The China Association

The China Association was founded in response to growing demands for a representative body that could address issues of concern. These were mainly commercial grievances from British traders in China, which the Association addressed by correspondence with the Foreign Office and the Chinese authorities.

We explore how these associations institutionalise transnational interaction with China via the cross-border flow of information and practices. This involves butting up against a tension between economic engagement and national identity.


The China Association was founded in March 1889 at a dinner for ‘gentlemen with some connection to the Far East’ at the Thatched House Club. It was a mercantile body representing the interests of those involved in trade to China and Hong Kong. Working closely alongside the London Chamber of Commerce, local Chambers and the Federation of British Industries, the Association took up grievances of British traders in China and presented them to the Government.

It also helped to promote the development of a more tolerant and understanding British society towards the Chinese community. The Association was also instrumental in the restoration of full diplomatic relations between Britain and China.

Today, CCBA works to address the challenges faced by Chinese American communities nationwide. Among other milestones, CCBA has worked to prepare the landmark US Supreme Court case Lau v. Nichols, fought for language access in public schools, and advocated for immigrant rights legislation. CCBA also coordinates the thriving community-wide Chinese for Affirmative Action program.


A community association is a group of people united by common interests and shared goals. It can bring together people of different backgrounds and provide them with a platform for cultural exchange. It can also act as a channel for people to express their concerns to the government.

Community associations are a relatively recent development in China, emerging shortly after housing reforms in the 1990s. Previously, urban housing was provided by danwei, which were both a physical space and a system for governing residents’ decisions and actions.

CCBA works closely with local businesses and residents to coordinate community programs in Chinatown and promote Chinese culture. The organization also provides social services, like youth programs and English classes, to its members. CCBA is an excellent way to meet other students and build relationships that will last well beyond your time at Purdue University. This is especially true for international students, who are looking to make new connections and develop a global perspective.


The China Association was a mercantile body which represented British businessmen with trade interests in China, Hong Kong and Japan. Its membership was drawn from a variety of backgrounds but all shared a common bond of a love of China and an interest in its culture.

The main work of the Association was correspondence with the Foreign Office concerning commercial grievances in China. It also provided quarterly political summaries for members, translations of the Chinese press and maintained regular contact with the Embassy in promoting British trade.

The papers of the China Association are held at SOAS. The digitised materials are available to view via this portal. In the years following World War II, when Communist advance across China saw many British firms leave the country, the Association alerted the British Government to the difficult circumstances under which their assets and concerns were operating in China and worked to ensure that official action was taken to meet demands for compensation.


The Chinese Association has worked to serve the local community by organizing support for victims of anti-Chinese racial violence, lobbying government offices for employment forms and office support in Chinese, helping laid-off electronics and rubber stamp manufacturers win severance pay and better job training, encouraging voter participation among Chinatown residents, and preserving and celebrating Chinatown’s history. It also advocates for greater representation in electoral politics and helps immigrants find jobs.

CSA members benefit from networking and growth opportunities. Students who join CSA develop strong resumes and often end up working for a company they helped to build. They also meet many friends, often lasting long after graduation, with diverse nationalities and backgrounds and gain a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture.

CSA hosts several events for both international and domestic students to learn about the Chinese culture. Its most popular events include Interview Workshop, Life in Big Four, Western Dating, and Networking. These activities are a great way to connect and have fun with fellow Chinese students, as well as other students in different majors at Pace.

Related Posts