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Video of the April 25 panel on Chinese Exclusion Act.

Chinese Exclusion Act 4.25.17 from Discovery Building on Vimeo.

Filmmakers Li-Shin Yu and Ric Burns of Steeplechase Films were in Madison April 24-26 for screenings of their new documentary, "The Chinese Exclusion Act." (see story below) They also participated in a panel discussion at the DeLuca Forum on why the film matters today and how the 1882 law impacted our understanding of what it means to be an American. Joining them were UW faculty Victor Jew of Asian American Studies, Law Professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes and author/journalist Helen Zia.

At right: Ric Burns, seated next to Li-Shin Yu, discussed his new documentary. Below: Panelests Victor Jew and Helen Zia. Photos by UW-Madison student Ian Shuai.

New PBS documentary on Chinese Exclusion Act to be screened first in Madison

MADISON - The keys to understanding current issues on immigration, citizenship, and labor might be found in radical legislation enacted in the United States more than 100 years ago.

The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act is the only federal legislation to single out and name a specific race and nationality for exclusion from immigration and citizenship. The legislation, which was in place for more than 60 years, exposed Chinese Americans to forced registration, segregation, and violence.

The photo at right os of the Lim family in California, one of many that had to contend with the Chinese Exclusion Act.

The documentary exposes connections between the Chinese Exclusion Act and the history of American civil liberties and immigration. Experts explore how social, political, economic, and cultural circumstances paved the way for the legislation that continues to impact attitudes on race, culture, and identity in America.

“The issues discussed in the film are relevant to today's national conversation, and the filmmakers are to be credited for reminding us that history is a great teacher only if we pay attention to its lessons,” said Wisconsin China Initiative Director and Professor Jerry C.P. Yin. “The film and discussion on Tuesday should provide us with an opportunity to learn from some of our past mistakes.”

Click here to see the full press release.

Download the event poster.

The "Chinese Exclusion Act" campus events are made possible by an Anonymous Fund grant. Hosted by the Wisconsin China Initiative, with co-sponsorship from the WUD Film Committee, CEAS, and Asian American Studies.



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Click here to learn about President Obama’s “100,000 Strong Initiative” to increase the number and diversity of American students studying in China.



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