Chinese community refers to groups of people of China ancestry living together. The Chinese are a diverse population of 56 officially recognized ethnic groups.
Asians in the United States are a young generation; nearly six-in-ten were born in 2019. Most speak only English at home, though some speak Chinese (22%), Hindi (13%) or Vietnamese (13%).
In the early days, Chinese settlers developed a strong sense of community. They formed family associations based on surname, language and village ties. These organizations provided social and cultural support. They also served as political voices against discriminatory legislation.
In a few cases, the Chinese made their mark in business. Wing On Chiang and Cia of Piura sold opium to the Peruvian planters, and some Chinese men operated commercial hand laundries. Others cultivated vegetables near town and delivered them door to door, the first locally grown commercial produce.
Many benefited from their hard work and strong work ethic. The railroads in Salt Lake City and Park City were built by Chinese laborers. A number of affluent families employed Chinese cooks and house servants. Some Chinese men established restaurants and stores in Chinatown, and some owned or operated Chinese newspapers. They also lent money to members of their communities. Some established tongs, secretive fraternal societies that functioned as trade guilds.
In recent years, the Chinese upper-middle class has become a significant group actively exploring opportunities to emigrate. It has been referred to as the “third wave” of Chinese migration (Center for China and Globalization, 2012). Most have headed for North America.
Unlike the first waves of migrants, these new immigrants are more likely to be college educated. They are also more likely to have lawful permanent residency, which is a path toward citizenship.
Changes in immigration policy during and after World War II helped to open the door to new waves of migration from China. These have included students and family members who take advantage of more lenient visa categories, as well as refugees. Churches and other community organizations serve to bring together Chinese people in their destination countries. They have also developed media to serve their community. They have also been active in the fight against stereotypes, including stories that paint them as immoral, greedy, and lazy.
Chinese society has always been a hierarchical one, and this hierarchy has been earnestly emphasized by most social thinkers and tradition defenders from Confucius onward. It seems that the fundamental organization of a Chinese community is not unlike that of other complex societies of the time, and indeed of the world today.
In the past this hierarchy was reflected in clans – groups of families that traced their lineage back to a common ancestor. Traditionally, women were subordinate to their fathers and then their husbands. Once married they were fully identified with their husbands’ families and became powerless figures in their own.
In modern China, this hierarchy is reflected in the various classes of the ruling Communist Party. There are several tiers, and the top tier, Tier 1, has substantial influence in setting national policy. This includes current members of the Politburo and retired Standing Committee members. Tier 2 is primarily made up of ministers and provincial-level officials with substantive authority.
Chinese people place a great emphasis on family values and social relations, such as filial piety. They are also very proud of their ancient culture and its profound influence on current society, such as Confucianism philosophy and the concept of yin and yang.
Many Chinese have adopted Western culture, especially in areas that have a large number of overseas Chinese. For example, Chinese children may receive gifts from Santa on Christmas, while mothers and grandmothers are given flowers on Mother’s Day. Chinese cuisine is rich in variety and flavors with a focus on nutritional balance of the “five grains”: rice, glutinous millet, wheat, barley and beans.
The Montreal Chinese Hospital was founded in 1918 when Mother (Superior) Mary of the Holy Spirit, of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception set up a temporary facility to meet the medical needs of the community during the influenza epidemic. This hospital later became the first Chinese hospital in Canada and is still operational today.