B.C. government's apology to Chinese will fall short of achieving reconciliation, according to Bill Chu

The founder of Canadians for Reconciliation has told the Georgia Straight that the B.C. government will apologize in the legislature on Thursday (May 15) for historical wrongs committed against the Chinese community.

In a phone interview, Bill Chu expressed serious concerns because he doesn't think the government has done nearly enough to educate the general public about the nature of those wrongs.

And that, he suggested, could lead to an anti-Chinese backlash.

"Before one can apologize for something else or for some other group of people, you need to really educate the bigger public as to what happened in the first place," Chu said. 

He pointed out that approximately 90 percent of B.C.'s population is not of Chinese descent. According to him, most of them have little or no knowledge of what happened in the past.

"I haven't been asking for an apology," Chu said. "We always ask for reconciliation, which is something totally different. The government, out of their political convenience and ethnicgate affair, they dream up this idea of making apologies to ethnic groups to get votes, right?"

Chu added that B.C. government's website concerning historical wrongs is too low-profile to reach the masses.

He said that originally, the government said it was going to apologize for the Chinese head tax, which confused people because the federal government had already said it was sorry for this.

"Many people asked them, 'What historical wrongs?' " Chu said. "It took them forever to come up with a list."

The government has posted a lengthy list of discriminatory legislation in B.C. from 1872 to 1948.

In addition to the head tax—which began in 1895 at $50 before reaching $500 in 1903—there were dozens of bills prohibiting employment in many areas, the right to vote, and being able to buy Crown land, among other restrictions.

In an editorial in the Sing Tao newspaper, editor-in-chief Victor Ho claimed that the government's apology will not lead to public repentance.

Comments (13) Add New Comment
RUK
Oh my god, when will someone spare a thought for the plight of the Asian in British Columbia! We are so oppressed.

So oppress. Much reconcile. Wow.
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Acid Heads
One day the Government will reconcile with the acid heads, and apologize for oppressing them for so long!
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AC
Reading about BC Liberal initiatives is like reading about our federal Conservatives. Chu is right...obviously it's just an expedient "quick win" tactic with ulterior motives, that will ironically backfire on people of his ethnicity.
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Johnny Roselli
"In addition to the head tax—which began in 1995 at $50 before reaching $500 in 1903..."

In 1995 leaky condos under Mayor Gordon Campbell were an issue. Time to fix the typo.
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Cynical
Maybe the BC Government will repeat the cynical apology they made to East Indians by sending a East Indian Government Representative to apologize to them on their behalf.

For the Japanese Internment apology a Japanese Canadian WOmen was put forth for the apology to Canadians not the Premier who happens to ba Caucasian and the head of the party but a lower MLA.

Apologies should be on the Record by the Head of the Party not an MLA who happens to be of that ethnic group, it's cynical and closet Racist.

The Neo-Con's of the BC Lying sacks of garbage would play the game as they see fit with little regard to Truth or Justice.
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Tedcamp
Get over it already! Enough is too much. Both the Federal and Provincial Government's apologize on a regular basis (always when a new party or head honcho takes office) We all realize wrongs were done but they were done a helluva long time ago. Get on with life. This is transparent political posturing, the complainers are looking to make their mark with future voters, the apologists are attempting to hold their own and the rest of us are fed up.
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Martin Dunphy
JR:

The typo is fixed, thanks.
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cuz
No wonder our lives don't get any better. Everybody in government is busy running around trying to find something to apologize for. Get over it. Like an apology makes a damn bit of difference. Apologies only work if they come from the people who actually committed the bad actions.
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Alan Layton
Don't worry, there's not going to be an anti-Asian backlash. Other than this paper, there is almost no coverage of it in the Western media, so obviously it's not a major concern. It's a part of history that few have any connection with these days.
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To the five people who currently have down-voted Martin's comment ...
You *don't* agree that the typo has been fixed?
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Cooper
GET OVER IT.
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Weinstien
We gave them Richmond. Isn't that enough?
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Nigel
That white bedsheet comfortable over your head weinstien?
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