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January 28, 2010

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Wall of Chinese in America

CHINESE Americans have formally launched a campaign to collect photos for "The Wall of the Chinese in America" at the USA Pavilion in the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

The American pavilion will feature an exhibit on "The Chinese in America." To build the exhibit, the Committee of 100 is asking everyone of Chinese descent across America to submit their photos to create the wall.

The committee donated US$3 million to help build the American pavilion and it has been a strategic partner for the effort in Shanghai.

Last Friday, the committee launched its "Join the Wall" Website to help Chinese in America to submit their photos for the wall.

The wall will feature Chinese names classified by their last names such as Chen, Wang, Li, Ma, Zhang and other surnames.

They will include well-known Chinese such as Yo-Yo Ma, but the majority will be ordinary Chinese who demonstrate that "We Are Family."

Lily Lee Chen of the Asia Pacific-USA Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Committee of 100 says this will be the first Expo to be held in China.

Chinese Americans, she says, are grateful for the US for giving them the opportunity to realize their dreams. But as Americans of Chinese origin, she says, they also love their mother country and feel proud of their Chinese roots.

Chen says "The Wall of Chinese in America" will provide an opportunity for the Chinese in America to show their pride, their contributions and their love for both countries.

Stewart Kwoh, president of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and a member of the Committee of 100, says the World Expo Shanghai is an important way for the Chinese to celebrate their relationship with the rest of the world.

He welcomes all Chinese in the US, whether they are US citizens or not, to submit their photos if they have a Chinese family name.

It looks easy to build a wall with the photos of Chinese in America, but actually it is not so simple. Some Chinese women have married Americans and their last names have changed. The third or fourth generations may have difficulty finding where their parents or grandparents came from.

The Committee of 100 encourages the younger generations to use the opportunity to find their origins.

Also, immigrants use different ways to spell their family names. For example, Zhang is also spelled Chang, Li is spelled Lee, Lin is spelled Lim. They will find out their real Chinese last name first, before their names are organized on the wall.

Even the same Chinese family names can be written in simplified and traditional characters. While names are mainly in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese names are also acceptable on the Wall.

The Chinese in America Exhibit is supported by many organizations, such as the East West Bank and China Sprout. The Chinese Daily News, the leading Chinese-language newspaper in the US, has promised free advertising to promote the event.

Submitting photos to "The Wall of Chinese in America" is free. Chinese Americans can just go to and upload their photos.

The Committee of 100 also called on members of the Chinese community to donate to become a Master Builder of the Wall - and be recognized with a brick at the USA Pavilion with their names on it. All the donations will be used to help build the pavilion.

Founded in 1989 by prominent Chinese Americans, the Committee of 100 is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit membership organization comprised of Chinese American leaders in a broad range of professions.


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