New york times

"Review: A New Film Investigates the Time America Banned an Entire Race"

"The filmmakers and their cast of mostly Asian-American historians frame the Exclusion Act as part of a long national narrative of racism, xenophobia, predatory capitalism and political calculation. The China trade and the Opium Wars, the Civil War and the collapse of Reconstruction, and cycles of economic depression and labor unrest all figure into a story that doesn’t begin to turn until well after World War II. It’s also a cautionary tale, reminding us that open ideas about immigration and citizenship that are now under attack have only had currency since the 1960s."

Washington post

"Film explores Chinese Exclusion Act as US immigration ‘DNA’"

"Politicians seizing on immigrants as an election issue. Newspaper headlines calling for action. Talk of legislation to institute a ban.

"If viewers of “The Chinese Exclusion Act” documentary end up with a sense of deja vu between the film’s subject, a law from 1882 that barred Chinese people from coming to the United States, and current events, that’s pretty much the point, according to its filmmakers."


"'The Chinese Exclusion Act' Documentary Explores Roots of Xenophobic Policy"

"Director Li-Shin Yu told Deadline that the documentary shows how politicians and media outlets scapegoated the Chinese as enemy agents, thus pioneering a formula that successive generations of American leaders used against other immigrants of color. The rhetoric mirrors much of what President Donald Trump and his administration now use against Muslims and Latinxs.

"“The visual depiction of Chinese as rat-eating, of needing to build a wall to keep the hordes of Chinese from crossing the Pacific into our nation…it becomes this really powerful messaging,” Yu noted."

Huffington Post

"How The Chinese Exclusion Act Can Help Us Understand Immigration Politics Today

"“Many Americans today cannot believe this happened. How could this country, with its culture, with its politics, with its economics, do what it did against a whole class of people?” NYU professor John Kuo Wei Tchen says.

"But while watching the documentary amid today’s political climate, it isn’t unbelievable at all. Burns and Yu acknowledged that it doesn’t take much effort to see parallels to President Donald Trump’s America — though this was not their original intention, as they began working on the film six years ago, Burns said."