Chinese associations are important places for social and cultural development. They help connect members, foster a supportive social environment for industry unity and cohesion, and serve as a bridge to the outside world.
They are also instrumental diplomatically during high-level visits by Chinese officials, as well as in providing local hospitality services to visitors.
Before the Civil Rights Act and Immigration and Nationality acts, Chinese Americans suffered discrimination in social welfare and economic opportunities. An organization was needed to seek social justice, protect civil rights and promote economic opportunity for all.
Its early leaders were drawn from lineage and clan associations organized on the basis of shared surname; wooi-kun, a network of districts or native place organizations that functioned like counties; guilds and other professional groups; and secret societies in the form of large fraternal lodges and smaller fighting tongs.
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, when Communist advance across China led to a nationalist blockade of important cities, the Association alerted the British government to the increasingly difficult conditions faced by British trade, and successfully brought about official action to address demands for compensation. The papers of the China Association are deposited at SOAS. They include minutes and committee papers; correspondence with the Foreign Office, London Chambers of Commerce, Tientsin and Hong Kong Associations, and the British Consulate in Shanghai; and albums of press cuttings on China.
CCBA functions to protect the community and its members by working closely with main stream organizations. It has a quasi-governmental role in Chinatown and works to help Chinese Americans achieve business ownership, securing housing, and integrating into the mainstream American society.
It also provides social and cultural services such as new student pick up and orientation, mid-autumn festival, lectures getting new students involved into the campus life style. It also carries out activities to promote unity and understanding among Chinese members and the local community.
Umbrella organisations for overseas Chinese students are part of the united front and have been linked to the CCP’s wider effort to suppress academic freedom and mobilise Chinese international students for nationalistic activities. Governments should actively pursue a comprehensive approach to the issue, coupling punitive measures against individuals responsible for interference with support and engagement with communities affected by it. This should include detailed studies of the phenomenon and targeted, multilingual informational materials on interference.
The association was a mercantile body, representing the interests of those with trade to China, Hong Kong and Japan. The Association lobbied the British Government and the Chinese authorities on behalf of its members. It worked closely alongside the London Chamber of Commerce, local chambers and the Federation of British Industries.
CSA has become a very important platform for social and cultural exchange among students of different nationalities. The association promotes Chinese culture, helps students to get more involved in the local community and develop their social and management skills.
Besides the academic and cultural activities, CSA also provides society gatherings, both small (for ensuring close interactions between members) and large (to bring society members together to participate in massive national and cultural celebrations). These activities have been found very useful for fostering good friendships between CSA members, and non-Chinese students as well.
The CCBA has organized many programs since its inception. These activities span a wide range from cultural, educational and social services to community relations. During the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami disaster, for example, the CCBA spearheaded an emergency community-wide fundraising drive for the victims.
Sponsorship of society gatherings, both small – for ensuring close interactions among society members and large – to bring all society members together for massive national and cultural celebrations, is one major function of the CCBA. The CCBA also works with mainstream organizations in providing social services to the community.
CCAI enriches the campus’ Chinese culture through a variety of arts programs including, but not limited to, traditional and modern Chinese dances, music, calligraphy, tea art and language. These activities offer the opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture and promote cross-cultural understanding. Through the yearly events such as One Week Chinese Culture, Badminton Contest and Lectures on Job Hunting, the CCAI builds the bond between students and community.