The Chinese Community in the United States

Chinese communities have long fought discrimination and exclusion. They resisted white culture and developed self-reliant neighborhoods known as Chinatowns.

Many Chinese in Latin America feel at home in their new country. Peru has the largest population of Chinese, followed by Venezuela, Argentina and Paraguay. The majority work in trade and some are professionals.


Ethnicity is a process of becoming conscious of one’s community. The Chinese community is not a monolith; it is socially and economically diverse.

The Chinese in Oregon are largely foreign-born (ethnic categories include Hong Kong, Taiwan and major urban areas of China). They are well educated, culturally assimilated, professional, and wealthy.

Nevertheless, the Chinese community still faces challenges. Older generations and rural Chinese tend to value traditional culture, while youths and urban Chinese embrace progressive ideals. Likewise, there are differing attitudes about the need to preserve or adapt traditions in the face of neoliberal state reforms. As a result, some Chinese are separating from their traditional communities in favor of the modern world. This has caused a division within the Chinese American community. The schism is evident in urban Chinatowns across America.


When discussing Chinese culture, it’s important to remember that there is a wide variety of regional dialects. Each has its own variations in pronunciation, grammatical structure and even vocabulary.

Dialects grew organically from tribes that moved around China over thousands of years. They mingled, steamed and stirred and created unique variations just like how people in New York speak differently than those in Chicago.

The concept of “guanxi” (networking that may result in connections or favours for mutual benefit) is very important to the Chinese and is a key element of business relationships. It is often a matter of pride to the community that they can be helpful to outsiders, especially in times of need. This is one of the reasons that many businesses are open to doing business with people who are not Chinese.


Although fewer Chinese say they are religious (zongjiao) in the sense of following a particular religion, the vast majority engage in practices premised on belief in unseen forces and spirits. The study of Chinese religion presents challenges and opportunities for general theory of religion.

A wide range of practices can be categorized as religion in China, including burning incense to worship deities and performing rituals at grave sites that ostensibly aid ancestors who live in another realm. Those who visit gravesites often ask for blessings, such as good grades on school exams.

Some formally organized groups, such as the Xiantian Dao (; literally ‘Way of Former Heaven’), claim to unify Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism into a single religion. Many also follow faith healers and yoga preachers who draw on Chinese cosmology and philosophy.


The CSAUS was founded in 1994 and has grown to become the largest grassroots organization for Chinese language schools in the United States. Its members are dedicated to promoting Chinese culture and encouraging the development of quality, modern Chinese language education.

In 1985, planners envisioned that larger cities, economically developed coastal provincial-level units, and a small number of relatively developed interior areas (approximately 25 percent of the nation’s population) would have universal 9-year education by the mid-1990s. At the same time, rural areas would popularize basic education without a set timetable and offer junior high school.

The Chinese community in Latin America is notable for its austerity, toughness and low profile but it makes a valuable economic and social contribution to the nations of this region.


Whether it’s a business venture or working in public service, there are many opportunities for Chinese people to excel. In fact, according to the 2011 census, more than a quarter of people from the Chinese ethnic group were in higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations compared with a national average of just over a fifth.

In the Victorian capital, Melbourne, most Chinese live in the city’s southern and eastern suburbs. One local example is a program that helps Chinese-born young women pursue careers in nursing. Designed by the Chinatown Manpower Project and Allure Group, the training provides participants with the skills to enter this high-demand field. Moreover, it gives them the confidence to succeed in the broader community. For example, Kyle, who transitioned from his intellectual property job to adventure photography, is able to combine his talents with his love of China.

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