Program Four - Segment Two: Paper Sons

During the dreaded immigration review process, Chinese immigrants were asked minute details about their family history and living conditions in China.  Their answers had to agree with those of their sponsors and witnesses to prove their identities and right to enter the US.  Since the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, every Chinese immigrant was interrogated in this way until 1943 when it was repealed. With poverty and political chaos in China, many Chinese looked to America for refuge.  But with the Exclusion Act barring all but a few, Chinese immigrants had to find another way around the system.  Children of parents who entered as paper sons still feel the sting of that interrogation process.  Judy Yung is a professor emeritus of American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.   Her father entered as a paper son and her mother as a legitimate wife of a merchant.


Professor Judy Yung and her family, especially for use of excerpts from her book, "Unbound Voices." Actor Andres Alcala.

Produced by Sara Caswell Kolbet


Shasta Taiko was started in 1985 by Russel Hisashi Baba and Jeanne Aiko Mercer, both recognized artists in traditional and contemporary Taiko, new music, and jazz. They have appeared in numerous concerts throughout the west coast and teach Taiko to all ages.

Purchase Spirit Drum CD

Further Internet Resources:


Barlow, Jeffrey and Christine Richardson.  China Doctor of John Day.  Portland, Oregon: Binford & Mort, 1979.

Chan, Sucheng. Asian Americans, An Interpretive History. Twayne Publishers, 1993

Hing, Bill Ong. Making and Remaking Asian America Through Immigration Policy 1850-1990. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1993.

Hing, Bill Ong. Defining America Through Immigration Policy. Temple University Press, 2004.

Lai, Him Mark. Becoming Chinese American: A History of Communities and Institutions.  New York: Alta Mira Press, 2004

Takaki, Ronald.  A History of Asian Americans: Strangers From a Different Shore.  Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998.

Yung, Judy.  Unbound Voices: A Documentary History of Chinese Women in San Francisco. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1999.

  © 2006 MediaRites - Contact Web Designer Sara Kolbet

Hosted By

George Takei

Margaret Cho

Major funding
provided by

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting

With additional
support from

National Endowment for the Arts

Oregon Council
for the Humanities

And underwriting support from