By The Canadian Press, on November 11, 2017
Henry Yu, a professor in the history department at the University of British Columbia, says the federal government did not want Chinese-Canadians fighting in the war because of fears they’d demand the vote.
“They’d seen it already because several hundred Chinese and Japanese had fought for Canada in World War I and when those veterans returned they asked for the vote. So they knew from experience in World War I that this was going to be a problem,” Yu says. “They wanted to maintain white supremacy.”
Chinese-Canadians were recruited into Force 136 with the belief they’d blend in behind enemy lines, he says.
Catherine Clement, curator of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver’s Chinatown, says the little-known story of Force 136 has been mostly forgotten and there are few records of the clandestine group of spies that was part of Britain’s Special Executive Operations.
“They created this double victory,” she says of Lee and the Chinese-Canadian veterans. “They helped the Allies win the war and they also helped to win the rights for all Chinese living in Canada.”
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