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Chinatown ’89: CHINATROPOLIS

Hong Kong Exodus Hits New York

THE SHOTS FIRED BY CHINESE SOLDIERS IN Tiananmen Square last June are still being heard in New York’s Chinatown. Isolated for decades by immigration laws, language, and its dense pattern of poverty, Chinatown is changing rapidly with the influx of new money and new immigrants — both pouring in from Hong Kong (which is scheduled to return to Beijing’s control in 1997) and driven by the widespread despair on the mainland.

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Manhattan north of Worth Street and south of Canal had six banks 10 years ago; now it boasts more than 25. Hong Kong real estate developers have sunk at least $400 million into New York City construction projects over the past year; capital transfers have spawned a new Chinese-American middle class anxious to cash in on the money flow. And so many new immigrants are arriving (usually on Korean Air, the cheapest fare to New York from the Far East) that the crowded streets of Chinatown have pushed south to City Hall and north past Little Italy — even spawning bustling colonies in Brooklyn and Queens.

Still, unlike the thriving Asian communities of the West Coast, New York’s 300,000-strong Chinese-American population has yet to find a political voice. Tradi­tionally preoccupied with the politics of the mainland — ­even if only in opposition — in the wake of the massacre, Chinatown seems on the verge of a radical reorientation toward American issues. The United States is the only here here.

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The New Chinese Exodus: The Party’s Over but Still in Power — Get Out Now
By Dusanka Miscevic and Peter Kwong

Riding the Dragon: Chinatown’s Politics — Many Votes, No Chinese Candidates
By Yuen Ying Chan

Surviving in America: The Trials of a Chinese Immigrant Woman
By Joann Lum & Peter Kwong

Rubbing Two Neighborhoods Together
By Karla Delgado

Growing by Leaps
By Lauren Esserman

Outside Looking In
By Luis H. Francia


Special Amnesty Edicion

Dear Gabachos: You love us, you really love us! Mere moments after the Senate allowed an amnesty bill to collapse like the peso’s value, ustedes bombarded the Mexican with typo-heavy valentines. To commemorate America’s latest amnesic spell regarding its immigrants and assimilation (previous examples include the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Immigration Reform Act of 1924, and Jessica Alba), we turn this column over to a couple of the Know Nothings in all their grammatically incorrect glory. But don’t worry, everyone with a soul: Next week, the Mexican returns to the Reconquista. Now, on with the amor:

  • Hey beaner: Just how many indigenous people, non-mexican, (Inca) did the mexicans kill and claim their land before the mexicans said it was theirs? I suggest the people slaughtered were in the tens of thousands. Yes you are also killers as well as moochers. Yes, I know the americans took your land during some war. You are a whiner. We slaughtered your worthless ass inreturn for you slauthering someone else. Live with it. Die with it you scum.
  • I guess its true when they say the good guys always win in the end. Now that this bill has been beat, you can forget about this ever coming up again. EVER! In politics, you lose once, you’re finished. Nobody wants to back a loser, ie you and your cronies. I’ve yet to meet a mexican who can think CLEARLY through the issue. You guys are all the same—biased, selfish, entitled and looking to subvert America. None of you have ever even presented a cogent argument as to how amnesty can even benefit America! And if you truly believe amnesty is good for America, feel free to take your argument to [conservative talk radio]! But you won’t, because you know you’ll get your ass kicked around because. . . the good guys always win in the end!Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say. You + illegal aliens: 0. America: 20. What’s next in Congress? Shutting the borders down for good and starving illegal mexicans out of America.
  • It’s easy to deny/sell-out ones heritage, well, if you’re a mexican that is. Anything to make a buck. Are you american? Of course you admit to being “latino.” You’re a spic. Just forget it. You are what you are. A sponge. A leach. I understand you’ll say anything true or not. It’s your column. But, you are so full of crap. Hey! Who discovered america?
  • The AMERICAN people have spoken. We won’t be told what to do by people from another country who don’t even allow demonstrations in their own streets unless you are a national! Did you know that? Could you imagine an American in Mexico writing for a newspaper with a column called “ask an American? He would probably be assasinated. Kiss the ground and thank God that you’re an American!!
  • fukinidiot: Amnesty bill. Sorry better luck next time. . . if there is one. U.S.A! U.S.A! HA. . HA . . !
  • You just want to whine about how bad you have it. Go Home!
  • Looks like the Senate bill died. Good. . . just the way I like it. . . it keeps you cockroaches as our little slave workers. Now go and clean some toilets you little brown animal.