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City leaders observe 'Chinese Massacre' anniversary

October 23, 2011 |  8:17 am

Los Angeles leaders planned to gather downtown Sunday morning to remember the 18 men and boys killed in the city's “Chinese Massacre” 140 years ago.

On the night of Oct. 24, 1871, a hysterical mob of 500 besieged what was then Chinatown in downtown L.A., killing at least 18. The lynching was sparked after a white man was killed when he got caught in the crossfire in a fight between Chinese gangs.

The convictions of seven men charged in the massacre were overturned because of a legal flaw in their indictment.

A decade later, in 1882, the U.S. enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act to prohibit Chinese immigration and prevent Chinese immigrants already living in the country from becoming naturalized citizens. The U.S. Senate earlier this month passed a resolution apologizing for that and other anti-Chinese discriminatory laws.

Los Angeles elected officials and community leaders planned to observe the anniversary of the massacre Sunday. El Pueblo Commission member David Louie, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Assemblyman Mike Eng, among others, were to gather at 8 a.m. at the Placita de Dolores, by the big bell, at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument across the street from Union Station.

— Abby Sewell