Paper Sons
by Wendy Cheung, Betty Lee Sung & Winifred C. Chin

[June 18, 2004]


This panel discussion will discuss the history of “Paper Sons” and the impact this phenomenon had on family relationships within the Chinese community during the 20 th Century.  The panel will also explore how the secretive “Paper Son” system has affected the cultural and political roles of Chinese Americans today.

Paper sons were Chinese immigrants who purchased false identification papers in order to immigrate to the United States during the decades of the Chinese Exclusion Acts (1882-1943). These laws specifically prohibited Chinese laborers from entering America. “Paper Sons” lived with counterfeit identities, and were therefore vulnerable to social discrimination, often falling victim to public paranoia during times of political hysteria.

Actual paper sons will be invited to share their real life experience. 






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