Tongs, Sun Yat -Sen, Kuomintong, FDR and Boston's Chinatown

So here's an old story. Apparently way back in the day, like 1904 there once was a gangster named Szeto Mei .--- (I'm not blanking out the name. I'm just blanking out on the name) The Tongs were tight and Chinatown really was a separate world. I mean there were guys in queues back then having been forced out of California after building the railroad they had settled in Boston, right near the train station where they got off. Working stiffs made hardly any money. This was the era of phrases like "a chinaman's chance" having real meaning. But the Tong's controlled a ton of money. Because if you had money, where did you spend it? Gambling prostitution and opium.

So Sun Yat-sen is running all around too trying to start a revolution. Revolutions cost money. Revolutions also mean whoever your revolting against (the Manchus) will try to kill you, even if you're abroad. So Sun Yat-Sen ahd to hide out. A Chinese guy in a white neighborhood? yeah that kind of sticks out and even in a Chinatown you have to hide.

So he did spend some time in Boston, living on one of the Chinatown buildings for 4-5 days... or rather hiding there. Szeto took him in.. and of course if you are asking for contributions, it is the Tongs that are organized enough and rich enough to provide that money.

So later on 1911 Sun Yat-Sen actually launches a successful revolution... and you can read about that in the history books.

So apparently Szeto got so brazen once that he actually killed a white guy in Chinatown. Probably if you killed Chinese people it didn't matter, but a white guy, that's going to court.

But if you have the money and connections and the right lawyer you can get off.

Szeto did get the right lawyer. A very smart Groton educated (where he was manager of the JV baseball team) young man, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Crazy huh? Of course this was before he became president.

Dude there is a lot of crazy stuff and historical stuff that happened in Boston's Chinatown, but who don't here it on tours. There should be plaques about this stuff and mean this story that I just told (of course unverified and all that) is CRAZY! But I'm sure people could fact check. But people assume that oh Boston's Chinatown is just a quaint little neighborhood. They don't realize how historically significant it is for Global politics. I mean think of the movie that would make?