INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Members Fong and De Leon
   (Coauthors: Assembly Members Furutani, Lieu, Torrico, Adams,
Ammiano, Arambula, Bass, Beall, Bill Berryhill, Tom Berryhill,
Blakeslee, Block, Blumenfield, Brownley, Buchanan, Caballero, Charles
Calderon, Carter, Chesbro, Conway, Cook, Coto, Davis, De La Torre,
DeVore, Duvall, Emmerson, Eng, Evans, Feuer, Fletcher, Fuentes,
Gaines, Gilmore, Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Hayashi, Hernandez, Hill,
Huber, Huffman, Jeffries, Jones, Krekorian, Logue, Bonnie Lowenthal,
Ma, Mendoza, Miller, Monning, Nava, Nestande, Niello, Nielsen, John
A. Perez, V. Manuel Perez, Ruskin, Salas, Saldana, Silva, Skinner,
Smyth, Solorio, Audra Strickland, Swanson, Torlakson, Torres, Tran,
Villines, and Yamada)
   (Coauthors: Senators Liu and Yee)

                        FEBRUARY 27, 2009

   Relative to Chinese Americans in California.


   ACR 42, Fong. Chinese Americans in California.
   This measure would acknowledge the history of the Chinese in
California, recognize the contributions made to the State of
California by Chinese Americans and Chinese immigrants, and express
regret for past discriminatory laws and constitutional provisions
which resulted in the persecution of Chinese living in California.

   WHEREAS, The California gold rush triggered one of the largest
mass migrations in world history and captured global imagination as
the destination for wealth and opportunity. That global migration
made California one of the world's most diverse states which would
serve as the foundation for its economic, academic, and cultural
growth in the 20th century; and
   WHEREAS, The California gold rush paved the way in funding and
manpower for the creation and building of the western leg of the
transcontinental railroad. The transcontinental railroad was
considered the greatest American technological feat of the 19th
century, was a dream of Abraham Lincoln's, and was what many
considered the most important aspect in strengthening the position of
the United States in the international spotlight. The track served
as a vital link for trade, commerce, and travel by joining east and
west, further transforming the population and economy of California;
   WHEREAS, The Central Pacific portion of the transcontinental
railroad recruited the Chinese in America and later tens of thousands
of Chinese immigrants as a source of labor. Chinese in America and
Chinese immigrants were paid less than their white counterparts and
slept in tents while white laborers were provided both food and
shelter. The Chinese laborers worked under grueling and treacherous
conditions in order to lay thousands of miles of track. On May 10,
1868, alone, Chinese workers laid 10 miles of track in less than 12
hours in order to complete the last leg of the railroad. Without the
tremendous efforts and contributions of the Chinese in building the
transcontinental railroad, the development and progress of our nation
and California would have been delayed by years; and
   WHEREAS, Once the transcontinental railroad was complete, Chinese
in California transitioned to other types of employment, making
considerable contributions to the progress and growth of our state.
Chinese in California built ships for fishing along our coast and
developed the abalone and shrimp industries. In the Delta and the
central valley, the Chinese in California helped to recover the tule
swamps, to build irrigation systems, and to harvest various fruits
and vegetables for California's agriculture industry; and
   WHEREAS, The Legislature enacted discriminatory laws targeting
Chinese in America and Chinese immigrants in order to discourage
further immigration from China and sought to severely limit the
success of the Chinese laborers already here; and
   WHEREAS, Among other things, these laws denied the Chinese in
California the right to own land or property, the right to vote, and
the right to marry a white person, denied children of Chinese descent
access to public schools, denied Chinese immigrants the right to
bear arms, unfairly targeted women of Chinese descent by imposing
special requirements in order for them to be allowed to immigrate
into the state, authorized the removal of Chinese immigrants to
outside town and city limits, denied Chinese laborers employment in
public works projects and through state agencies, prohibited the
issuance of licenses to Chinese in California, denied Chinese in
California the right to fish in California's waters, and unduly taxed
Chinese businesses and individuals who employed Chinese laborers;
   WHEREAS, Chinese in California were denied the right to testify as
a witness in any action or proceeding in which a white person was a
party, pursuant to a state law which was upheld in People v. Hall
(1854) 4 Cal. 399. As a result of the decision to place Chinese in
California outside of the protection of the law, many Chinese in
California were left extremely vulnerable to violence and abuse; and
   WHEREAS, Chinese in California faced further discrimination under
local ordinances which targeted traditional Chinese culture and
customs. Laws were enacted forcing Chinese men in San Francisco to
cut off their traditional queues, banning the Chinese traditional
style of transporting fruits and vegetables, unjustly raising taxes
on Chinese-owned laundromats, targeting the Chinese custom of
disinterring the remains of their deceased to send back to China for
proper burial, and forcing the Chinese in San Francisco to live
within an area that was considered unsanitary and unsafe to ordinary
individuals. These laws were enacted in order to impose shame and
humiliation on Chinese Americans and Chinese immigrants; and
   WHEREAS, California lobbied Congress for years to strictly
prohibit immigration from China, and in 1882, was successful in
convincing Congress to enact the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first
federal law ever passed excluding a group of immigrants solely on the
basis of race or nationality. The Chinese Exclusion Act set the
precedent for racist foreign and national policy that led to broader
exclusion laws and fostered an environment of racism that quickly led
to the Jim Crow laws of the 1880s and further segregation
legislation that would tear our nation apart through most of the 20th
century; and
   WHEREAS, Paradoxically, the very same year that the Chinese
Exclusion Act was passed, financing abroad was completed for the
Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is a sign of freedom and
democracy and was built and presented to the United States at the
same time that Chinese Americans and Chinese immigrants were being
denied freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty is our nation's
great symbol of hope and justice for all who live, and all who wish
to live, in the United States of America. While the Statue of Liberty
was being built, legislators were contradicting those very ideals by
discriminating against Chinese immigrants and lobbying Congress to
do the same; and
   WHEREAS, The Chinese Exclusion Act, which originally expired in
1892, was extended by Congress for 10 years in the form of the Geary
Act and made permanent in 1902. It remained in effect until it was
repealed in 1943 as a result of the alliance forged between China and
the United States during World War II. The Chinese were once again
allowed to immigrate to the United States, and shortly thereafter
California's Angel Island ceased to be used as a detainment center
for Chinese immigrants; and
   WHEREAS, Former Article XIX of the California Constitution, which
was adopted in 1879 and unfairly targeted and discriminated against
Chinese living in California, remained in effect for 73 years until
it was repealed in 1952; and
   WHEREAS, Despite decades of systematic, pervasive, and sustained
discrimination, Chinese living in California persevered and went on
to make significant contributions to the growth and success of our
state; and
   WHEREAS, Today, Californians of Chinese descent occupy leading
roles in politics, business, and academia. Currently there are 10
Chinese Americans serving in California's constitutional and
statewide offices. Jerry Yang, former CEO of Yahoo! Inc., is a
California resident. University of California, San Diego, Professor
Roger Y. Tsien was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his
discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein. And this
year, California resident Steven Chu, former President of California'
s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a Nobel Prize winner in
Physics, was appointed by President Obama and sworn in as the
Secretary of Energy. The contributions of Chinese Americans to the
State of California are vast and irreplaceable. They have played a
central role in turning California's university system, technology
industry, businesses, and agriculture into a world power; now,
therefore, be it
   Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate
thereof concurring, That diversity is one of our state's greatest
strengths, enabling California to thrive economically,
agriculturally, technologically, academically, and politically at an
international level. Our great state has relied on immigrants of all
backgrounds to build our infrastructure, and integrating them into
our society not only helps them prosper, but helps California prosper
as well; and be it further
   Resolved, That while this nation was founded on the principle that
all men are created equal, and while we pay tribute to the great
American creed "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free" which stands at the base of America's
Statue of Liberty, a symbol of hope for all who live, and all who
wish to live, in the United States of America, we recognize that the
practices of our state and its government have not always honored
that promise. Ours is a state with an imperfect history where
intolerance spurred the enactment of unjust discriminatory laws that
have too often denied minority groups access to the promise of
America, that all men are created equal. Today that struggle
continues, and learning from our past will help enable us to travel
further down the path toward building a more perfect Union; and be it
   Resolved, That the Legislature deeply regrets the enactment of
past discriminatory laws and constitutional provisions which resulted
in the persecution of Chinese living in California, which forced
them to live in fear of unjust prosecutions on baseless charges, and
which unfairly prevented them from earning a living. The Legislature
regrets these acts and reaffirms its commitment to preserving the
rights of all people and celebrating the contributions that all
immigrants have made to this state and nation; and be it further
   Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of
this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.