“Kung Flu”: A History of Hostility and Violence Against AAPIs

The history of hostility against AAPIs is told through trials related to mob massacres of AAPI communities, expulsions of AAPIs from neighborhoods, discriminatory governmental policies, and modern day discrimination illustrated by the case of the murder of Vincent Chin and the Vietnamese Fishermen v. the Ku Klux Klan. The play ends with an examination of the causes of and remedial measures for the resurgence of anti-Asian violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Special thanks to David Weinberg of JuryGroup for creating the slide presentation that accompanies the script.


RS NARRATOR 1: A mob of 150 armed white men, joined by women and children, attacked Chinatown. Many homes were looted; 79 were set ablaze. Some Chinese who were driven out of hiding by the flames were killed in the streets. Others burned to death in their cellars. Several hundred Chinese were chased into the surrounding hills. All together 28 Chinese were killed and 15 others were wounded.

RS NARRATOR 2: A week later, federal troops escorted many Chinese miners back to Rock Springs. Not all stayed, but some had little choice but to return to work. Sixteen of the rioters were arrested. The grand jury, however, refused to indict them. The foreman of the grand jury explained:

FOREMAN: We have diligently inquired into the occurrence at Rock Springs. . . . [T]hough we have examined a large number of witnesses, no one has been able to testify to a single criminal act committed by any known white person that day.

RS NARRATOR 1: The sixteen men were released, after just a few weeks in prison. On their release, a local paper reported that they were “met . . . by several hundred men, women and children, and treated to a regular ovation.” No one was ever convicted.



New York City Bar Association, New York, NY, March 24, 2022
NAPABA National Convention, Washington, DC, December 2021


Fordham APALSA, New York, NY, March 14, 2024
Drug and Medical Device Seminar, New Orleans, LA, May 4, 2023