From chasing the American dream to fighting affirmative action

Mr George Li, president of Chinese-American political action committee The Orange Club, worries that race-based school admissions would hurt his children's chances. He wants to stop Democrats in the California legislature from gaining a "supermajorit
Mr George Li, president of Chinese-American political action committee The Orange Club, worries that race-based school admissions would hurt his children's chances. He wants to stop Democrats in the California legislature from gaining a "supermajority" that could let them reinstate affirmative action.PHOTO: NYTIMES
Mr George Li, president of Chinese-American political action committee The Orange Club, worries that race-based school admissions would hurt his children's chances. He wants to stop Democrats in the California legislature from gaining a "supermajorit
Ms Sarah Yang, a founding member of The Orange Club, says her daughter is aware of the high standards she faces as an Asian-American to get into elite colleges.PHOTO: NYTIMES

Once politically dormant, Chinese-Americans are taking a stand on issues like race-based school admissions

Mr George Li grew up in a Chinese society that he felt did not offer a fair shake. The government of Mao Zedong deemed his family capitalists and imprisoned his father. So when Mr Li moved to California in 1999, he felt he had found his American dream.

He worked hard and earned his rewards: a master's degree, then a job that allowed him to live comfortably with his wife and two children. But four years ago, he became alarmed when a co-worker told him about a state measure that would allow California's public universities to use affirmative action in their admissions.

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 12, 2018, with the headline 'From chasing the American dream to fighting affirmative action'. Print Edition | Subscribe