83-year old Gim Wong rides motorcycle for Chinese Head-Tax Redress

Media Advisory: June 4, 2005
 
GIM WONG’S RIDE FOR REDRESS IN VANCOUVER
JUSTICE NOW FOR RACIST CHINESE
HEAD TAX AND EXCLUSION
 
Victoria, BC – Gim Foon Wong, born in Vancouver’s Strathcona neigbourhood
over 83-years ago and a World War II airforce veteran, is riding his motorcycle
across Canada for Chinese head tax and exclusion redress.  With his son
Jeffrey, Gim left Mile 0 in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park on June 3.  His
stops will include Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Toronto and
Montreal.  He plans to arrive in Ottawa on July 1, 2005 – Canada Day.
 
Canada Day marks a significant anniversary for Chinese Canadians.  It
was on July 1, 1923 that the Canadian Government enacted the Chinese Exclusion
Act and until it was repealed in 1947, the Lo Wah Kiu (old overseas Chinese)
referred to it as Humiliation Day.  On July 1, 2004, Gim made a successful
“shakedown” run to Craigallachie, BC, site of the last spike completing the
trans-Canada railway.
 
DATE:  June 5, 2005
 
TIME:  11:00
 
LOCATION: Departing from Vancouver Chinatown Memorial to
Chinese-Canadian War Veterans and Railway Workers (Keefer & Columbia
Streets)
 

When the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was constructed between 1881
and 1885, Chinese workers were brought in from China as a source of cheap land
reliable labour.  They were also willing to perform the most dangerous
tasks in building the railway.  Due to the racist public sentiment against
more Chinese immigrants arriving in Canada when the CPR was completed in 1885,
the Canadian government imposed a “head tax” on them.  In 1923, the
Canadian government passed the Chinese Immigration Act, which virtually excluded
all persons of Chinese descent from coming to Canada.  This “Chinese
Exclusion Act” was repealed in 1947.  
 
Gim’s father and uncles paid the head tax when they came to Canada as 11
and 12-year olds in the early 1900’s.  Gim Wong’s Ride for Redress is a
pensioner’s call to Canadians of good conscience to join and assist him in this
struggle of almost a quarter century.  Many of the affected seniors are
over ninety and redress will lose much of its meaning if they do not survive to
receive it.
 
The Victoria and Vancouver legs of Gim Wong’s Ride for Redress organised
by
Canadians for Redress and ACCESS Association of Chinese Canadians, an
affiliate of the Chinese Canadian National Council. 
 
-30-
 
For further information contact:
Sid Tan – sidtan@vcn.bc.ca
Home office
604-433-6169    Cell 604-783-1853
———————————–
 
Gim Wong’s Ride for Redress A Call for Justice Now
 
Gim Foon Wong has a dream of riding his motorcycle across Canada. He will
try to fulfil his dream and bring a message to all Canadians about Canada’s
infamous Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Acts and the devastation they caused
Chinese Canadian families over generations.
 
 “I want to do this ride for the Chinese railway workers and all those
Chinese pioneers. I want to do it for my good friend Charlie Quan, who is a
98-year old head taxpayer living in Vancouver. I want to do it for my
family.”
 
“This is a pensioner’s call on the on the government to quit dragging its
feet. This ride is about respect for the generations of Chinese Canadians who
build this country. It’s time for the government to apologise and make the tax
refund.”
 
Background: History of Racism Towards the Chinese in Canada
 
Chinese workers made a major contribution to the construction of the
Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).  Chinese labourers were paid about half the
wages of other railway workers, and often performed the most dangerous tasks.
After the CPR was completed in 1885, due to racist public sentiment, the
Canadian government imposed a “head tax” on Chinese immigrants.  In 1923,
the Canadian government passed the Chinese Immigration Act, which virtually
excluded all persons of Chinese descent from coming to Canada.  This
“Chinese Exclusion Act” was not repealed until 1947.
 
The 24 years of Chinese exclusion separated families, condemned generations
of men to a life of isolation and loneliness, and acutely impeded the economic
and political development of Chinese communities in Canada.
 
Those wishing to assist or make a donation to Gim Wong’s Ride for Redress,
can do so by contacting:
 
Chinese Canadian National Council
302 Spadina Street, Suite
507
Toronto, Ontario, Canada  M5T 2E7
Phone: 416.977.9871
Fax:
416.977.1630
Web: www.ccnc.ca/redress
Email: national@ccnc.ca
 

Make cheque payable to “Gim Wong’s Ride for Redress”

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