Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson make a formal apology to the Chinese community. (Vancouver Mayor’s Office)

Vancouver’s Chinese community receives apology for historical discrimination

More than 500 people gathered at the Chinese Cultural Centre for the event

Vancouver city council has delivered a formal apology to the Chinese community for historical discrimination.

Mayor Gregor Robertson, who read the apology in the English, said it was an important day to come together, recognize wrongdoings and build a better future.

The apology publicly acknowledged past legislation, regulations and policies of previous city councils that discriminated against residents of Chinese descent.

Former city councils barred residents of Chinese descent from voting until 1948, and from civic employment until 1952.

They also advocated for discriminatory policies like the federal head tax, and made various attempts at segregating public spaces like swimming pools and cemeteries.

More than 500 people gathered at the Chinese Cultural Centre for the event, which was part of a larger Chinatown Cultural Day celebration.

Former Vancouver City councillors Maggie Ip and Bill Yee read the apology in Cantonese and the Sze Yup dialect.

The City of New Westminster became the first B.C. municipality to formally apologize to Chinese-Canadians for past discrimination in 2010.

In 2015, Chinese-Canadians received an apology from then-premier Christy Clark on behalf of British Columbia for more than 100 racist laws, regulations and policies of past B.C. governments.

Premier John Horgan called Sunday’s apology “necessary and important.

“Members of the Chinese community were denied basic human rights, including the right to own property and live in a neighbourhood of their choosing. Families were broken apart by the head tax,” Horgan said in a statement.

“They were denied the right to vote, and to hold public office. They were restricted to working in dangerous and undesirable jobs, and they couldn’t freely pursue an education.”

In 2006, the federal government offered an apology for the head tax imposed on Chinese immigrants and included $20,000 in compensation for families or surviving people who paid the tax.

The Canadian Press


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