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“America's Chinese”: Anti-Communism, Citizenship, and Cultural Diplomacy during the Cold War

Ellen D. Wu
Pacific Historical Review
Vol. 77, No. 3 (August 2008), pp. 391-422
DOI: 10.1525/phr.2008.77.3.391
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/phr.2008.77.3.391
Page Count: 32
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“America's Chinese”: Anti-Communism, Citizenship, and Cultural Diplomacy during the Cold War
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Abstract

With the onset of the Cold War, the federal government became concerned with the impact that the status and treatment of Chinese Americans as a racial minority in American society had on perceptions of the United States among populations in the Asian Pacific. As a response, the State Department's cultural diplomacy campaigns targeting the Pacific Rim used Chinese Americans, including Betty Lee Sung (writer for the Voice of America) and Jade Snow Wong and Dong Kingman (artists who conducted lectures and exhibitions throughout Asia). By doing so, the government legitimated Chinese Americans' long-standing claims to full citizenship in new and powerful ways. But the terms on which Chinese Americans served as representatives of the nation and the state—as racial minorities and as “Overseas Chinese”—also worked to reproduce their racial otherness and mark them as “non-white” and foreign, thus compromising their gains in social standing.

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