December 13, 2018

Bipartisan Duckworth-Hirono-Royce-Lieu Bill to Honor Chinese American WWII Veterans Passes House, Heads to President’s Desk


[WASHINGTON, DC] – Following unanimous approval by the U.S. House of Representatives, bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) to recognize the tremendous contributions made by more than 18,000 Chinese American World War II Veterans now awaits the President’s signature. The Chinese American World War II Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Act will authorize Congress to award the highest civilian honor – a Congressional Gold Medal – to these dedicated Veterans, including the approximately 190 Chinese American WWII Veterans who call Illinois home. Congressmen Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced the legislation in the U.S. House. The bipartisan legislation unanimously passed the Senate in September of this year.

“Despite facing outright discrimination, more than 18,000 brave Chinese Americans volunteered to risk their lives to protect their fellow Americans during World War II,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud my colleagues from both sides of the aisle have chosen to recognize this brave group of Veterans’ unwavering commitment and honor them with a Congressional Gold Medal.” 

“More than 18,000 Chinese Americans served our country during World War II, while also facing discrimination here at home,” Hirono said. “Like other minority service members, their contributions were not appropriately recognized during or immediately after World War II. The passage of the Chinese American World War II Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Act goes a long way to right that wrong and express our gratitude for Chinese American veterans’ distinguished service.”

“The United States remains forever indebted to the bravery and sacrifice that the Chinese American veterans of World War II displayed. From the Flying Tigers, to their service in the Pacific and across Europe—these heroes answered the call of duty when our nation needed them the most and are worthy of recognition,” said Royce. “To these brave veterans of World War II, thank you for your sacrifice. We are a grateful nation, and we honor your service by working to build a better world.”

I’m proud to have co-led the introduction of this bill to award Chinese American WWII veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal,” said Lieu. “We will finally have the chance to honor the service and sacrifice of Chinese Americans who fought for the U.S. in WWII. By proudly serving their country, even in the face of the shameful Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese American veterans exemplified patriotism and demonstrated a deep commitment to the United States. As a veteran, I’m grateful to have worked on this legislation, along with Rep. Royce, and Sens. Duckworth, Cochran and Hirono, to honor the lives and legacies of these WWII heroes."

“The heartfelt considerations for this group by House Lead Co-sponsors Rep. Ed Royce (CA) and Rep. Ted Lieu (CA) and Senate Lead Co-sponsors Sen. Tammy Duckworth (IL), Thad Cochran (ret.) (MS), and Mazie Hirono (HI) mark a significant milestone for the nearly 20,000 Chinese American Veterans,” said Samantha Cheng, Project Director, the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project. “These Veterans and their families, as well as surviving family members of our departed, deem this recognition a most high honor from a grateful nation.”

"Having Congress approve the Congressional Gold Medal for Chinese American Veterans of World War II is momentous and the timing truly historic,” said Davace Chin, National President of Chinese American Citizens Alliance. “This month, as the nation reflects on the 75th Anniversary of the Magnuson Act, which ended 61 years of discrimination towards Chinese Americans, it is poignant and bittersweet.  Tens of thousands of Chinese American men and women enlisted at a difficult juncture in American history, when the Chinese Exclusion Act was still in effect.  We are grateful and appreciative for Congress’s recognition of service and sacrifice made by Chinese American veterans."

“We commend Congress for honoring the dutiful service and role of the Chinese American Veterans of World War II with the Congressional Gold Medal,” said Ed Gor, past president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance. 

Senators Duckworth and Hirono introduced the bipartisan legislation in May of last year with former Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). Since the American Revolution, Congress has issued gold medals to express its gratitude on behalf of the entire nation for distinguished achievements. The medal has been awarded to Veterans who served admirably in military conflicts as well as to civilians whose contributions have had a lasting impact on American history and culture.