In a recent visit, a man, apparently drunk, was asleep near the entrance to the neighboring beauty parlor, the Nice Hair Salon.
A tenant living in the apartment listed as Li's address said through a translator that she had not heard of him, although she had lived there for the last 10 years.
A man named Liang Zheng was listed as having contributed $1,000. The address given was a large apartment building on East 194th Street in the Bronx, but no one by that name could be located there.
Census figures for 2000 show the median family income for the area was less than $21,000. About 45% of the population was living below the poverty line, more than double the city average.
In the busy heart of East Broadway, beneath the Manhattan Bridge, is a building that is listed as the home of Sang Cheung Lee, also reported to have given $1,000. Trash was piled in the dimly lighted entrance hall. Neighbors said they knew of no one with Lee's name there; they knocked on one another's doors in a futile effort to find him.
Salespeople at a store on Canal Street were similarly baffled when asked about Shih Kan Chang, listed as working there and having given $1,000. The store sells purses, jewelry and novelty Buddha statues. Employees said they had not heard of Chang.
Another listed donor, Yi Min Liu, said he did not make the $1,000 contribution in April that was reported in his name. He said he attended a banquet for Clinton but did not give her money.
Clinton "has done a lot for the Chinese community," he said.
One New York man who said he enthusiastically donated $2,500 to Clinton doesn't appear to be eligible to do so under federal election law. He said he came to the United States from China about two years ago and didn't have a green card.
Out of the periphery
A key figure helping to secure Asian support for Clinton is a woman named Chung Seto, who came to this country as a child from Canton province and has supported Bill and Hillary Clinton since the 1990s. She called Fujian natives' support for Hillary Clinton the beginning of civic engagement for an immigrant group that had long been on the periphery.
She said she stationed translators at the entrance of one event to try to screen out improper contributions.
Qun Wu, a 37-year-old waiter at a Chinese restaurant in Flushing, saw a reference to a Clinton fundraiser in a Chinese-language newspaper. He took a day off from work to go. Though he only makes $500 a week, he considers his $1,000 donation to be money well-spent. He got his picture taken with Clinton, hung it prominently in his house, then had color reprints made and sent to family in China.
"Every day I go home and see it," he said. "I see my picture with Hillary, and I feel encouraged. It's a great honor."
Many, on the other hand, said they gave for reasons having more to do with the Chinese community than with Clinton. He Duan Zheng, who gave $1,000, said of the Fujianese community: "They informed us to go, so I went.
"Everybody was making a donation, so I did too," he said. "Otherwise I would lose face."
Times staff writers Dan Morain in San Francisco and Walter F. Roche Jr. and Jordy Yager in Washington, and Times researchers Janet Lundblad, Vicki Gallay and John Jackson in Los Angeles, contributed to this report.