The Chinese Community in Oregon

Chinese community

Chinatowns offered a place to shop for familiar food, worship in traditional temples, or read newspapers from the homeland. They were also places of economic opportunity.

Chinese immigrants are more likely to have private health insurance than the overall foreign-born population and less likely to lack coverage. However, they are less likely than the general population to report positive self-perceptions of their overall health.


Between 1860 and 1885, economic conditions improved throughout the American West, attracting more Chinese to Oregon and other cities. They consolidated and organized their community into social organizations that served a range of political, economic, and sociocultural purposes.

These included lineage, clan, or family associations; wooi-kun, district associations that functioned like counties; and the larger fraternal societies known as tongs. A dominant group, a Chinese merchant elite, emerged that exercised communal leadership and controlled business opportunities.

Despite this, racial discrimination in the United States continued to increase. After World War II, the end of Chinese exclusion and new quotas allowed more families to reunite in America. This accelerated the cultural assimilation of Chinese Americans. They also migrated away from urban Chinatowns and settled in suburban communities.


Although China was historically a unified political entity, considerable local variation persists in language and culture. Many local dialects are mutually unintelligible. A Chinese person growing up in the northwest will speak a different dialect from those in the east or south.

Nevertheless, people who speak different Chinese dialects can communicate by writing because written Chinese reflects the vocabulary and grammar of standard Mandarin. There are homonyms (words that sound alike but have different meanings) in Chinese, but the number is low enough to make communication possible. The characters that represent Chinese words have over 3,000 years of history, starting with carapace-bone script in the Shang Dynasty. They were later developed into large seal script, small seal script, official script, regular script and cursive script.


Despite the Chinese Communist Party’s official ideology declaring China an atheist nation, survey measures of formal religion (zongjiao) and religious beliefs and practices in general indicate that many Chinese consider themselves religious. Confucian practices like ancestor worship and Taoist rituals and beliefs such as the deities of Mazu, Guan Gong and immortals are considered part of folk religion. Some of these traditions overlap and are difficult to categorize.

Bitter Winter reported that in 2018 police, accompanied by staff from the religious affairs bureaus of local governments, interrupted house church meetings in Xiamen and several other cities. The government continued its campaign of religious Sinicization to bring all faiths in line with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This was done through a series of training sessions for religious professionals and followers.


China is a vast country with diverse landscapes and abundant plant life, so it’s no wonder that the cuisine there is teeming with vibrant flavors. From Shanghai’s seafood market to the seasonal produce of Yunnan, Chinese dishes have developed a stoic respect for simple ingredients that let each flavor shine.

In Chinese culture, food is not just a necessity but also a way to establish and express relationships among people. During the Spring Festival, for example, family members and close friends eat together at a banquet table.

In addition, certain foods are believed to enhance one’s health and strength. Shark fin soup replenishes energy, dehydrated tiger testicles strengthen the lungs, and monkey brains add wisdom. Interestingly, these foods are not usually eaten regularly by the Chinese.


Many Chinese believe in the concept of guanxi, which is the principle of committing friends, family or even business colleagues to help one another. Violating this principle could cause loss of face or honour, which is why many Chinese will prioritise relationship building over any other aspect of a business transaction.

In contrast to the European notion of a society as a collective, where boundaries between societies often coincide with those between political dominions, the traditional local social systems in China were rarely contiguous. Instead, the outer limits of these systems usually coincided with the hsien (district) and were defined by marriage and kinship ties.

People with Chinese ancestry who have not completely assimilated into other peoples may refer to themselves as overseas Chinese or Zhongguoren. They are sometimes referred to as Huaren by speakers of standard Chinese, and they may live in ethnic enclaves worldwide or be scattered across the globe.

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