The Chinese Community in Canada

Chinese community

In the late 1800s London’s Chinatown had a dark reputation thanks to Chinese men’s fraternisation with white women and their use of opium. Plum Alley was the heart of this community, with laundries and stores lining the streets.

In many places, however, racism has led to a decline in local Chinese communities. This has caused a lack of services in Chinatowns, especially health care.


Education remains a high priority for Chinese, and they are more likely than other Canadians to be enrolled full-time in schools. They also have a higher proportion of university graduates, and men are more likely than women to hold degrees in technical fields.

In China, the national emphasis on rapid economic development has changed educational policy in recent decades, resulting in greater enrollment at primary and secondary school levels and more intensive instruction with high standards. Admission to universities depends on competitive nationwide examinations.

Many Chinese communities, particularly those in urban areas, have set up self-contained “Chinatowns” that function as separate, almost independent cities within the larger metropolitan area. These groups often have cultural centers, specialized stores selling products from the homeland, restaurants serving home-style cuisine and other forms of community organization that serve to bolster identity and pride in the culture. In addition, they also provide avenues to communicate with other people of the same ethnic background.


The Chinese immigrant population is characterized by being highly concentrated in California and New York. Chinese immigrants also tend to have higher household incomes than the foreign-born or native-born population overall. This is partly because Chinese have a significant presence in scientific, technical and management occupations.

In the past, Cantonese sojourner communities were socially bifurcated into two distinct classes. At the top was a smaller, more privileged group of businessmen and merchants who controlled financial resources and dominated community organizations and philanthropic activities. Below them was a larger and poorer class of laborers who were socially isolated from the rest of the community and experienced prejudicial discrimination in employment, housing and commercial opportunities.

Today, a large number of businesses and cultural events are run by the Chinese community in Greater New York. Additionally, organizations such as Hotel Chinese Association of USA work to support and promote Chinese hotel workers in striving for a working environment with equal treatment.


As more people visit bigger hospitals, China’s grassroots medical facilities have seen fewer patients. For example, Shanghai resident Xi Lijuan spends half a day traveling to a top-tier hospital just to secure two weeks of medicine.

The community-based doctors in CCHP’s network are trained to address the needs of immigrants like her, as well as their American-born children. They also provide a culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate approach to health care, including traditional Chinese medicine.

While the landscape of Manhattan’s Chinatown has changed since Dr. Poon first moved to the neighborhood in the ’70s, his mission has not. His team continues to host in-person health talks and vaccinations, and has expanded their outreach to Sunset Park and Flushing, New York City. They have also hosted a series of online seminars on topics like COVID-19 vaccines and hepatitis B and C screenings. The non profit, tax exempt association is funded primarily by donations. CCHP’s physicians have also been pursuing legal action against the for-profit health plan for deceptive business practices that will ultimately drive up profits at the expense of consumers.


Many Chinese believe that guanxi (, literally “connections”) is key to success in business. Guanxi is based on a principle of trust that commits friends, family and at times even business colleagues to assist one another. Mutual assistance is seen as an important part of a relationship, and a breach of trust can cost someone dearly.

In the United States, early twentieth century Chinese immigrants built self-reliant communities that were known to non-Chinese as Chinatowns. These communities were created in response to a combination of factors: new and diverse economic opportunities; accelerated demographic growth; sociopolitical bifurcation—that is, communal leadership by a group of merchant elites and a larger but sociopolitically subordinate mass of laborers; and the rise of anti-Chinese sentiment.

Canadians of Chinese descent are predominantly concentrated in British Columbia and Ontario. In 2001, 82% of those reporting Chinese origin lived in these two provinces. In that year, 56% of people of Chinese descent reported no religious affiliation.

Related Posts