Douglas Jung

From Asian Canadian Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Créer la version française

Douglas Jung



Douglas Jung, CM, OBC, CD (鄭天華, pinyin: Zhèng Tiānhuá) (February 24, 1924 – January 4, 2002) was the first Chinese Canadian Member of Parliament (MP) in the Canadian House of Commons.

Early life[edit]

Douglas Jung was born in Victoria, British Columbia, on February 24, 1925. During his childhood, the Government of Canada passed numerous pieces of legislation that disenfranchised Chinese in Canada. Jung and a group of young men from British Columbia enlisted in the Canadian Army during World War II in order to change the status of Chinese Canadians.

Although Jung enlisted himself in the Canadian Army back in 1939, he did not receive his first assignment until 1944, mainly because politicians in Ottawa and Victoria did not want to deal with the issues of enfranchising the Chinese after the war. However, Winston Churchill's wartime Special Operations Executive recruited Jung and a group of Chinese-Canadian soldiers who were sent to British Malaya to train local guerillas to resist the Japanese Imperial Army occupying Malaya and Singapore. The mission for the Asian Canadian soldiers was known as Operation Oblivion. However, the operation came to an abrupt cancellation, allowing Jung to lead his troops through China in their own search and rescue missions.

After the war, Chinese in Canada were enfranchised in 1947. Veterans Affairs Canada provided funds so that Jung and his Chinese-Canadian comrades could obtain a university education. Jung graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1953 with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees. In 1954, he was called to the British Columbia Bar.

Political career[edit]

Douglas Jung joined the Progressive Conservative Party in the early 1950s. He had vowed not to join the Liberal Party of Canada because of its racist legislation against Chinese in the past. Jung was elected as an MP in 1957, representing the riding of Vancouver Centre, under the John Diefenbaker government. In his maiden speech in the House of Commons, he urged Canada to take a leading role in serving as a bridge to the Pacific Rim countries.

Jung's other achievements include taking part in the debate on the implementation in 1960 by the Hon. Ellen Fairclough, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, of the Chinese Adjustment Statement Program that granted amnesty to illegal immigrants from Hong Kong, also known as "Paper Sons". He also represented Canada in the United Nations as an alternate member of the Legal Delegation to the United Nations (Source: Department of Foreign Affairs).

His profusion of honours included the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia, the highest honours a citizen can receive from the federal and provincial governments, respectively. Other awards came from the Chinese Benevolent Association, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Chinese Cultural Centre, Chinese Canadian National Council and Chinese Association in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Thunder Bay and Toronto, Ontario, as well as the Quebec Japanese Canadian Citizenship Association in Montreal.

Other achievements[edit]

Jung was also a prominent figure in the community, especially the Vancouver Chinese community. They include: Life President of Army Navy Air Force Veterans in Canada Unit #280, Patron of S.U.C.C.E.S.S.: Director of the Vancouver Symphony. B.C.: Deputy Director of the Governor General's 1992 Regional Celebration of Canada 125th Anniversary. Director of the Far East Relations of the Former Parliamentarians Association and the President of Japan Karate Association of Canada, which awarded him a sixth degree Black Belt.

On September 7, 2007, the Hon. Jason Kenney, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) announced that the federal building located at 401 Burrard Street in Vancouver would be named after Douglas Jung, as the first Chinese-Canadian elected to Parliament.


While marching with fellow veterans in 1995, Jung suffered a massive heart attack. He never completely recovered and died in 2002.