By Cindy Hsu

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is more heartbreak for a family from Chinatown whose son died in Afghanistan.

Private Danny Chen died last week at just 19. He was found in his barracks with non-combat injuries. On Tuesday, CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu met with his parents at the American Legion in Chinatown.

Chen’s mother was in tears as she showed pictures of her son, who dreamed of serving in the military since he was a child. What makes the heartbreak even more painful is what the family found out shortly after learning of his death.

Through a translator his parents said someone within their son’s unit told the family that Chen had been beaten up by fellow soldiers.

Translator Frank Gee said the family was told that Chen was “harassed and beaten up by six soldiers.”

The family said they were told it was over Chen not shutting off the water, but his father had been concerned Chen faced race problems in the Army and had asked his son about it.

“They asked the question, specifically, are you discriminated against because you’re Chinese or whatever.’ Danny said I would rather not answer that question,” translator Gee told Hsu.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division is now trying to get answers surrounding Chen’s death, but said “any discussion of possible contributing factors would be premature at this point. Rest assured that a thorough investigation is being conducted.”

Chen enlisted in the Army just 10 months ago and while his family was against the idea, especially since they had only one child, his aunt said there was no stopping him.

“He want to save the country — something like that. He really loved the country,” Lucy Chen said.

The funeral will be held in Chinatown on Thursday and Army investigators said they may know the cause of Private Chen’s death within the next few days.

The family said Chen never complained about any problems he was having in the Army. His ultimate dream was to serve for a few years and then become an officer with the NYPD.

Share your thoughts on this story in the comments section…

Cindy Hsu

Comments (18)
  1. Tony says:

    I hope the army catches anyone in his unit involved in this bullying. They should be court martialed, go to jail for 25 years and dishonerably discharged.

  2. David says:

    This is what happens when you are Asian and the rest are rednecks!

    1. Philip says:

      Is this a insult or your one of those that won’t accept Asian Americans to fight for the us or are you against these two types of people until I hear a answer from you for knowing if its a insult or just so happens I won’t report you

  3. A Chinese-American says:

    RIP in Danny. Racism is a alive and well in American. I too am a Chinese-American, born and raised in NYC. In a city where there is a fairly large Asian population, we are pretty well integrated and seen somewhat as equals. However In a small town or locality where Asians are few and far in between, we stand out and therefore picked on. Just like any other minority groups.

  4. Philip wong says:

    ThIs might the problem where America allow kids to play games that has to do with killing foreign countries like cod bf series and mostly all games that give out false information of a country who does that are they trying to start a war on video games i mean maybe these soldiers played too much operation flashpoint and and take Danny as a communist no Danny is not a communist he’s an American for all you know it’s the governments fault to let immature kids to play these games and take it the wrong way when the grew older that it taught America to kill foreign countries man they should have a policy for no immature kids allow to play these types of games where they only they understand is kiling foreign countries. American is corrupted the most as I see if we have a republican who believed in military power we would all been dead (world war 3)

  5. Melanie L. says:

    I pray to God there is a thorough investigation into this young man’s death. His family deserves the truth and not a covered up story. Asians tend to be quiet and I hope that his family and the asian-american community speak out against racism, bullying and demand justice.

    1. Lily says:

      The “TRUTH” doesn’t matter anymore; Danny is not going to come back…….

      1. Nita says:

        True Danny is not coming back but these soldiers should be punished for what they did. OMG this story is so sad and to find out that it’s not only the kids out here being bullied is just crazy.

  6. Kate says:

    This is so sad and such an outrage! I didn’t even see this piece of news being broadcasted nationwide. On the other hand, the news would’ve being blasting all over the country if the victim was an American or African-American. The Asians are minding their own damn business and this is we get. I’m so disappointed with the our so called “system”. I can guarantee that this tragic case will be dismissed without a trace. There’s just no justice! The Americans always claim equal rights for everyone….PLEASE! Action speaks louder than words in this case!

  7. MIKE says:



    1. DarthEVaderCheney says:

      Sad, bad comment, Mike! Are YOU guilty by association???

  8. MIKE says:



  9. Nita says:

    This story is so sad. My heart and deepest condolences goes out to this mother and her family. Such a beautiful, handsome young man. Just trying to do what he felt he had to do and that was to fight for his country and one of his own fellow soldiers cut him down? It’s a damn shame.

  10. Lia says:

    Not only is this behavior disgusting, but proves that the lowest point of humanity can place a burden on someone’s life to be taken away. As a Chinese-American, I am feeling very hopeless about racial discrimination gradually changing. I know what it’s like to be bullied because of my race but not to a point where I want to take my life away. Those soldiers that brought a fellow soldier down have no integrity and don’t realize they have killed one of their own; just because he’s a minority doesn’t make him any different. I wish his family all the best as this tragedy will be carried on their shoulders for the rest of their lives.

  11. Jenn says:

    If the cause of this soldier’s death was due to racism and bullying in the army, I am sorry to say but America has dipped from an all time economic, social, ethical, and even moral low. Do Americans not realize the point of this country? We are a huge melting pot in which there is a blend of many different cultures and ethnicity. Our ancestors came to this country for freedom and equality. Without us the people practicing what we came here for, what is the point of America? My condolences to this CHINESE soldier who wants to fight for our country and also my condolences to the death of a moral, ethical, giant melting pot.

    1. Wendy says:

      RIP Danny, may God be with your parents. We do need the truth and stop that from occurring, not too long ago House of Representative Judy Chu’s nephew was beaten to death by his fellow soldiers. Don’t label them Chinese, they are young American who love their country, the United States of America.

      1. DarthEVaderCheney says:

        Unfortunately, America needs about 400 years of bondage under a foreign government to learn its lesson, all its lessons!

  12. Philip wong says:

    Of course nobody would leave any comment because you don’t want Chinese to fight with the Americans for freedom. You know what we are humans and we have natural rights too so why discriminate us when we are helping you fight for America knowing the only thing is be killed by you because our race is Chinese or is it the fact that china is a communist state you know we didn’t choose to be Chinese nor did we choose to become someone we are not still I am Chinese and I can choose what side I am but that docent make me stop from joining the us army because I love America and it’s friendly people and will never betray America for my race and will make other realized that just because we’re someone you don’t like dosen’t mean we’re always gonna be enimies because we can change too

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