Chinese Culture and Religion

Changes in immigration policy after the war led to an increase in Chinese families. Local Chinese associations, family societies and cultural groups grew to provide social services, support to members and a sense of community.

Chinese people place great importance on spending time with family and are taught the value of filial piety. They also often send remittances to relatives in China.


In Chinese culture, family is extremely important. Family members are very close to one another, and they depend on each other for love and support. It is common for three generations to live together in the same house. Many families also aim to build or buy a home, as it is seen as a sign of wealth and status.

Chinese are a patrilineal people, meaning that descent is passed down through the male line. When a woman marries, she joins her husband’s family and becomes a member of that family’s descent group.

They also place a great emphasis on education. They want their children to get good grades, go to prestigious schools and receive advance degrees. They believe that this shows the worth of their family and is a way to achieve immortality. Many Chinese are so devoted to their families that they work very hard and rarely take time off from work. This can cause a lack of quality family time.


Chinese religion emphasizes morality and respect for the community and its values. It is not a monotheistic religion, and it incorporates ideas from Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. For example, the values of Confucianism include benevolence, loyalty, and filial piety; the idea of Taoism is balance and harmony; and in Buddhism, enlightenment brings an end to personal reincarnations.

Nevertheless, the Chinese government discourages religious groups from conducting independent worship activities and restricts public displays of religious beliefs. This has made it difficult for scholars to study Chinese religion in the past. Survey organizations that work in China must be careful to word questions about religion carefully to avoid eliciting strong responses from the government. As a result, it is often unclear how many people in China consider themselves religious (zongjiao). The Constitution, the Criminal Law, the Civil Law, the Electoral Law, the Compulsory Education Law and the Labor Law all have explicit stipulations on freedom of religion and the equal rights and interests of believers.


Aside from being a staple in Chinese cuisine, food plays an important role in Chinese culture and religion. The Chinese consider food a symbol of family harmony and closeness. Eating the same dishes with family members is a sign of loyalty and respect. Many Chinese people choose to practice a mix of Confucianism and folk religion while others follow Buddhism, Taoism or Christianity.

After the Gold Rush and completion of the transcontinental railroad, Chinese immigrants formed enclave communities, or Chinatowns, in major cities across America. They worked in restaurants and laundries as racial discrimination prevented them from working in more lucrative jobs such as agriculture, mining and transportation.

Today, many Chinese American-owned businesses cater to the general population of North America. Many of the familiar dishes such as chicken and broccoli, ginger beef and chow mein are offered on menus throughout the country. Chinese vegetables such as dau miu (edible snow pea pods) and gai lan are popular in upscale non-Asian restaurants.


China has the world’s largest state-run education system. Its concerted efforts to promote access to quality pre-school and primary school education, balanced compulsory education, enhanced vocational training and competitive higher education have produced impressive achievements.

However, disparities persist across the country.

Many of the Chinese in Oregon have a long history with the community, and they are often eager to pass down their heritage and traditions to their children. They may also seek to maintain connections with their homeland by attending Chinese classes and participating in cultural events.

Research has shown that a person’s dominant language (L1) can be harnessed and systematically used by teachers in community-based heritage-language classes to facilitate students’ learning of their ethnic language (L2, Mandarin Chinese). This article investigates the use of L1 by teachers in two Chinese schools in the United Kingdom, to examine its facilitative functions. The findings suggest that teachers should be given more training and support to help them confidently teach their students’ L1. This will not only increase student satisfaction, but also help to foster a culture of lifelong learning within the community.

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