's Republic of China.
Mao Zai Deng was the leader of the People's Republic of China, and Mao Zai Deng was the leader of the People's Republic of China. Mao Zai Deng was the leader of the People's Republic of China, and Mao Zai Deng was the leader of the People's Republic of China. While the revolution represented hope to many, to the United States government, it symbolized a growing communist threat. While the revolution represented hope to many, to the United States government, it symbolized a growing communist threat.
The United States became very suspicious of not only the Chinese movement in China, but also the possibility of, you know, sympathizers within the Chinese American community. And so the struggle between these two forces within the community began to surface. I was one of the few teenagers that attend the October 1st celebration in 1949. It was quite an occasion to remember, because the whole atmosphere in China time was so excited because of that. You know, people didn't care, you know, what would happen to them. They never thought about, you know, that they came to people, made an attack or whatever. The women down parties, told men to come in and pick up the meeting.
They were really determined to hold this as their turf. At the next morning, in every temple in Chinatown, there was a black, black list that they wanted to kill this group of people. I think that the United States was their last hope for perpetuating their power. And one of the most important strategy for ensuring American support of the Taiwan dictatorship headed by Shanghai Shake was to make sure that the Chinese community here is uniformly in support of Taiwan government. By 1950, it was clear that the United States would side with Shanghai Shake's defeated army exiled in Taiwan and would not recognize the newly formed government in China. People were always asked, I know students were asked, you know, what part of China are you Communist China or are you Junkai Shake Chinese?
Mayday brings a wave of anti-communist sentiment. There's 100,000 march down New York Fifth Avenue in a loyalty parade. The Communist Party of the United States is a fifth column if they ever was one. Under J Edgar Hoover, the FBI took up the task of ferriting out and ridding the United States of Communists and their supporters. But it was Senator Joseph McCarthy who came to symbolize America's anti-communist witch hunts. Joseph McCarthy was a senator from Wisconsin, not a particularly distinguished senator, who hopped on the anti-communist bandwagon fairly late in the development of this movement that then he gave his name to by accusing the Democratic administration in the beginning of 1950 of harboring Communists. You are, of course, one of the most controversial figures we've had in the Senate in a long time.
And you have the distinction of having coined a new word for the dictionary, namely McCarthyism. Now, how do you define McCarthyism? We're putting it the way one columnist did the other day said, frankly, McCarthyism means calling a man a communist who is later proven to be one. Just at the moment, he sort of burst on the scene a few months later the Korean War began and that really gave him legitimacy. Then it happened. The Chinese red armies, numbering hundreds of thousands, swarmed over the frontier against thinly hailed United Nations positions. At the White House in Washington, top defense officials of the nation gathered to discuss the greatest world crisis in Poland and Pearl Harbor. The flagrant aggression of Chinese communist troops in Korea arouses the country's eye. With the North Korean bandits well under control and with the promise that UN troops would be withdrawn, the unexpected entry of 300,000 red Chinese across the Manchurian border may well precipitate World War III.
If aggression is successful in Korea, we can expect it to spread throughout Asia and Europe and to this hemisphere. We are fighting in Korea for our own national security and survival. A trade embargo was imposed to cut China off from the rest of the world. You could not get Chinese goods. You never saw Chinese books. You never saw anything in Chinatown made in China unless it was made before the war. Am I the war? I mean World War II. We did not recognize the government in Beijing. You weren't allowed to travel. China was treated very much the way Iraq is being treated today as an outlaw nation. So that Chinese Americans who were sympathetic to China were also viewed as being tainted. Now the common dog has upper hand. With the hand-high commerce hysteria that's already quite evident in this country, then the situation becomes more and more difficult for the left.
And within the next few years, the old left organization were gradually all destroyed. The FBI was concerned with any possible threat to the security of the United States from the people's Republic of China, which at that time considered an enemy because of the fighting that had taken place in Korea. Now a problem did arise in Chinatown for some Chinese who had associated themselves with groups that were reported to be acting on behalf of the Chinese communists. And as I made more and more contacts in the San Francisco Chinatown, I received more and more reports of individuals that were reported to me as agents of the Chinese People's Republic. I guess almost 12 months into my stay in Korea, I had a visit from the G2 department and G2 intelligence division.
And visit me at my compound, expressing some concern that I never told them that I belong to this Chinese-American Democratic youth league. They asked me about what was going on as far as that club was concerned, what kind of activities, who were the leaders, was I aware of any communist agent in it, and who said what at what time? And the question was ask of me, you know, because I was in Korea right across the 38th parallel, and what would happen if North Korea came down and attacked us? I said, I'm in the Army, I'll fight. I'd heard a lot of rumors, you know, that they were fixing up the concentration camps, but the Chinese and my kid brother came any one day and he was really scared, and I said, what's the matter? And you know, I'm going to change my name to Wango Mito. I'm going to be Japanese because I've heard all of that, but I really, maybe it was stupid, I didn't think it was going to touch us. Are you a member of the Communist Party, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?
It's unfortunate and tragic that I have to teach this committee, the basic principles of Americanism. Question is, have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? The loyalty hearings had a chilling effect on political dissent, as thousands were called up for interrogation. The mere accusation of being called a communist was enough to destroy someone's life. So people who were liberal, were suddenly had to, had to either turn people in or had to go underground. In New York, Chinatown, you have this newspaper called the China Daily News, founded by the laundromat, and created established as a newspaper in opposition to all the other newspaper by the World War Control, totally controlled by the Shanghai Shake Government in the KMD Party.
And this group also became the target. This particular newspaper is going to play a very strong, important role by educating the Chinese in Chinatown to be able to understand what exactly is happening in China. And this newspaper is become suspected as Chinese Communist agents. The United States government sought to silence the newspaper's pro-China views. With the Trading with the Enemy Act, the government found a legal justification to suspend freedom of speech and shut down the press. What it did was it criminalized the particular act, which was very common in every immigrant community, of sending money back to the folks at home. And within the Chinese American community, a lot of people were sending money back to people in China.
Well, once the Korean War began, that was, could be seen technically as, quote, unquote, trading with the enemy. Certainly at the beginning, it was ample justification for it. When you see the Korean War, the memorial, you'll realize, you know, what we went through, and what were our casualties in that war. Wasn't it a very heavy 50,000, I think, if I remember correctly? So yes, I think it made sense. It made sense. The editor of the newspaper was arrested for receipts.
The editor of the newspaper was arrested for receipts. He was arrested for receipts. The editor of the newspaper was arrested for receiving $150 for placing ads. Three laundry workers were arrested for sending money home to their families in China. As in charge of enforcement, I obviously was looking for any transactions that were taking place without authorization from the Treasury. It became very similar to the controls that we had in World War II against Germany and Japan. 42 years ago, I think it is. I was retained by three Chinese laundry workers to defend them in a case that had the title of the United States of America against the China Daily News.
And Tom Song and Chen Gong and Hong Ming, those were the three men I represented. As the government tried to prove that the three Chinese laundry workers were sending money home to China for a long time to their families and their loved ones were trading with the enemy. Ridiculous, but that's what they said. And the enemy of the United States, basically China, was getting very, very substantial assistance in the Chinese community, which they could use in a way that was not in the interest of the United States or the Chinese community. Now, they had a press conference in which the government agencies claim that there was a plan and extensive conspiracy to siphon money to communist China that involved murder and bribery and all kinds of terrible crimes. This was the climate that the government created and then admitted in court that there was no such thing.
We have in my record where Judge Ryan said there is no proof of any such conspiracy here. Why do they choose these laundry men? I was part of the build-up of terrorizing people, of intimidating people. They chose these men who were defenseless, they'd have no lawyers who didn't hide what they had done, who committed no crime as far as they're concerned them or far as unconcerned them or now. Well, because they could get away with it and became clear that this case was not only intended to demonize these three men because there were Chinese and there's a racist quality in this, but also was intended, I believe, to intimidate the American people. I was shocked when so best to Ryan sentenced them to six months in prison.
Six months in prison. I had all I could do to contain myself. There are many testimonies like this and many others, including the vida rights restraining people. during World War II, forced children to battarious combat fourteen years ago. As a Fallshub, we have two friends in total, There will be three friends at the same time. But all of the newspapers contributors and its 6,500 subscribers were investigated.
In this climate of fear, few spoke out about their experiences. But the poet Tang Pak Jin later chronicled his life during the McCarthy era. We are very private people as a result of what has happened. I'm old now and my children have their own lives. My name is Tong Pak Jin. I was born in Guangdong, China and came to America at the age of 19 to make money to support my family back home. I purchased my paper credentials in the Chinese black market, certifying that I was the son of a native.
After three days of interrogation in a dingy little room at the Boston immigration house, I walked away a US citizen. I learned to iron shirts in two months and was hired out at $8 a week. In the laundry, I never got more than five hours sleep. I started to learn English on my own. I started writing poetry soon after the war using the name Li Bing Chang. I wanted to make a name for myself as a poet. I wrote about war, world affairs, current events, and the China Daily News published them all. But when the McCarthy era started, my whole life changed. The FBI looked at me and addressed me Li Bing Chang. I laughed and said, I'm Tong Pak Jin.
They questioned me again. Do you write poetry? Do you use the name Li Bing Chang? Are you a communist? Why do you subscribe to the China Daily News? They think they ask the same questions over and over. They can catch you off guard and trip you up. Family pressure was overwhelming. My wife once yelled to me, why don't you go back to China? She even threatened to leave me. I don't know where she would have gone, but she never left me. Other friends were not so lucky. I stopped writing and burnt over 300 poems. But even so, the FBI continued to haunt me. I can't hold back the tears as I watch my life's work go up in flames. The communists are embarked on a worldwide campaign
to capture and manipulate the vital force which youth represents. In the next few minutes, you will see that the communists effectively use their growing capabilities to gain and will control over young people. How did they get our picture? That's very easy. When you're on the picnic, you know, they could snap your picture anyway. Or you're on the street, they could snap your picture. The FBI got its information through a whole bunch of different ways. One thing they did was they relied on informants, on people who were within the organizations, who they would often pay to give them information. They also planted bugs and wiretaps on people's phones. They often broke into offices and of these left-wing organizations.
These were what they called black bag jobs. And they took their cameras and would break into these offices in the middle of the night, a photograph of all the files, especially the mailing lists and membership lists and things like that. They spent a lot of money for nothing. I will tell you that. Because Monting was never really on this. Attorney General is the first of the list. And, you know, some of the people might support the PRC, but then they're not trying to subvert the American government. The FBI really just don't like the organization, the way it thinks. And even now, people from Monting who are trying to get the citizenship as well, the same question is still coming up. Monting was only one of many Chinese American organizations
harassed and persecuted during the McCarthy era. When it came to the question of loyalty, Chinese Americans were viewed as enemy aliens. Eleanor Wong Telemac was a member of the Chinese Student Christian Association. Well, I was working for the UNESCO Relations staff, which is part of the Department of State. And this was all in the early 50s. And what had happened was, was that, probably I was very stupid about doing that, because in a way I was asking for it, I went and applied for a job with the Voice of America at the time, because I really wanted to go to China. And what they told me was, was that, fine, I had all the credentials, and I would hear from them. I really didn't think too much about it. But one day I was sitting at my desk, and I was delivered with a piece of paper, and they came into me,
are you Eleanor Wong? And I said, yes. And they threw this piece of paper at me, and what it was, was it was a subpoena to appear before the State Department loyalty board. There were hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of people who were being investigated. All federal employees, most state employees had to take some kind of an oath. Everybody worked on the defense industry, would be covered. I had that while a member of the Chinese Student Christian Association, I was a secretary to the Association, and which was also a Communist Front Organization, and which was true, that I was a member of the Chinese Student Christian Association, because that's where you could meet guys. Now, for infiltration in its classic form, how do the Communists insinuate themselves legitimately into decent organizations? Of course, the Communists do not advertise their presence.
They ask delaying technical questions about procedure, pretend not to understand. Their purpose is simply to delay and delay until the hour is late, and a lot of the regular members have grown discouraged and gone home. Then they move. Their small number is now enough to pass measures they favor, and to elect Communists to keep positions in the organization. And so, another legitimate group becomes a Communist Front. Well, I remember at one time, the FBI, they asked questions like, are you a member of Manqing? How many members in Manqing? What are their TVs in Manqing? Some of them, when they walk out of the clubhouse and walk down the street, they'll be FBI, grab your arm and drag you into the car, and interrogate you that way. Hey, how are you?
How are you? You can't see the camera. That's what you're doing. What's your name? I'm a member of Manqing. I'm a member of Manqing. I'm a member of Manqing. I'm a member of Manqing. I'm a member of Manqing. You can't just take my picture, you'll be a member of the government. People say that they're a member of the government, they're выбors of the government, and they're not a guardianship, the same thing we did with them. I have the opportunity. And I hear the ledger, just how much cooperation they did. They killed that benefit. They're telling it, they can't say it, Okay, Mr. Qin, take care of me. You take care of your job. During the McCarthy era, the government discovered that
there's one way of going after the Chinese was to trace the immigration history. What happened was that in 1956, the American Council General in Hong Kong, by the name of a drumwright, issued a report declaring that overwhelming majority over 90% of the Chinese in the United States were illegal immigrants, which is, of course, not true. And it creates a political sensation because during the height of the McCarthy era, imagine all these illegal 90% of Chinese in the United States are illegal aliens. And besides, this persistent belief that all Chinese are potential spies of China, you know, suddenly there was this great panic and hysteria across the country that my god, even we are totally infiltrated by these communists all over the United States. From the FBI point of view, we only had an interest in persons
who would be acting as agents of a foreign government. From the immigration point of view, they had the interest to prevent alien communists from living in the United States. And this, of course, created a situation where the FBI and the immigration service had some of the same interests because alien communists might well be acting as agents of the people's republic. And clearly, the government at that time realized that this is going to be a monumental task of trying to investigate everybody. So they thought that they would provide a little carrot to the Chinese American sensing that, well, if you come out, come forward and confess that, you know, you may have your father or your grandfather may come into the United States illegally, we're willing to forgive and forget. And hence, this is called a Chinese confession program.
For most of the Chinese who were not politically inclined, it's probably a good thing because they cleared a status they can get the people over. But for people who were politically involved, particularly ones who are left, the immigration authority takes a very, very hard stand. The immigration service go after my father and saying that if, unless the immediate confession, you know, to the immigration service saying that his true name is not Chuck, but Wong. Otherwise, he's going to have a lot of problems or even deported back to China. Of course, he was so afraid, unable to understand the so-called confession program was directed, not to him, but to me. His father was forced to confess. And Marie's uncle had just been discharged from the military, saw the advice of American attorney Wayne Collins.
And Wayne Collins advised him that, you know, you were brought in as a minor by your father as a citizen in the United States, you have no reason to confess. He had nothing to confess. They used my father's confession as evidence against his own son. He said, so I lost. And I was put to jail for three months and five years' probation. So during this period of 1950s on, many of them were targeted of very extensive investigation. They were subjected to a deportation. And in fact, there were thousands of Chinese Americans who were put into a status called suspension of deportation. That means that you do not have citizenship status.
You do not really have the right to be in the United States, but they were not going to deport you. But the minute you step out of the United States boundary, whether to Mexico or Canada or anywhere else, you cannot come back. Membership in Munching would also haunt Kathy Lowe. Just like other members of the club, she was forced to surrender her citizenship papers. So when the people were taking away from you, then you lost everything. How did you feel? You felt very tragic, you know, and it happened. I didn't really know why it happened. But the fact wasn't really there, you know, because I thought that if you lost your citizenship, you could get it back within a couple of years, right? But that's not what happened. Every time you ask them, they say, well, your case is in the process.
Then it will give me a reason why I was not giving a chance. She was denied of status of permanent residency, even though she has three children that are born here, even though she was very active in community activities, showing her concern for the community here, and yet she was denied the right of permanent residency. When Manqing was closed down because of this pressure, you know, from all sides. And then we have to move out, okay? Then we tear down the library that we built in the basement. There was a mic inside the wall, you know, between the library and the wall. There was a mic, a very sensitive little gadget, you know,
it was high inside, so you can imagine, you know, that kind of situation in Chinatown during that time. You know, when you ask me questions about events and people from that period of my life, it's very hard for me to recall, because I really did sort of train myself, not to remember names too well, or events or dates, because when the House American Committee used to call up these people, they always asked for dates and names, and I thought it was always better not to honestly just forget sort of things don't slip out. But that again was the fear that was brought out by the McCarthy era. I think for the first time, I felt terrible about it, but because I really always thought I was a loyal American. I thought I was a loyal American.
In the late 1960s, the United States was losing its fight against communism and Vietnam and needed another entry point into the Far East. Exploiting a rift that had developed between China and Russia, the United States softened its foreign policy towards China. Ironically, it was Richard Nixon, a zealous anti-communist prosecutor in the late 1940s, who would be the first American president to reopen diplomatic relations. Well, he wasn't until the 70s when Nixon faces China and the new left in the connection with civil rights movement, anti-war movement rise in this country, that you have more of a dialogue in this community, that people come out and say that what they think,
or that maybe recognizing the people's republic is the logical thing to do and so forth. When people like myself came on the scene in the 1960s, when we start speaking out about social problems and ills within the Chinese community, we will immediately label its communists. But it's still that thing that claw is really over your head for many, many years.
I really cannot tell my children how proud I am to be in this country. It really was that way. I cannot tell my kids that, you know, this country is giving me so much that I should be so proud of it. But all this year, you know, I cannot say that. During the McCarthy era, being Chinese American was synonymous with trees and espionage. And that, unfortunately, remains a legacy to be in the Chinese community to this state. Thank you very much.
One, two, three, four, home is Nevada, home is the hills, home is the state and the
mountains, out by the truck he still rewills, out with the sun always shines. There is a land that I love the best, there is an all I can see. Right in the heart of the golden west, home means Nevada to me. That was very nice for me.
Lost to horizon is Mommy's favorite movie. When the hero Ronald Coleman gets lost in the mountains, he finds a beautiful place to show her love. Mommy says show her love means paradise. Are you the manager of this restaurant? I'm Emiko Takashi, my husband and I are the owners. We suggest you put this in your window as soon as possible. Yes, of course.
You speak very good English. How long you been in our country? All my life, my parents come from China, we're Chinese. Really? I could have sworn you were a job. Well, good day. This is Takashi. Hey, the tall. Daddy. What's the matter? I would like to be a saint. I would be saint and the second. Light switch on and me whenever I taught.
People would follow me wherever I went. Every night I asked God to make my brother Jimmy better. I pray on my knees until my legs fall asleep, like Saint Bernardette. But I think miracles only happen in the golden times. Or in the movies. Jimmy, I saw real gun. No, sir. Yes, sir. Where? In a secret agent's coat. No, sir. Did so ask Mommy she saw too. The secret agent come on with a jet. Yeah, a mommy like a six-year-old Chinese. I don't know how much I love you. Because I've got much of something.
What would you read the love? I don't know. I don't know. This is where we're going. Our friends are in this place. We've been coming here every Sunday for a while now. No, Charles. We can't go in that way. Why not? You say you eat here every Sunday. Yeah, but we have to go in through the back. Not tonight. So much milk, Jordan.
How are you this evening? We're fine, Emiko. This is my cousin. He just moved here from California. The Reverend Charles Osteen and his lovely wife, Helen. Nice to meet you. Come on back. Up, ma'am. Can't we sit out here? I'm sorry, what? Can't we eat out here in the dining room with the rest of your customers? I'm only here. George? Charles, now's not the time for this. You're frightening her and me. I'm sorry. I'll go get it.
This is how it looks. Nice to meet you. It's a pleasure. This is my cousin, Charles. Mrs. Takashi. We're not Mrs. Sippy. Why don't you serve Negroes? Charles, we do. We don't have many seats, but I can go upstairs to our apartment. No, sir, I'm talking about in your restaurant. 10. Let's go get those chairs, huh? Mrs. Takashi. Where are you in turn during the war? Annie, go watch television with Jimmy. You know, Dr. King said that a nation that would put Japanese in a concentration camp would do the same thing to Negroes. Do you want that to happen? Can I offer you dinner tonight on the house? No, I don't think we should stay for dinner. Of course we should. Thank you. But we insist on paying. Boy, I'm starving. Let's eat. Give him time, Charles. Be patient. I think you'll enjoy my husband's cooking, Reverend.
I would like to help you, but... Does anybody want to go out for dinner? What's that again, Annie? Go back to bed, Annie.
It's late. No! The neighbors will see. What? Daddy's in his underwear. Go back to bed now. Yes, Molly. Daddy was a war hero. Three of his toes rose off. He has a tattoo on his arm open American flag. I'm celebrating. I'm the most successful Chinaman I know. You get it? Once. My friend now is in the hospital. Daddy's in the hospital. Daddy's in the hospital. Daddy's in the hospital. Daddy's in the hospital. Daddy's in the hospital. Daddy's in the hospital. Daddy's in the hospital. My friend Nancy and I had a fight. And she yelled, Pearl Harbor at me. Because that's what her father's holder to say. If she ever wanted to hurt a Japanese person's feelings. When I came home and asked how you what Pearl Harbor was, he just said it was in Hawaii. Hello? Is anybody in?
Hello? Come on in. Hi. Is anyone else at home? Oh, someone's here. Jimmy, sir? Well, I'm sorry, Jimmy. He's not deaf. I'm very sorry, Jimmy. And he's not retarded. I'm just a gim. Jimmy. He's a what? He's got cerebral palsy.
Well, it's very nice to meet you, Jimmy. What can I do for your reverend? My wife made this for you. It's peach. Thank you. Well, have you had lunch yet? You like it? What? I'm sorry. I just never had Japanese food before. Why don't you serve this to your customers? My husband won a Purple Heart for bravery in World War II.
But when he got home, he couldn't get a job. We couldn't get a banklam. Finally, with the help of some friends, we opened up a noodle stand called Tad's Chinese noodle shack. And when we made enough money to buy this place, there were no other Japanese restaurants in Las Vegas. So we did the only thing we could, the safe thing. But you're denying your people. My people are Americans. I was born and raised in California as were my parents and their parents. So you're hiding your heritage? I'm just trying to make a living, Charles. Emiko, you've got to stand up. But you have got to have some self-respect. Stop bowing and scraping the knees. You okay, Jimmy? Yes. You were saying? Well, I have to stop scraping. Aren't you going to go see if he's all right? If I run in and help him every time he falls, he'll never learn to pick himself up. And someday, I won't be there. But I'm sorry. I mean... My personality so easily fills a room.
You must be a powerful speaker. Do you find it more difficult to convince people one-on-one? Table four. The lunch crowd's gone, I see. Now you probably have this lull every afternoon, right before the dinner rush. It gives you a chance to catch up on your paperwork. Put your sign up. Thank you. However, it's come to our attention that you're still serving colored people anyway. You must be mistaken. Well, no. Somebody told us you've been serving them in the back room. Or isn't that right? They're away from the public. But they're still eating off the same plates
the white folks eat from. Our friends seem to think that's unsanitary. Unsanitary? I can assure you nothing in this restaurant is unsanitary. The county health inspector says our floors are so clean you could eat off them. Well, I'd rather eat off the floor than off the same plate and nigger eight from. I'm sure all your other customers feel the same way. Look. This is a really nice restaurant. You and your husband must have worked very long and hard. Get this place. Good way to support your children. You had a little cripple boy, don't you? You must feel like a great big man coming and threatening a woman. Lady. You don't know who you're dealing with. It's a very nice place.
It's very nice indeed. How long have you been hiding here? I only ate seven sugar cubes. Just spoil your dinner. Your dress is filthy. Go upstairs and change. Don't you have any schoolwork to do? Or maybe it was too. Come here. Wash your hands. Mommy. Yes? Why do you pretend to be Chinese? Well, it's a bad to be Japanese. Of course not. What's wrong with stirring color people?
Are there some color people aren't supposed to be? They'll be that color. Mommy? I went on an airplane once.
We flew higher and higher in the air and I could see right into the clouds. As we went inside them, I held my breath and closed my eyes. But when I looked, they were just fuzzy air. Like nothing. All of a sudden, we were above them looking out over lumps of clouds as far as I could see. And I knew then. I had been lied to. That God wasn't up here sitting on a throne with angels flying back and forth, playing harps. That this couldn't be heaven. Because no one could sit on the cloud without falling right through. And that wherever heaven was, it sure was it in Las Vegas. And I knew then.
And I knew then. And I knew then. And I knew then. And I knew then. And I knew then.
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Chinatown Files; The Shangri-La Cafe
Producing Organization
Second Decade Films; Carousel Film and Video
Contributing Organization
Center for Asian American Media (San Francisco, California)
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Program Description
During the McCarthy era witch-hunts in the 1950s, the loyalties of over ten thousand American citizens of Chinese descent were questioned based on their ethnicity and alleged risk to national security. The Chinatown Files presents first-hand accounts of seven people's experiences of being hunted down, jailed and targeted for deportation during that time. In The Shangri-La Cafe, a Japanese-American family conceals their identity and reluctantly adopts discriminatory practices in order to operate a Chinese restaurant within the hostile cold war climate of Las Vegas in the late 1950's.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Race and Ethnicity
Politics and Government
Chinese Americans; Army-McCarthy Controversy, 1954; Japanese Americans; Racism against Black people; Diners (Restaurants); Racism against Asians
Media type
Moving Image
Producer: Chen, Amy
Producing Organization: Second Decade Films; Carousel Film and Video
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Center for Asian American Media
Identifier: cpb-aacip-68d21bcd820 (Filename)
Format: Digital Betacam
Generation: Master
Duration: 01:17:50
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Chicago: “Chinatown Files; The Shangri-La Cafe,” 2001, Center for Asian American Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 21, 2024,
MLA: “Chinatown Files; The Shangri-La Cafe.” 2001. Center for Asian American Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Chinatown Files; The Shangri-La Cafe. Boston, MA: Center for Asian American Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from