Paper sons

More on Chinese Americans: Alison Leigh Cowan in the Times writes about the strategies of hopeful Chinese immigrants after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred most unskilled laborers from China. Immigrants would use study aids to pretend that they were the children of Chinese who were legal residents—or just to make sure they could prove who they actually were. Desperation to get into the United States is nothing new.

You can look at the notebook pages through the Times link above; it even includes a map of the family’s ancestral village. For more on this topic, one commenter recommends the book Paper Families by Estelle T. Lau.


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