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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Chinese Associations & Clinton Fundraising

Chinese Associations, often called Tongs go back in the US till the Gold Rush. In a recent article in the LA Times on a high amount of Fundraising in NY Chinatown for Hillary Clinton among Fujianese immigrants, the term Chinese Associations came up. The article in summary said a large amount of Fujianese immigrants of low income (dishwashers making $500/week giving $1000 donation) gave money to the Hilliary Clinton Presidential campaign. The reasons giving in 20 interviews ranged from the ability to have a picture taken with Senator Clinton and send it back to relatives to they were asked by as a favor (by a Chinese Association) and they would lose face if they did not. On a policy side on an NPR interview with the LA Times writer, the writer mentioned that Senator Clinton has spoken of the need to reunite families divided due to immigration issues and is seen as immigrant friendly in her policies.

The province of Fujian traditionally has produced a large amount of immigrants. The local dialect is what is called Taiwanese in Taiwan. I was surprised when a person from the Philphines and my in-laws were talking to each other, and what language would you guess - yes, Taiwanese/Fukienese . Why the difference in spelling between Fukienese and Fujianese - Pinyin. Like Peking and Beijing.

The immigrants to the US have been both legal and illegal. The going price was $50,000 (14 years ago it was $20,000) and it takes 3-5 years paying back the cost. This is often done by working in Chinese restaurants as waiters, waitresses, and cooks. Women also find work as nannies. Figuring out the size of this population is challenging, but the total estimate for illegal immigrants is 7 to 20 Million. And if you estimate 5% is Chinese, thats a large number. Especially when the Legal population for ethnic Chinese in the US is 2.7 Million per the 2000 Census. Snakeheads are the smugglers and Tongs/Chinese Gangs used this as a major source of revenue. More profitable than drugs and less of a risk of prison time. Here is a recent article on a person in a tong.

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