Funeral rites and ceremonies--China
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2018.034.002 Oral History Interview with Ti-Hua Chang

In this oral history, MOCA interviews Ti-Hua Chang, a Chinese American television news reporter who was the first journalist to cover the story of the Golden Venture when it ran aground off Rockaway Beach, Queens, on June 6, 1993. He discusses how he was first informed about the Golden Venture and the process of reporting on the event. Chang recounts how his news station had brought in an anti-immigration lawyer to speak on the story, and how he felt compelled to speak up to counter the lawyer’s hate rhetoric, launching into a speech about Chinese Exclusion and anti-Asian racism in the United States. His coverage continued during the detainments. He reveals that the ten individuals who drowned during the Golden Venture voyage were kept in the New York City morgue for months because no one wanted to bury them, and they were eventually sent to a pauper’s grave, where they were buried in stacks of five, which according to Chinese superstition, meant that their souls would never be at peace. When Thomas Sung, of the Abacus Federal Savings Bank, heard about this, he donated money to have the drowned individuals buried in separate plots. Chang speaks about the racist attitudes towards Chinese people in the United States and the issue of organized crime in the Chinese community. He believes that the Golden Venture passengers were unfairly detained to be made examples by the United States government to discourage Chinese undocumented immigration. He believes that the United States owes reparations to Chinese people, who built the Transcontinental Railroad and were integral to the development of this nation, and yet were met with Chinese Exclusion. Finally, he stresses the importance of having diverse newsrooms and journalists who would have the cultural competency to cover diverse stories.