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While the Oregon woman suffrage story fits within the politically democratic landscape in the United States and is honored on occasion, the Chinese woman suffrage story is not given the full appreciation or even the correct interpretation.Newspaper accounts suggest that, for a time during the 1912 campaign, white Oregon suffragists saw Chinese women as sisters in the battle for equal suffrage and gave them their complete support.
For example, on April 12, 1912 the reported that “side by side with their Caucasian sisters, seven Portland Chinese women sat at a banquet…
the feast was attended by 150 equal suffrage workers,” which was unheard of at the time.
Thus, as Louise Edwards demonstrates, Chinese suffragists began campaigning for the “reassert [ion] [of] their ‘natural rights’ to equality and liberty as human beings.” During the 1912 votes for women campaign in Oregon, many activists believed that Chinese women would soon achieve the vote.
Oregon woman suffragists were optimistic about the Chinese woman suffrage movement, but that did not mean that they received or reported an accurate representation of the Chinese suffrage story.
It is possible that supporters of Chinese suffrage saw the abdication of the last Qing ruler, Hsuan Tung, on February 12, 1912, as a precursor for national suffrage.
The campaign committee of the Portland Woman’s Club also sent a message after hearing the news to Moy Back Hin, the Chinese consul in Oregon, which stated, “Through you we send greetings and congratulations to the great republic of China, that, in establishing the most modern form of government, it has made the republic a government of all the people, and not a government of half the people, as we have on Oregon.” Therefore, by comparing Oregon’s democracy, with China’s newfound democracy, they perceived China’s struggles and gains as their very own.
Therefore, suffrage became a goal that was shared by women across racial and national boundaries. Chan, who was not only a physician, but also the president of a local equal suffrage society for Chinese women in Oregon.
In Portland, transnational groups were established by members of the community such as Mrs. While much of their work is currently unknown, it is clear that Oregon suffragists were affiliated with Chinese American women’s groups located in the Portland area.
“[Are] the women of this association [Equal Suffrage Association of Portland] really justified in using this erroneous statement as a means toward their end? Whether or not Oregon suffragists, including Chinese American groups, knew this fact, they consciously decided to utilize the Chinese movement for their own gain.
The Oregon suffragists who were working on the 1912 campaign saw the democratic movement as progressive and inspiring.
In China in 1911, when the Qing monarchy was dissolved and the Republic of China was established, many Chinese women assumed that the new democracy meant the empowerment of all citizens.