Cover for WONG: American Paper Son: A Chinese Immigrant in the Midwest. Click for larger image

American Paper Son

A Chinese Immigrant in the Midwest

A captivating look at a hidden chapter in Chinese American history

During the height of racist anti-Chinese U.S. immigration laws, illegal aliens were able to come into the States under false papers identifying them as the sons of those who had returned to China to marry and have children. American Paper Son is the story of one such Chinese immigrant who came to Wichita, Kansas, in 1935 as a thirteen-year-old "paper son" to help in his father's restaurant there.

This vivid first-person account addresses significant themes in Asian American history through the lens of Wong's personal stories. Wong served in one of the all-Chinese units of the 14th Air Force in China during World War II and he discusses the impact of race and segregation on his experience. After the war he found a wife in Taishan, brought her to the US, and became involved in the government's infamous Confession program (an amnesty program for immigrants). Wong eventually became a successful real estate entrepreneur in Wichita. Rich with poignant insights into the realities of life as part of a very small Chinese American population in a midwestern town, this memoir provides an important new view of the Asian American experience away from the West Coast. Benson Tong adds a scholarly introduction and useful annotations.


"This is a fascinating personal story of a Chinese immigrant. . . .With his amazing memory, keen observations and vivid story-telling ability, Wong's personal accounts put a human face on a 'historical saga' of the Chinese American experience. . . . Written with humour and clarity, the book will be interesting to the scholar as well as the lay person."--Pacific Affairs


Wayne Hung Wong served in the U.S. Army 987th Signal Operation Company all-Chinese American unit during World War II and living in Wichita, KS. Benson Tong is currently an independent scholar.

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