The Chinese Community in Canada

Chinese community

People of Chinese ancestry make up the largest non-European ethnic group in Canada. Most live in urban areas where Chinatowns remain a focal point for community life.

The core value of Chinese culture is harmony. This value encompasses rationale, propriety, and balance. It encourages the development of asymmetry into symmetry and imbalance into balance.

Cultural Values

Traditionally, Chinese values focus on harmony and cooperation. They believe the universe converts disequilibrium into balance, incoordination into coordination and ignorance into understanding.

They also believe all people are created equal and that the powerful should not bully the weak, and that all countries can learn from each other and pursue coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation. Honesty is a valued virtue, and they hold loyalty as an important value.

In modern Chinese society, family ties are still very important, and they respect older generations as more experienced and wiser. This benevolence and wisdom can play an important role in addressing modern Chinese problems such as materialism, money worship and arrogance.


Religion has played a central role in Chinese culture. Taoism, Buddhism, Islam and Protestantism have all developed into culture-shaping communities throughout history in China.

The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that citizens enjoy freedom of religious belief. The State protects normal religious activities and forbids public organizations and individuals from imposing their beliefs on others, forcing them to believe in any particular religion or discriminating against those who do not.

However, this freedom has come with heightened government control. Under Xi, the CCP has moved to “Sinicize” religion by shaping it to adhere to the party’s doctrine. This has resulted in a crackdown on house churches and widespread harassment of Christian pastors.


China is one of the oldest civilizations on the planet, and its food cuisine is as impressive as its long history. Tradition, medicine, and fashion trends all helped Chinese chefs create their recipes.

The Chinese do not consider nutrition as important as the Western world does, and a meal is all about taste, texture, and aroma. The Chinese eat a variety of foods throughout the day, from dim sum and fried dumplings to barbequed char siu.

They also have a banquet dinner on special occasions like holidays, weddings, graduations, and birthdays. A typical banquet dinner includes a variety of dishes such as shark fin soup, bird nest, fish lining, and crocodile meat.


The Chinese language has no inflection and words cannot be changed for person or number. In Chinese, a word can serve as a noun, verb or adjective.

While China’s national policy allows for regional and dialect autonomy, it is expected that all speakers understand each other. The seven main groups of Chinese are Mandarin; Wu; Northern and Southern Min; Hakka (Kejia); Gan; and Xiang.

Each of these has many sub-dialects, each with millions of speakers. Some of the languages are mutually intelligible; others, like the Xiang dialect, have only a few million speakers. Modern Standard Chinese, a simplified form of Mandarin, has over 1.3 billion speakers worldwide.


The arts in China have long had a moral and social function. Paintings of benevolent emperors, wise ministers and loyal generals were meant to inspire good moral behavior in the living audience.

In the postwar era, Mao Zedong pushed “revolutionary socialist realism.” Artists were encouraged to use their artwork as a tool for political advancement. Artwork that was not subservient to this end was deemed formalism.

Contemporary Chinese visual arts fully incorporate painting, film, photography and video. Some artists have faced harsh censorship and even police raids. This has changed in recent years with a more liberal government. Artists have a larger platform for international exposure.


In business terms, Chinese people place a great deal of value on what they call “Guanxi,” the network of personal connections they have. They often prefer to conduct business face-to-face rather than via digital channels like LinkedIn.

Before a meeting, it is normal for the Chinese to ask highly personal questions, which might seem strange in a business setting. This is because they tend to allow their professional and personal lives to overlap.

Founded in 1883, the Chinese Community Center has performed a quasi-governmental role for the Chinatown community of New York City and supported many of its residents in their goals to become business owners through financial support and training.

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