Hung Liu's Parody of 1892 Chinese Registration Certificate Requirement

       As if the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was not sufficiently degrading for Chinese, when it was extended in 1892 for another decade with the Geary Act, they were required to apply for an identity card or Certificate of Registration that they had to have with them at all times or risk deportation, as specified in Section 6. (Although some countries, including China, have or plan to have national identity cards, it would apply to all residents, and not just to one ethnic group as with the Geary Act)

Section 6 of the Geary Act (1892) that extended the 1882 Exclusion Law.

Example of A Certificate of Residence for A Laborer

Hung Liu, an activist artist living in the Bay Area was a child of the Cultural Revolution in Mao's China who left for the United States in 1984. Her work is strongly influenced by these roots as she noted, "History is not a static image or a frozen story. It is not a noun. Even if its images and stories are very old, it is always flowing forward. History is a verb. The new paintings are my way of painting life back into my memories of a propaganda film that, over time, has become a document of the revolutionary sincerity that permeated my childhood."
   In her 1988 installation, Resident Alien, Liu expressed her contempt for the outrageous identity certificate requirement imposed on Chinese in America with her mocking back-in-your-face defiant rendition of an identity card.

Excerpt from"Self As Diasporic Body: Hung Liu’s Self-Portrait Resident Alien"
by Dong Li Isbister Ohio State University, 2009

1988 Installation at Capp Street Project Archives, San Francisco

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