The celebration for new ownership of the Seattle Chinese Post website at Joyale Restaurant. From left: Belinda Louie, Lua Pritchard, Assunta Ng, Nancy Chang, Jun Liu, and Lei Pei.
By Kai Curry
When the Seattle Chinese Post (SCP) announced that it was closing, there were tears. A lifeline that the community had counted on for four decades was becoming a thing of the past. Now, SCP will have a new life online with the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) in Tacoma, starting Oct. 5.
“This is absolutely fantastic for APCC. It is a wonderful and iconic opportunity for APCC to continue the legacy of Assunta Ng, who has provided this service to the Chinese people of Washington state for so many years in the past,” said APCC Executive Director Faaluaina (Lua) Pritchard. This announcement of Ng donating the Post to APCC comes on the heels of APCC’s groundbreaking of their new facility, and an intention to offer even more to the community.
SCP—the first Chinese newspaper in the Pacific Northwest since 1927—will move over to APCC with three of its long-time contributors, who will carry on the work in a freelancing capacity. SCP will have no connection to the Northwest Asian Weekly, its sister publication prior to closure, which continues to run online.
“This is an absolute need for the Chinese community to have a Chinese platform, and I am happy to be able to contribute more,” said Nancy Chang, who worked for SCP for 31 years before its closure in January. “I came from Taiwan and majored in Chinese literature. This was my first job in the United States. First, I was a typist, doing advertising, then I was writing news and translating English articles, and then I was an editor.” In addition to reviewing the work of her colleagues, Chang also provides information on weekly community news activities and cultural reports.
“I knew one day that SCP would come to an end, but when it came, I still felt sad,” commented Jun Liu, who was SCP’s news editor and newspaper layout and advertisement designer for 20 years. “SCP had been working for the community for so many years as the oldest Asian newspaper in Seattle. However, I also felt content knowing that SCP had already impacted the lives of many people.”
Liu will be working on U.S. news for the new online version of SCP, after the move.
“It’s very exciting and I’m very thankful,” Liu said about the announcement to donate to APCC. “The Asian community, especially elders, can continue to get useful news and information that can be helpful for their daily lives. I hope SCP can stay as long as it can…”
There have usually been ways to find news in one’s language about China and other Asian countries, at a national or international level. The same could not be said about local news in Chinese until Ng started SCP in 1982. Even so, Ng did not fully realize the impact that closing SCP would have on residents, especially seniors.
“Pretty soon after the news announcement, people came to me and said, ‘That’s terrible that you’re going to shut down the Chinese Post…Somebody said, ‘I really miss you.’ I said, ‘You don’t miss me. You miss the paper!’ I asked some non-English speaking seniors, ‘Do you get any news now?’ and they said, “No, it’s very hard to get news.’”
It was fortuitous, then, that APCC stepped up to restart this vital service.
“I wasn’t thinking about donating it to anybody,” Ng shared. “Then I started thinking, maybe I should donate to a nonprofit.”
Ng then called the vice president of APCC’s board, Belinda Louie, and told her, “I want to donate the Chinese Post website. She said, ‘Let me call Lua.’ Lua instantly told Louie over the phone that ‘It’s an honor to take over.’ It was very touching.”
SCP’s website had been operating at a reduced level since the official closure in January, updating mainly health-related articles. Now, with its rebirth at APCC, there will be an intention to cover not only news from King and Pierce counties, but all around Washington state. “I feel very good and excited about it because Lua has a great vision,” Ng said. The fact that SCP will now be in Tacoma will not mean that only Tacoma news items will be shown. “Lua wants to expand the services,” Ng explained. It will be, in essence, a “Washington Chinese Post.”
“They see the value,” Ng added. “I feel so lucky to have found a good fit.”
“I have been reading the Seattle Chinese Post since it was first published in 1982,” Louie stated. “The Chinese community really needed, and still needs, a newspaper in a language that we can read and on issues that we care about. The publisher of the Seattle Chinese Post always reports on news that impacts the Chinese community the most.”
For instance, Ng commented that local news about anti-Asian hate crimes was something residents could read about in the Post, so that they could take precautions and feel better about going about their days.
“Informed citizenship is the backbone of a strong community,” Louie continued. “The knowledge helps us to know how to participate in emerging situations, allowing us to be proactive and to voice our perspectives before decisions are made and done. A local Chinese newspaper is a vehicle of equity without which many Chinese speaking citizens will be marginalized in this fast-paced world.”
“Lua, a visionary, is great at connecting the dots,” Ng said. “The best is yet to come for SCP under APCC, an amazing organization.”
“When Lua shared the news that Assunta was ‘gifting’ the Chinese Post to APCC, I was surprised! Then realized that she was entrusting her legacy to the APCC in the community, whose mission is to ‘bridge communities and generations through art, culture, education, and business’... and a successful future for the Chinese Post!” said Elaine Ishihara, APCC board member and Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Advocating Together for Health executive director. “Serving my legacy. I didn’t think of it,” Ng humbly responded. The neighborhood has spoken. And Ng, as ever, has given back to the community an important lifeline and a cultural pillar.
“Thank you, Assunta, for trusting the Asia Pacific Cultural Center to carry on this wonderful, much needed service to the Chinese Community of Washington state,” said Pritchard. “You have worked so very hard to provide the Chinese community with news through the Chinese Post for so many years. It is our great honor and we are so very proud to take over this program moving into the future for our future AANHPI generations through APCC.”
Kai can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The website version of Seattle Chinese Post and rights continue publishing the website was donated by Assunta Ng and John Liu to Asia Pacific Cultural Center on Oct. 5, 2023. Asia Pacific Cultural Center does not own the prior print publication of the Seattle Chinese Post.“