The Chinese Community in Latin America

Chinese community

The Chinese community has long played a critical role in Latin America, where their business acumen and low profile have earned them respect. Despite American objections, the community has forged a strong presence in their host countries.

The Chinese Academy on the east side began in 1966, and used rooms in schools and churches in STRONGSVILLE to teach children about their culture.


Throughout the years Chinese immigrants have maintained their cultural values and traditions. Their attachment to their country of origin has helped them become a stabilising force in their communities abroad.

They value unity and cooperation in society and believe that harmony is essential to human existence. This view contrasts with Western values which emphasize competition and struggle.

As a result, the Chinese are generally less protective of their personal space. They are likely to carry out their conversations loudly within earshot of others, and may sing or dance in public without consideration for those around them. This is a reflection of their social culture, which encourages interaction and sharing with others. This also applies to family life where they are more likely to have a large number of extended family members living together under one roof.


At the start of this century, interest in the scientific study of religion in China appeared to be rising. Scholars from China and non-Chinese scholars attended conferences on the topic, and training programs arose in the United States for Chinese scholars who wanted to learn about social scientific approaches to religious studies.

But measuring religious trends in China is challenging. Depending on the wording of survey questions, estimates of the share of the population that is officially affiliated with a religion (zongjiao) or believes in gods range from 10% to 50%. And it can be difficult for researchers to get accurate data on Christian practices in China because of government restrictions and hostility toward some forms of Christianity. Also, many Christians in China are reluctant to reveal their beliefs in surveys.


There are over 50 million overseas Chinese.[1] Many of them have dual citizenship with the People’s Republic of China and other countries.[2]

The Chinese language is not an alphabet, but rather a logosyllabic one in which characters represent syllables. The Chinese writing systems, both traditional and simplified, are based on this principle.

The Chinese tend to communicate indirectly and use allusive language. This is a cultural characteristic that enables them to convey more meaning than what may be obvious at face value. Politicians and negotiators have been using these techniques for centuries. This is often a matter of guanxi, the principle of exchanging connections for mutual benefit. It also plays a large role in business interactions and relations. Those who lack this understanding are likely to misunderstand what is being said or done.


Educators can find many resources, including information on curriculum and professional development, from a variety of organizations dedicated to Chinese language learning. Some provide connections and networking opportunities, others hold conferences or document program information in searchable databases.

At the time of the 2011 Census, there were 393,141 people from the Chinese ethnic group living in England and Wales. They were most concentrated in the London boroughs of Barnet (3.2%), Tower Hamlets and Southwark (both 2.1%). The community is well educated; 12.8% of those from the Chinese ethnic group are in’managerial and professional occupations’, compared to a national average of 30.4%. This is the highest proportion of any ethnic group. The Chinese population has medium levels of English language proficiency. This may present challenges to those seeking employment.


For those not looking for the commitment that comes with a full-time job, or who lack the credentials needed to land a job right away, internships can provide valuable professional experience in a more flexible setting. Internships also offer a unique opportunity to experience China without committing to the country on a long-term basis.

In the United States, Chinese immigrants are more likely to be in management, business, science, and arts occupations than the overall foreign-born population or native-born Americans (see Figure 2). They also have higher median household incomes than other immigrant groups.

In Latin America, the Chinese community is well-known for its austerity, toughness and business acumen, making a significant economic contribution to their host nations. The community is especially prominent in Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

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