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First Saturday East Asia Program: Flying Tigers and Chinese-America in World War II
Saturday, September 8, 2012 - 10:00am to Saturday, September 8, 2012 - 4:00pm
First Saturday East Asia Program:  Flying Tigers and Chinese-America in World War II

The Institute for Asian Studies 2012-2013 "First Saturday East Asian Program Series" kicks off

Saturday, September 8th, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM,

with a workshop of 3 special presentations

on the history of Chinese-Americans in aviation, 1918-1945

LOCATION:  PSU campus, Room 327, Smith Memorial Student Union (1825 SW Broadway)

REGISTRATION:  Free, and open to the public; but registration w/the NW China Council is requested for headcount and name badge.


This event highlights the Chinese American experience of WWII both locally and nationally with presentations by invited speakers.  It is part of the 69th reunion of the WWII Chinese American "Flying Tigers" 14th Air Service Group, being held in Portland, Oregon in September 2012.


10:00 Check-in, Welcome & Introductions --

10:30  Christina Lim, author of In the shadow of the Tiger, the 407th Air Service Squadron, Fourteenth Service Group, fourteenth Air Force, World War II and 14th Air Force reunion organizer,  will facilitate a VIDEO PRESENTATION that explores the context of Chinese American experience, including the Exclusion Act of 1882, how there was a generation of men and women who could be drafted into the service, the impact of the second Sino-Japanese war, and war bonds drives.

11:45-12:45   PANEL PRESENSTATION by Portland Chinese-Americans elders "Old Timers" Group, who will provide a local perspective by speaking about what life was like in Chinatown during that time, and the people that went to war

1:45 Welcome by Dr. K. Scott Wong, James Phinney Baxter III Professor of History and Public Affairs at Williams College, Williamstown MA, and author of Americans First: Chinese Americans in the Second World War (Temple, 2005), will speak briefly to introduce the event. 

1:45-3:00  MODERATED PANEL of veterans from the all-Chinese American Flying Tiger unit, who discuss their wartime experiences, then take questions from the floor.

   A Public reception will allow the audience to meet and greet the speakers.

Printer friendly event flyer >>

In the evening, Dr. K. Scott Wong will give a keynote speech on the role of WWII in the transformation of Chinese America at the Northwest China Council's annual dinner at Wong's King Restaurant.

A companion PHOTO EXHIBIT "Flying Tigers:  Chinese America Aviators in Oregon, 1918-1945" will be on view, August 30 - October 28, 2012, at the Multnomah County, Central Library, in downtown Portland.  

For more information, visit

View PHOTOS from the October 28th, 2012, WORKSHOP  held at Portland State University >> 


Learn more about the Chinese American WWII "Flying Tigers" of the 14th Air Service Group and their annual reunion at >>

More about the WWII Chinese American Flying Tigers 14th Air Service Group --
This all-Chinese American units served a special mission: to assist American Flying Tigers pilots and train Chinese Air Force ground crews to defend against Japanese invasion. They flew the "Hump" (the lower range of the Himalayan mountains), drove the legendary Burma Road, performed troop transport, repaired planes, and did crash recovery. 

An estimated 20,000 Chinese Americans served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II, approximately 20% of the Chinese population in the continental US at the time. This was a staggering number from a small community when compared to the percentage of draftees nationwide 

Why did so many men and women of Chinese ancestry step forward to serve the country? Some were American born, some were new immigrants, but all had suffered limited opportunities due to the lack of civil rights and civil liberties afforded to the Chinese. Chinese parents across the nation, themselves denied citizenship because of their race and culture encouraged their sons and daughters to serve in the United States Armed Forces during this time of need. Chinese Americans were the second largest group of Asian Americans (after Japanese Americans) to serve in the United States military during World War II. Like others, they also rallied to buy war bonds, participated in rationing, and supported the general War effort. The impact of World War II on the Chinese American community was transformative -- yet their remarkable story has largely remained unrecorded by the mass media, including the recent PBS series, THE WAR.

The WWII Chinese American 14th Air Service Group Annual Reunion is part of a longstanding tradition, the largest and longest held reunion of any Chinese American veterans in the United States. The reunion provides a time to learn about the Chinese American experience during World War II, hear stories of personal courage and sacrifice, and find out how World War II and the GI Bill invigorated the Chinese American community and at last opened the gates of Chinatown.


This special First Saturday event is co-sponsored by the PSU Institute for Asian Studies, PSU Dept. of History, and the NW China Council.

This project has received generous support from the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, the PSU Institute of Asian Studies, PSU Department of History, First Saturday program, Bank of the West, and many private donors.