Chinese applicants become American citizens

August 7, 2008 7:04:29 PM PDT
More than 100 people from China took the oath of American citizenship in San Jose. They were part of one of the largest naturalization ceremonies ever in the South Bay.

The line of soon to be U.S. Citizens stretched for nearly two hours. There were 6,000 anxious feet yearning for a new life, one that gives each voice, a vote.

Men and women from 107 countries stood shoulder to shoulder including those from the People's Republic of China.

For them, entry through this door is a true break from communist rule.

"11:55 I think it means freedom, democracy," said China applicant Howard Chou.

In a crowd of 3,000, 158 people are from China including an engineer who says he felt like an American since he immigrated here in 1997.

David Chen says the Olympic Games in his homeland have been a powerful motivator for change in China but it is gradual.

"Still they have a lot to improve especially in the human being rights," said Chen.

Chen says he does have a certain amount of pride that China is hosting the Olympics and there is a feeling by some that the games should not be used as leverage in the human rights debate.

"Sport is just sport and it shouldn't get the political scene involved," said China applicant Feng Lui.

On the eve of Olympic excitement, the Mok sisters say, this is the ceremony more precious than gold.

"The most happy day of my life and I am so proud to be citizen of America," said China applicant May Mok.

Chen waited 11 years for this moment. Raising his hand on Thursday merely sealed a bond he felt long ago.

"I just want to say I love the U.S., I love the U.S. of America," said Chen.


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