This California town ran its Chinese residents out. Now the story is finally being told by the reporters who were there.
One day in August, I arrived in China with the Los Angeles Times. We spent the day visiting the town of Jiangmen, in Hunan province. We walked over a bridge to the edge of the city, to a neighborhood called New Village, where Chinese people lived.
We arrived to a scene of unimaginable tragedy, said our Beijing bureau chief, Steve Fainaru.
“You can see the Chinese flag on the house,” he said. “There are 10-foot-high Chinese flags all around this neighborhood. It’s not like this in America.”
We found a Chinese doctor working in a small room. He said there were so many Chinese people here — there are now 200 in this neighborhood — that he was now having trouble telling them apart.
So we asked if he would call up the residents of this community and tell them to leave, to stop coming, and to return to their homes. He agreed.
We wrote up a piece with the headline: “Furious Chinese Expelled from Mainland.”
“I’m a foreigner,” a woman named Lin told us. “I have nothing here but my own problems and feelings.”
There was one moment that stood out in this story:
We arrived in a room in a neighborhood, and the woman I was with said, “I know this town. I grew up here. My parents live here. I don’t want to be here.”
I thought the woman would just leave and go back home to her parents, but she said, “I don’t have the courage to go back. I have to stay here. This was my happy place. I have to protect it.”
But here, when we went outside, the Chinese flag was there — and there were now only two Chinese flags on every street, and there were other flags flying on every house to make it look like there really was more Chinese out there.
“Do we know who lived here before? I don’t think so,” said our Beijing bureau chief. “I don�