Presentation to DCA Board meeting on July 16, 2020

By SEC member Douglas Hsia

I would like to thank DCA for having organized all the SEC meetings since December last year. I am honored to be given the opportunity to serve our community. The process has given me an invaluable opportunity to learn all about the process and share it with my constituents. Since the pandemic took place, I have compiled a report of our SEC meetings and posted them on the website of Locke Foundation. Then I posted a teaser on six Delta community Facebook pages so that the readers can click onto the Locke Foundation websites to read my full report.

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Hsia Douglas

I appreciate that the north and south Haul Road to be built parallel to the River Road will help prevent the disastrous rumbling of trucks shaking down the old structures of Locke and Courtland. In a way, the people involved with the Delta heritage community can breathe a sigh of relief. I also learned that DCA had redesigned the location of the Central alignment in accordance with SEC member Sean Wirth’s suggestion, making it less harmful to wildlife near Staten Island. We see the positive results of the SEC and DCA working together.

My heart lies with the Delta heritage. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the Delta legacy stories I shared with the DCA Board. Everybody knows Locke, being the National Historical Landmark on par with the Golden Gate Bridge. Thousands of Chinese laborers built thousands of miles of levee to create the California Delta. This resulted in the creation of approximately one million acres of some of the most fertile agricultural lands in the country.

But very few people know about the significance of Chinese history in relationship to the history of the Delta. Since the beginning of the Qing dynasty in 1644, the Chinese were determined to overthrow it because it was governed by the Manchurians. They were the nomads from the north who managed to conquer and govern the entire China. The Indigenous Chinese people, the Hans, blamed the Manchurians for the tyranny, mismanaging the country and letting China fall behind the western powers and subject China to all kind of humiliations.

Why is it relevant to America? It is relevant because 260 years of revolutionary effort was finally made successful by Dr Sun Yet Sen in 1912.

Dr. Sun grew up in China but spent his formative years in Hawaii attending both Lolani college and Punahou, the same school President Obama attended.

While in exile from China, he came to the Delta on numerous occasions to raise funds from the Chinese laborers for the revolution. Dr. Sun’s village of origin is the very same village of the people of Courtland and Locke. This explained why he was assisted by the Chinese people of Courtland.

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Old Courtland bustling with activities

We are only now in the process of collecting evidence about his activity in the Delta because it was deemed a secret at the time. He was wanted by the Qing Govt. The merchant community, the establishment in San Francisco, sided with the Manchurian Qing Emperor. Therefore, it is now required of us to research and collect the hard evidence of Dr. Sun’s activities.

In 1912, after Dr. Sun’s revolution overthrew the Qing dynasty, Dr. Sun was made the founding father of modern China. He is well respected by both the communist China, the present regime of China, as well as the Nationalist Govt which is the Government of today’s Taiwan.

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The young pilots were having a field day during training.

The connection between the modern China and Courtland is reflected by the fact that the very first batch of Chinese air force pilots were trained in Courtland, by an American Harry Abbot, a flying circus man who later was ranked Lieutenant Colonel of the Chinese Air Force. He was the man who trained young Chinese pilots and later went to China to help found the air force.

There were documents showing the Chinese Govt bought the Curtiss JN 4 planes. Extensive training was carried out over the farmlands in the Delta. When the training was complete, the young pilots performed an impressive graduation airshow to the public. Then they packed the planes to be shipped to China. The night before the shipping, a mysterious fire broke out and engulfed the planes. Fortunately, nobody was injured. It was well publicized in the newspapers. These are all stories waiting for us to tell. We have a serious mission ahead of us to collect and preserve this all-important history.

The Chinese American community does not have a Martin Luther King, nor do we have a Cesar Chavez. There is no known street bearing a Chinese name let alone a town. The Delta is the only region that carries the footprint of the American Chinese. All the China towns in major cities are merely a part of a city. Original China towns in L.A., Stockton and Sacramento were all systemically removed.

While all attention was paid to the movement of Black Life Matters, it may result further blanching out of Chinese American legacy. The Delta may be the only place that can offer this legacy a sanctuary. The wholeness of Delta is all important to the Chinese American legacy.

By wholeness, I meant its wildlife, salmon runs, Pacific Flyway for the migratory birds, people’s enjoyment of recreations, the agriculture and the pride of America owning this jewel of nature. This has everything to do with the quality of water in the Sacramento River.

I therefore urged the DCA to protect the way of life here in the Delta , the wholeness of the Delta.



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