“January 1, 1979 for many Chinese Americans (those of Chinese ancestry who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents) was a joyous moment. They enthusiastically welcomed the normalization of relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China as it ended the politically charged and long-hostile relationship between the two countries: one, their land of ancestry — no matter that for some it was four or five generations past — and the other, their land of nationality for themselves and their families for now and the future. Few saw the moment as validating the politics of either the PRC or the U.S. – politics per se was not the reason for celebration. A major step toward full social and cultural acceptance in American life was the reason for Chinese American hopefulness.”

From Chinese Americans and China: A Fraught and Complicated Relationship by Gordon H. Chang, Olive H. Palmer Professor, Stanford University.

Written for the Carter Center’s symposium to commemorate President Carter’s 1979 decision to normalize relations with China. View or download the paper here.

Credit: Stanford University