Vancouver mayor apologizes to Chinese public for historic discrimination



Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson apologized to the Chinese community for historic discrimination at a special city council meeting in the city's Chinatown on Sunday.

Since many of the early Chinese who were discriminated against came from Taishan, south China's Guangdong Province, Robertson’s apology was read out in English, and two different dialects of that area.

“On this day on behalf of city council and city of Vancouver, I sincerely apologize for these past injustices and their cruel effects on individuals and their families and commit to ensuring that similar unjust practices are never again allowed to fall on any group or community,” said the Mayor.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson along with city councilors.

Chinese all over the world are able to witness this moment in history. From being forced to pay the head tax to accepting an apology from the host government, while exploring the reasons behind it, hundred years of Chinese workers' bitter history are discovered.

“Historical wrongs addressed by the apology include Chinese residents being denied basic human rights, the right to own property and to choose which neighborhoods they wanted to live in.

“From 1885 to 1923, it's estimated that 82,000 people from China were required to pay up to two years’ worth of wages to gain entry to Canada,” said one report from the CBC.

Robertson read from the apology: "I rise today to recognize and repudiate such acts that stigmatized and dehumanized the Chinese-Canadian community of Vancouver."

Hundreds of people witnessed the City of Vancouver make a formal apology on Sunday.

"I rise today to formally apologize to the Chinese community of Vancouver and to all Canadians of Chinese ancestry for discriminatory legislation."

Vancouver is not the first city to apologize for the discrimination of Chinese. The apology was also enacted in the United States in 2011 and 2012. On November 10, 2011, San Francisco elected its first Chinese mayor, Ed Lee.

According to incomplete statistics, there are nearly 50 Chinese museums, memorials and exhibition halls around the world.

The apology was delivered on the same day of Vancouver’s Chinatown cultural day. Chinese culture through food tasting, games, crafts, dancing, music, tours and other ceremonies were showcased as well.