The China Association at Washington University

Many Chinese immigrants joined associations of family names, locations and professions to help them succeed in their new homes. They were also social and cultural organizations.

Often they dealt with city and state government agencies to defend their rights. Their archives are lodged at SOAS. They include papers relating to the British Chambers of Commerce in Hankow and Tientsin, the Hong Kong Association and the Sino-British Trade Council.


The China Association was a British trade organisation founded in 1889, with headquarters in London. Its work involved taking up commercial grievances and representing the interests of members before the British Government and Chinese authorities. It often acted in conjunction with the London Chamber of Commerce, local Chambers and the Federation of British Industries.

It was a politically active organization and its papers record its reaction to political events in late 19th Century China. It lobbied the British Government over concerns about nationalist blockades of British trading stations and pressed for reform to allow greater British trade opportunities in China’s interior.

The collection was deposited at SOAS in 1978 and predominantly covers the period from 1889-1961. A detailed chronological index for the China Association papers is available in SOAS’s Special Collection Reading Room. It includes annual reports, correspondence, minutes and committee papers of the General Committee and China Association, and a separate index for China Association’s School of Practical Chinese Endowment Fund.


The activities of CSA include promoting Chinese culture as well as social and cultural development for Chinese students. This is done through various projects including interviews workshops, Chinese dance classes, and networking events. Many non-Chinese students join CSA as well in order to learn more about Chinese culture and society.

CSA also works to protect the rights of laid-off workers and tenants in Chinatown, and has worked to promote Chinatown as an important part of Boston’s cultural fabric. Moreover, it has helped to bring the Chinese community into closer contact with the government.

CSA has a strong sense of responsibility in the Chinese community and is committed to working with its members to support their academic and career goals. This is demonstrated through its annual event lineup such as the Week of Chinese Culture, One Week CP, New Student Pick-up, Badminton Contest, Lectures on Job Hunting and much more. This helps the society to gain a positive reputation in the local community and improve the industry unity for Chinese students.


The membership of CANA includes full members who are licensed RNs and honorary members, who are distinguished for their service to the Association and/or to the Asian community or the United States. Full members are eligible to vote in the annual elections of the Association.

Founded in 1988, this not-for-profit human service agency serves the Borough Park, Sunset Park, and Bay Ridge neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Through its three service centers, ACA provides social services, ESL classes, cultural events, recreation and exercise activities, counseling, and financial support for low-income individuals and families.

Founded in 1951 with Walter James, owner of Nankin Cafe, the Chinese American Association of Minnesota (CAAM) was the first organization to bring together business, professional, ministry and student components of the local Chinese community under one umbrella. It was the earliest and largest of its kind in the Midwest. CAAM is now the nation’s most prominent Asian American community center. CAAM is a non-profit and non-partisan.


CSA provides a space for students of all backgrounds to share and learn about Chinese culture and societal issues. It is one of the largest cultural groups on campus and strives to create a supportive environment for all communities while being an integral part of the larger Washington University community.

The Luce Fellowship Program in China Studies encourages innovative research on China and China-related topics that make substantial contributions to the field of study. The fellowship is open to scholars at all stages of their careers.

CAA partners with allies to fight xenophobia and hate, organizes rallies against the brutal murder of Vincent Chin, leads efforts to defeat racial profiling and incarceration, promotes community education programs for LEP public school parents, and wins a historic City College of San Francisco Chinatown campus. CAA also publishes Lost Without Translation, a survey report on language barriers that affect low-income Chinese American families and secures funding to expand vocational training for garment workers in Chinatown.

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