Classroom Resource: Paper Names and Chinese Immigration to the United States

From 1882 to 1943, Chinese immigrants were legally barred from entering the United States due to the Chinese Exclusion Act.  In order to get around the law, some Chinese sought to enter the U.S. with forged identity papers declaring that they were they were close relatives of U.S. citizens of Chinese descent. In recent years, many Chinese-Americans are just learning that their ancestors came to America under false identities.

Below are two resources that introduce the stories of people who arrived, or whose ancestors arrived to the U.S. with paper names.

In the film below, Li Keng Wong and Ed Chun share their family stories.

Listen to this NPR report to learn more about what has come to be called the “paper children” of these immigrants.

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