2012 Year in Review


Szeto Wah, a former political activist in Hong Kong who was affectionately known as Uncle Wah, died of lung cancer on January 2. He was 79 years old.

Li Rong Zhang, a 39-year-old Quincy woman, was ac¬cused of killing her 8-year-old son, Brandon Yang, who reportedly died of carbon monoxide poisoning in their Germantown apartment on January 13.


On February 7, the Massachusetts Asian American Commission (AAC) hosted a reception honoring the newly elected and reelected Asian American legislators – Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Second Suffolk), Rep¬resentative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy) and Representative Donald Wong (R-Saugus).

Disappointing news hit supporters of the proposed Boston Chinese Immer¬sion Charter School (BCICS). On February 17, Massachusetts education commis¬sioner Mitchell Chester recommended that seventeen applications be granted charters by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education – of which BCICS was not one.

Ellen Zane, president and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children for more than seven transformative years, announced on February 17 that she would retire from her role in the fall.


On March 11, the Bos¬ton Chinatown Neigh¬borhood Center (BCNC) hosted its 23rd annual Chinese New Year ban¬quet at Empire Garden Restaurant. The sold out event had a turnout of more than 600 guests and supporters and raised more than $200,000.

More than 300 professionals, business leaders, and executives gathered at the W Boston hotel on March 29th to honor Chinatown’s Frank Chin and seven other individuals, including Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The event marked the third anniversary of “Get Konnected!” Boston’s premier professional and busi¬ness networking event for people of all cultures.

City Council District 2 candidate Suzanne Lee held her first campaign fundraiser at China Pearl Restau¬rant in Chinatown on March 30, attracting more than 300 supporters.


The Zoning Commission of the City of Boston approved the petition for the ap¬proval of the Amended and Restated De¬velopment Plan for Planned Development Area No. 60 – The Kensington, after a pub¬lic hearing at Boston City Hall on April 6. The amendments to the previous proposal include alterations to the proposed height of the building, park¬ing plan and number of parking spaces, and number of units within the building.


Josiah Quincy Elementary School (JQES) in Chinatown hosted a celebration and recep¬tion to honor one of its 5th grade teachers, Wai Chin Ng, who was one of 85 national recipi¬ents to receive a Presidential Award for Excel¬lence in Science and Mathematics Teaching.

Students from the University of Massa¬chusetts Boston showcased their filmmaking and storytelling talents in an exhibition at the Boston Apple Store on May 16. An audience that swelled from 40 to nearly 80 members sat and stood to watch several student films from the UMass undergraduate course, titled Asian American Media Literacy, all produced on the Apple software program, iMovie.


On June 4, The Association of Overseas Hong Kong Chinese for Democracy and Human Rights and the China Long March for Democracy organized a memorial service in remem¬brance of the 22nd Anniversary of the Ti¬ananmen Massacre at the Yenching Audi¬torium at Harvard University. More than 40 people were present.

On a day marred by cloudy, chilly weather, hundreds of spectators crowded the banks of the Charles River to catch a glimpse of the performances, taste some of the food, and cheer for their favorite teams in the dragon boat races on June 12.

Giant tents were put up on a sunny Father’s Day for the largest outdoor wor¬ship service in Chinatown. Over 1500 congregants of the Boston Chinese Evan¬gelical Church (BCEC) celebrated its fifti¬eth anniversary on the basketball courts adjacent to the Quincy Upper School.


On July 22, Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children announced that Eric J. Beyer had been selected as its next President and Chief Executive Officer – assuming leadership of the hospital October 1 as outgoing President and CEO Ellen Zane retires. Beyer had been President and CEO of the Tufts Medical Center Physicians Organization since 2005, and in this role had been a key architect of the hospital’s strategy throughout his tenure.

On July 28, an APIAVote-sponsored bilingual (Cantonese and English) session of “Meet the Candidates Speaker Series – U.S. Senate” brought Setti Warren, a Democratic candidate for the 2012 U.S. Senate Scott Brown seat to Chinatown. Cambridge City Councilor of Asian descendent Leland Cheung also attended the session to show his support. The session was the first in the series that allowed Chinatown residents the opportunity to meet candidates from all over Massachusetts.


Despite a day marred with showers, hundreds turned up to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival at Boston’s China¬town on August 14. More than twenty-five stalls, selling a variety of prod¬ucts, from handmade souvenirs to International calling cards to Asian DVDs, set up white tents to showcase their goods and add to the atmosphere that enveloped China¬town during the annual celebration

Census data showed that nearly one in every four residents in Quincy, Massachusetts is now Asian, and along with this development the data also showed that Asians have the highest median household income in the city of Quincy. However, census data suggested that Asians in Quincy have the lowest median income per capita, raising the question as to just how well the increasing Asian population is assimilating in the Quincy community, as well as immigrant issues such as illegal housing and the language barrier.

In the face of a down economy and falling household incomes, fewer Asians in the United States were living under the poverty line, according to data from the Census Bureau that was released. Only 12.1 percent of Asians, comprising of 1,729 people, were categorized as living under the poverty line in 2010, as opposed to 12.5 percent, some 1,746 people, in 2009 – a decline of 0.4 percent. Asians were the only race that showed improvement on the poverty front, while other categories of races (White, Hispanic, and Black) all showed increases in poverty numbers.

On September 30, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the unveiling of new furniture for public use at the Rose Kennedy Greenway Chinatown Park. Nine bright-green umbrellas, 13 tables, and sea¬sonal plantings were revealed at the ceremony, which was attended by members of many of the local organi¬zations as well as Tufts University and local govern¬ment officials. Funds are in place to ensure that the seasonal plantings are kept up-to-date and relevant flora is planted.

When compared to the same period last year, crime in Chinatown has been on the decline, according to statistics prepared by Boston Police Captain Bernard O’Rourke and presented during the monthly Chinatown Safety Committee meeting. During the month of September all crime declined, with the most improvement occurring in the category of robber¬ies, which fell from five in 2010 to three in 2011, and Auto Theft, which dropped from three in 2010 to two in 2011.


In a banquet held in outgoing Tufts Medical Center CEO Ellen Zane’s honor on October 3 at China Pearl Res¬taurant in Chinatown, the medi¬cal center’s host neighborhood, prominent members of the Chi¬natown community as well as government officials and friends of Zane all looked back on her achievements over the last sev¬en years. One attendee, Peter K. Chan, even composed and pre¬sented a poem to Zane in com¬memoration of her accomplish¬ments and in appreciation of the work she has done to improve community health and affairs in the Chinatown.


Due to the city’s large Asian popula¬tion, Quincy was required to provide Chinese-language ballots. However, due to the proximity of the upcoming fall elections, the bilingual ballots were not required to be printed until next year, accord¬ing to a Boston Globe report. Census data from 2010 showed Quin¬cy’s Asian population had reached 24 percent resulting in the federal gov¬ernment sending official notice that future ballots would have to be printed in both Chinese and English,

The Boston Asian American Film Festival, a weekend (November 10-13) packed with feature-length films, short films, and interviews with Asian American directors and actors, set a new record after receiving more than twice as many submissions than there was room in the program for. Each of the films and shorts were hand picked by the team of BAAFF coordina¬tors based on their content, production value, and diversity of cultures depicted.

On November 8, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Sir Donald Tsang, spent an evening speaking about his term as the leader of Hong Kong, the prog¬ress of the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, as well as addressing concerns and questions from audience members in a question-and-answer session at the Har¬vard Kennedy School of Government.

As Chinatown continued its search for a permanent cultural center for the neigh¬borhood, plans were made to set up a reading room and pilot program in Oak Terrace for early 2012.


In a first-of-its-kind event held in China¬town, the Asian American Civic Association Youth Council organized a College Day in which students, parents and college admis¬sions representatives had the opportunity to meet and talk about the college admis¬sions process and financial aid. More than 175 students and parents attend¬ed the event which hosted 15 colleges from around Massachusetts. A seminar on finan¬cial aid, held in Chinese, was geared toward parents eager to learn more about ways to fund their child’s education.

Riled and united by the Committee on Cen¬sus and Redistricting’s first proposed map which, first seen before Thanksgiving, split Chinatown in half, many residents of Chi¬natown, as well as Mission Hill and South Boston, turned up to the latest redistricting hearing on December 9 to look at Councilor Linehan’s newest proposed map, as well as voice their concerns and opinions, mostly on the speed at which the process is happening.


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