Gim and son Jeffery in Vancouver's Chinatown – photo Chow Gim Tan
On Fri, 10 Jun 2005, CCNC National wrote:
Press Conference Saturday, June 11, 2005
Gim Wong's Ride for Redress A Call for Justice Now. The
83-years old World War II air-force veteran is riding his motorcycle across Canada for Chinese head tax and exclusion redress
When: Saturday, June 11, 2005 3:30 p.m.
Where: Outside of the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre
197 – 1 St. S.W.
For information: contact Teresa Woo-Paw (403) 870-0430
Foon Wong has a dream of riding his motorcycle across Canada. He will
try to fulfill 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.
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
"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 apologize and make the tax refund."
Foon Wong, born in Vancouver's Strathcona neigbourhood over 83-years
ago and a World War II air-force 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.
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.
On July 1, 2004, Gim made a successful "shakedown" run to Craigallachie, BC, site of the last spike completing the trans-Canada railway. 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 It was on July 1, 1923 that the Canadian Government enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act and until it was repealed in 1947, the Lo Wah Kiu (old overseas Chinese) referred to it as Humiliation Day. Background: History of Racism Towards the Chinese in Canada 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. 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.