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Colin Powell Refers to Chinese as ‘Chinamen’

October 7, 1996 GMT

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) _ Retired Army Gen. Colin Powell, in a speech to business leaders, referred to people from China as ``Chinamen.″

Speaking Saturday on affirmative action and the global economy, Powell was quoted by The Record of Stockton as saying: ``If you give 1.3 billion Chinamen access to home shopping on television, (communism) is over, because there is no way communism can compete with a salad shooter for $9.95.″

Powell could not be reached for comment Sunday because he was on an airplane, spokesman Bill Smullen said. Smullen said he apologized if anybody was offended.

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Chinese-American leaders in Stockton, 60 miles east of San Francisco, had mixed reactions.

``I would say it’s very unfortunate. ... It shows a lack of sensitivity,″ said Bob Hong, a member of Stockton’s Sister City Association. He was not at the speech.

``Just using the word itself doesn’t offend me,″ said Rowena Chen of the Jene Wah senior-service center, who also did not attend the meeting. ``It’s the intent and manner which are more important. ... Some people just understand that it is not the right term to use, just as the term `Negro’ isn’t used anymore.″