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Chinatown Done Right


A few weeks ago, The San Francisco Chronicle tried to write about a Chinatown feud and did its usual lousy job explaining the politics of the city’s Asian population. The word “byzantine” was used. Couldn’t see that cliché coming, could you?

Yesterday, the Sacramento Bee took a shot at the same story and nailed it. Today, the Wall Street Journal took a shot. Both stories clearly describe the local and international politics behind a contentious lawsuit between leaders of the Chinese benevolent association known as the Six Companies. A change in how Chinese immigrants and their children see the government on the mainland has, essentially, triggered a change in how the association’s leaders want to manage things. It’s a fascinating look at something that’s becoming increasingly common: Immigrants’ abilities to maintain close ties with their native lands. The idea that Chinese Americans can – and should – visit China was unheard of even 15 years ago. Today, particularly for West Coast Chinese, it’s no big deal. Many Taiwan-born immigrants, with their mainland-born parents and American-born kids crowd the country’s tourist attractions every summer. After the Olympics, it’ll be an ever more popular trip.
In defending his decision not to have a Taiwanese official oversee his swearing-in, angering other members of the Six Companies, Daniel Hom took these changes into effect. “A lot of people in the Chinese community, once they have visited mainland China, know there’s tremendous progress (being) made.”
And by the way: Writing for and about San Francisco’s Chinese community is a web logging opportunity going begging. The first folks to do this — in English and Chinese — will be performing a much-need community service. Oh, yeah, and you’ll probably make money, too.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 9:00 AM | Permalink

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