100 Years after the Chinese Exclusion Act: An Exhibition in the Senate of Canada

OTTAWA, June 5, 2023 – The Senate of Canada will host “Reflections on Exclusion: An Exhibition on the Chinese Immigration Act, 1923” from Tuesday, June 6 to Friday, June 23. The exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of this discriminatory law, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, and gives voice to Chinese-Canadians impacted by it. The exhibition is open to the public and is free of charge. Visitors can register for a Senate of Canada Building visitor pass.

The exhibition features Chinese Immigration Certificates and key parliamentary documents tracing the path of the Act. Among the highlights is a unique installation by acclaimed artist Don Kwan, and a collage of portraits, each telling a personal story of struggle, resilience, and perseverance.

With its roots in a series of racist laws passed by the Government of Canada from 1885, the Chinese Immigration Act severely limited Chinese immigration and created a climate of fear among the Chinese in Canada. This exhibition serves as a tangible link to that past and a call for vigilance against modern forms of exclusion.

Hosted by the Senate of Canada, which bears joint responsibility (together with the House of Commons) for passing the Chinese Exclusion Act, the exhibition is as much a tribute to the courage of Chinese-Canadians as it is a reflection on how lawmakers can err in profound ways.

The exhibition is curated by Jiaqi Wu from the office of Senator Yuen Pau Woo, with the support of the Offices of the Speaker of the Senate of Canada and the Black Rod, the Chinese Canadian Museum (Vancouver), the Library of Parliament, and the Canadian Museum of History.

The exhibition is one of numerous events and activities across Canada to mark the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, including a National Remembrance Ceremony that will be held in the Senate of Canada on 23 June 2023, in partnership with Action! Chinese Canadians Together (ACCT)

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