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Original Chinese association changes its name to better serve the community

The original Moose Jaw Chinese Association (MJCA) is changing its name to better serve the community after an upstart group “hijacked” the name in 2019 without consulting anyone first.

The original Moose Jaw Chinese Association (MJCA) is changing its name to better serve the community after an upstart group “hijacked” the name in 2019 without consulting anyone first.

The original group has rebranded itself as the Moose Jaw Chinese Community Network (MJCCN), although the name remains the same when written in that language. 

“I must emphasize the word original as it is the true and the original MJCA that I have known of since I came to Moose Jaw in 1965,” Kim Chow, former group president, told the Moose Jaw Express in 2021.

“Two years ago, another group in Moose Jaw knowingly hijacked our association’s name (of) ‘Moose Jaw Chinese Association and named themselves as the ‘Moose Jaw Chinese Association Inc.’ Unfortunately, this causes some confusion for people in Moose Jaw, as well as for new Chinese people residing in Moose Jaw.”

The non-profit organization has supported and represented the Chinese community since the first immigrants arrived here in the 1880s to lay tracks for Canadian Pacific Railway. One of the first groups to form and help immigrants settle was the Chinese Benevolent Society, which later became the Moose Jaw Chinese Association sometime in the 1900s. 

The group later rebranded itself as the Chinese Athletic Club in the early 1960s. Chinese residents were involved in two main groups during the next few decades, although those organizations amalgamated in 2008 and became known as the unregistered — but original — Moose Jaw Chinese Association. 

The association’s executive wanted to speak with the woman who took the name — Wei Qi, president of the Moose Jaw Chinese Association Inc. — to discuss the situation, said Judy Quon, interim president of MJCCN. Quon believes Qi knew what she was doing when she poached the name since she had attended a past association Chinese New Year banquet. 

“We tried to explain the importance of maintaining that name for our organization, but that person had registered it and wasn’t willing to relinquish the name, so we didn’t have many other options but to decide on a new name,” Quon continued. 

The association never considered registering its name as a corporation in 2008 because it was a volunteer group, she added. The Chinese community — particularly the older members — even verbally agreed that there was no need to register. 

Two Chinese organizations with the same name in the community confused some new immigrants, although they knew that what had happened was wrong, Quon said. Meanwhile, the older members were aware of the situation from the beginning, knew something wasn’t right, and were angry, surprised and disappointed, Quon said.

“It wasn’t like old versus new,” she continued. “When I look at our directors, it’s a combination of (both). I’m considered the old … . I was born in Moose Jaw and grew up in Moose Jaw.” 

The executive includes Quon and directors Qiang (Kelvin) Hu, Lin Fong, Gary Wong and Yanxia Liu. She noted that these are the only people who can speak for the network.

All community groups evolve, while their missions change based on members’ needs, Quon pointed out. The network is currently engaged in a membership drive because many new Chinese immigrants need support, while only a handful of original older members are left.

New immigrants are excited that the MJCCN exists and wants to help them, she added. Meanwhile, it’s important to make them feel like Moose Jaw is home because this is a great community.

Besides membership recruitment, the network is also looking to host events again and participate in community festivals, both of which the pandemic shut down for more than two years. 

Visit https://moosejawchinese.com for further information.