I, S. B. Woo, was born in Shanghai, China. On my own volition, I applied to become a US citizen. On the day of the naturalization ceremony in 1972, there was deep emotion - internal conflicts, probably not different from those of most others. The enlightening words of the presiding judge,Vincent Bifferato helped me understand what being a naturalized citizen is all about, and become a good American. Here is the essence of what he said.
"Future Fellow Citizens of the U.S.A.,
You probably harbor a mixed feeling today. You may be happy because you wanted to be a U.S. citizen, and today you've achieved this goal. On the other hand, you may also be sad, because you may feel that you are saying good-bye to all that you once identify with - the people back in your old country, whose hopes and dreams you've shared. You may even be distraught, because years ago when you first came to this country, you thought you were getting an education or a career to later go back to help your people. Now you feel that you are saying good-bye to that part of your dream.
Let me assure you that you don't need to stop caring or helping the people in your old country. If one ceremony, like the one today, can make you turn your back to the people you once cared deeply about, the U.S. doesn't want you as a citizen. The U.S. is a greater nation than that. America, a nation of immigrants, knows that people, who can turn their backs to their people instantly today after one ceremony, can turn their back to Americans tomorrow. Instant loyalty doesn't imply good citizenship. Take your time to know your new country. Examine America's core values. Experience America's sense of liberty, justice and equal opportunity. I feel certain that you will get to like America and perhaps love it. America is not perfect, and will need your input and tender-loving care to help make it "a more perfect union" as our forefathers had hoped. ....
Fellow citizens: Now that you are each a citizen of your new country, you owe your primary allegiance to America. However, you can continue to care and help people in your old country. Welcome. Good luck to all of you."
After the ceremony was over, I complimented Judge Bifferato for his extraordinary understanding of human nature which greatly comforted a new citizen like me. He smiled and said that actually naturalized citizens have paid a price for that privilege - you were not allowed to be a president or a VP of the U.S.A. With a twinkle in his eyes, he said America's forefathers understood human nature deeply which might be why they come up with one of the best political systems in the world.
A Critique of the H.I. Report
The above having been said, I now state my utter disappointment with theHoover Institute Report co-authored by 32 well-known China hands. EF, as an org.
remains an "interested bystander." The following is my personal view.
Its Section 3, titled "The Chinese American Community", these authors falsely alleged loyal Chinese American institutions and individuals as possibly endangering American interests because they tried to help people of China, and/or advocated peaceful reunification of China and/or criticized recent US foreign policy towards China. All of above cited activities are legal, including accepting free travel to and from China, so long as the individuals have handled the U.S. tax side of these matters cleanly.
My personal experience with high and low level Chinese government officials was that they NEVER probed or prompted. Could the experience of other Chinese-Ams be so different? Could there be professional Chinese spies or businessmen turned spies out of love for money? Yes. However, espionage should be the concerns of the Dept. of Justice. Are China hands trained to distinguish spies from people who care and want to help Chinese people or people who think our government's China policy is wrong? Will they only get innocent Chinese Ams. into trouble? Many Jewish Ams have been much more explicitly involved with the affairs of Israel, I don't see scholars accusing them as "under the influence." Note that the U.S. is equally at peace with Israel and China.
I view the allegations of these "scholars" as completely unjustified, and is loathsome towards their possible attempt to intimidate the Chinese American community. These "scholars" seem so politically worked up about Big Power politics that they have forgotten human nature of naturalized citizens and the Constitutional Rights of US citizens. Hopefully, they will revise their writings & apologize to the Chinese Am. community. Otherwise, the H.I. report will be known as the least scholarly articleever written by a group of 32 "scholars."
I will be sending the above statements to the 2 co-chairs with a request for them to forward my critique to all 32 authors.
My Life As A Naturalized U.S. Citizen
I was a university professor; the founding president of a faculty collective bargaining unit at that university, its chief spokesman and Chief negotiator; and later a trustee of that university. Even later, I was elected the Lieutenant Governor of Delaware. Still later, I ran for the US Senate and the House, advocating keen attention to our huge and chronic trade imbalance, but was defeated. I became a full-time professor again.
In late 1990s, when the campaign finance scandal dragged the As-Am community into the "Asia Gate", I, together with Chancellor Chang-lin Tien and Republican Anna Chennault, et al, founded the 80-20 Initiative to give our community a political voice to defend ourselves. 80-20 Initiative has 2 components - a PAC and a tax exempt educational foundation. Nowadays, I am the president of the Educational Foundation only. It has a huge email list, and a war chest of $3.3 million, which is adequate but is far, far, far, below the Jewish AIPAC level which has an annual revenue of $60 million and endowment of $100 million in 2014.
Click here to comment on this e-newsletter. Forward it widely. Donate
S. B. Woo
President and a volunteer for the past 20 years
80-20 Educational Foundation, Inc, a 501 C-3 organization,
C-100 is still silent, after a public attack on its integrity by a group of 32 well-known China hands, which is already 11 weeks old. Frank Wu is the president of C-100, whose silence greatly embarrasses the Chinese-Am community, if not members of C-100 as well.
George Koo responded to allegations! Read it here. George is the only C-100 member specifically named in the attack by the Hoover Institute articlein Footnote 20, on its p. 38. He now chooses to respond via EF's e-newsletter. In the English speaking parts of the AsAm community, EF's e-newsletter probably has the widest reach, opened by 18,500 to 23,000 individuals within 48 hours.
George even displayed a sense of humor. Note the "while under the influence" which is his preferred title of his response. :-)
George Koo responds to charges of writing "while under the influence"
"A working group of 32 China hands published an assessment of possible infiltration of operatives from China in the US. In the 200+ page report published by Hoover Institution, the section on the PRC influence on the Chinese American community raised concern and objections from the community.
The report listed a bunch of organizations and associations, primarily located in Chinatowns of major US cities, San Francisco being most prominent, as likely being directed or influenced by China's Communist Party.
Given America's history of McCarthyism and xenophobia, the Chinese American community was understandably alarmed by the specter of mass arrest and concentration camps that could be just steps away.
Among the reaction of outrage, SB Woo, president of 80/20 Education Foundation, demanded that the working group provide evidence to back up their accusations that I am sympathetic to the goals of the CCP-I was the only individual named in the report.
In response, the co-chairs of the Hoover working group, led by Professor Larry Diamond at Stanford replied and offered as evidence that I have been listed as an advisor to the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China since the founding of the organization.
It's true. I did attend the inaugural conference in Sydney and my friend who organized the event listed me as an advisor. I had good company as a number of former prime ministers of Australia were also named advisors.
Former President Bill Clinton gave the keynote at the conference-this was in 2002. Apparently he also endorsed the idea of the peaceful reunification of Taiwan with the mainland.
Diamond sees the CCP in Beijing as the behind the scenes organizer and instigator of these reunification councils. Promoting unification or advocating one China is antithetical to his strong personal feelings for the independence of Taiwan.
On the other hand, the millions in the Chinese diaspora, no matter their family history, remember the Ming dynasty general that evicted the Dutch and retook Taiwan in the 17th century. Zheng Chenggong is one historical figure still revered by the people on both sides of the straits today.
That China had to recover Taiwan from Japan after WWII became that much more a matter of emotional ethnic pride to think of Taiwan as part of China. Unabashedly, I consider myself one of them. Only a small fraction of those born in Taiwan would deny their Chinese heritage and roots.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, supporters of the peaceful reunification come from all sorts of backgrounds. Allegiance to the CCP is not a necessary condition or a valid presumption.
As a bicultural person, I see the perspective from both sides of the Pacific and I believe a Chinese American point of view can add greatly to the public discourse about US China relations. I strongly object to having my loyalty impugned because I am willing to speak up."
George Koo writes regularly for online Asia Times. Before his
retirement, he advised US companies on doing business in Asia.
What Makes Our AsAm Community Strong? How you can help!
Besides leadership, the size of our war chest is probably next in importance in making our community strong. 80-20 EF is blessed with a $3.3 million war chest, thanks to all of you. I particularly want to thank 375 of our SELF donors, who having fulfilled their 5-yr pledges, nevertheless sent in equal or larger annual amounts year after year.
However, there are also 321 donors, who for one reason or another, have NOT followed up on their pledges to donate for 5 years for at least the last 2 years. We have listed their names with a white background to gently remind them. If you see friends' names among that list, kindly please help EF by reminding them to keep up with their pledges. Click here to see who they are so that you can remind them.