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#5 World War II and the Korean War


#5 World War II and the Korean War

Episode 5:     World War II and the Korean War

Although Chinese living in North America never saw action during World War II and the Korean War, they were invariably affected by the conflicts.

Before WWII, Chinese in North America were treated with discrimination. They were second-class citizens with no voting right. When WWII broke out Chinese men enlisted. Their willingness to fight for their adopted countries eventually gained them equal civil rights and raised their status in the mind their white countrymen.

In 1949, following the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the relationship of China and the U.S took a turn for the worse because of their opposing ideologies. With China’s formal involvement in the Korean War, Chinese students studying specific disciplines were forbidden to leave the U.S. They became embargoed strategic resources. Chinese who had shown any Communist sympathies were investigated and even prosecuted. North American Chinese became pawns in the volatile political games at the time.

Roots Old and New, Stories of Chinese Emigrants - North America

  • Video
  • English
  • Completed
For over a hundred and sixty years, Chinese had traveled across the ocean to help open up the west coast of the United States and Canada. Chinese immigrants looking for a better life in North America had to pay the price of countless heartbreaks and humiliation; of having their dreams of gold shattered, their lives sacrificed on the railroad. Scattered like seeds on foreign soil, they had to struggle hard to take root, braving hostility, discrimination, and inequality. Having shed blood, sweat and tears, they have emerged from a century of stoic endurance with pride in their achievements.

Sources of pictures: The Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley 

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