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N.Y. Chinese-Americans decry soldier's death

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:40 a.m. HST, Jul 23, 2012

NEW YORK >> Chinese-Americans decrying the suicide of a teenage Army private who allegedly was hazed because of his ethnicity left today for the North Carolina court martial for one of eight U.S. soldiers accused of pushing Danny Chen to the edge.

Dozens of supporters of Chen's family held a news conference in Manhattan before some boarded a van for the 10-hour trip to Fayetteville.

On a hot summer morning, they first gathered in Columbus Park, in the middle of Manhattan's Chinatown, surrounded by longtime neighborhood residents. Some listened from nearby tables while playing checkers and chatting in Chinese.

The group included community members, elected officials, a Vietnam War veteran and filmmakers making a documentary on the case. Chen's parents and other relatives left for North Carolina on Sunday.

"The verdict will have profound implications, not only for our ethnic group, but for all Americans who expect their government to give them both freedom and protection," said Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership, a New York development group.

A sign held by one supporter read: "We are all Danny Chen."

His suicide over what military officials said was extreme physical and emotional abuse, in addition to nearly one suicide a day among America's troops, "means that there is something wrong with the system," said Chen, no relation to the family.

"We want justice for Pvt. Danny Chen," declared Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, a nonprofit advocacy group that helped move the case forward. "The chain of command failed Pvt. Danny Chen, but our justice system cannot."

Military officials have said the 19-year-old soldier shot himself on Oct. 3 in a guardhouse in Afghanistan after weeks of abuse at the hands of fellow soldiers. They called him "Jackie Chen," his family said.

They said the abuse started while in training, and continued when he was deployed to Afghanistan.

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inverse wrote:
This is a one sided article as they don't mention how Chen was caught sleeping while on guard duty numerous times and was a main factor for being singled out and chastised by his unit. If the worst his team members did was make him do situps, pushups and call him "Jackie Chen", then the case has NO merit. The military has some screening to prevent people who have NO BUSINESS being frontline soldiers who need to responsibly ki ll or be kil led, but how about SOME personal responsibility for people to know their own limitations and capabilities and NOT put themselves in situations where they are unable to handle and/or adequately perform BEFORE they end up killing themselves or others.
on July 23,2012 | 01:28PM
toisangirl wrote:
How one-sided is this? Take these excerpts from various national articles about the Danny Chen case. “Military officials have said the 19-year-old soldier shot himself on Oct. 3 in a guardhouse in Afghanistan after weeks of abuse at the hands of fellow soldiers. For months, beginning during training, soldiers in his platoon peppered him with racial insults such as "Jackie Chen" and "Dragon Lady." "On the day he died, Chen was forced to crawl across gravel carrying his equipment while his fellow soldiers pelted him with rocks, according to his family, with whom he shared details of his ordeal." "According to court documents, Chen was kicked, was dragged from his tent and had sandbags tied to his arms. Chen was assaulted with kicks to his thighs and torso. He was forced to low crawl along gravel, dragged from his tent and had sandbags tied to each of his arms. From August until his death, soldiers with Chen's platoon peppered him with insults related to his race, calling him "Dragon Lady," "Fortune Cookie" and similar names, documents say.” Is this “normal” behavior by military superiors and peers? (I guess so since the Air Force lets in a bunch of rapists apparently). Good leaders and superiors are supposed to lead and guide not turn on their subordinates. If there was any question about Pvt. Chen’s abilities, would he have passed the rigors of basic training to become a soldier? One soldier who served commented that "If Chen had a good leader, chances are, he wouldn't have been sleeping at his post." In this case, his peers and superiors all crossed the line. Take a good luck at all the national articles for the details surrounding this case..
on July 23,2012 | 03:52PM
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