The Chinese Community in the United States

The core value of Chinese society is harmony. This value encompasses rationality, propriety, and balance. It focuses on moving from an uncoordinated state to one of coordination and from imbalance to symmetry.

After World War II, a large number of Cantonese immigrants settled in Oregon. They brought with them wives and children. This changed the nature of the local Chinese community from a bachelor society to a family-oriented one.


As of 2001, young people of Chinese origin were more likely than those of other Canadians to be enrolled full-time in an educational program. Moreover, they were also more likely to be pursuing postsecondary education.

Unlike the general foreign-born population, Chinese immigrants are more likely to obtain lawful permanent resident status through work. They are also more likely to hold management positions in the workplace than other immigrant groups.

Although most Canadians of Chinese origin can communicate in the dominant languages of the country, almost 85% say their mother tongue is not an official language. Consequently, they need to learn English and their ethnic language (Mandarin Chinese) at the same time. This study investigates teachers’ language practices in heritage-language classes in Chinese community schools and identifies the functions of students’ dominant variety (English) that facilitate their learning of L2. These findings support calls from Macaro (2001), Turnbull and Arnett (2002), and Creese and Martin (2006) for further research on teaching and learning in complementary-school contexts.


The Manny Cantor Center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side serves the Chinese community with education, health and welfare, arts and culture, and civic engagement programs and services. The Center’s goal is to improve the socioeconomic status of the community and its members.

The Center is also a member of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Greater New York, which provides civil rights advocacy and support.

In Canada, the Chinese community is highly concentrated in Ontario and British Columbia. In 2001, 82% of Canadians who reported Chinese ancestry lived in these two provinces. The community is also highly concentrated in urban areas.

Chinese immigrants are active in the workplace and contribute to the economy, including high levels of participation in management, science, and technical occupations. However, their representation in other occupational groups is relatively low compared to the total foreign-born and native-born populations. This may be partly because of limited opportunities to advance in their field. In addition, many Chinese immigrants work in the service sector and are exposed to stressful working conditions.


Various laws and regulations, including the Constitution, Criminal Law, Civil Law, Electoral Law, the Compulsory Education Law and the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, stipulate that the state protects citizens’ freedom of religious belief. However, repression of house churches is increasing. The government has banned some groups and detained many of their leaders. It has also dismantled churches and taken down crosses.

Chinese folk religion is a complex mix of Buddhism, Daoism and other traditional beliefs. It includes ancestor worship and many rituals associated with family life (e.g., stove worship) as well as devotion to gods that are closely linked with economic groupings (e.g., the wealth god Caishen) and the local community. These gods are often viewed as the supernatural equivalent of imperial bureaucrats and are usually depicted in official attire.

A notable aspect of the faith is its belief in Heaven as an omnipotent force and its worship. This faith system predates the arrival of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.


The Chinese community is a diverse group, made up of people who have many different origins and experiences. Many come from mainland China, while others are from the greater Chinese Diaspora. Some arrived in the United States with very little money and minimal education, working on deteriorating urban neighborhoods; others have family wealth, education, and skills well above average.

Many of these Chinese community residents have strong ties to their homeland and a rich culture, which contributes to their sense of belonging and community identity. They also make significant “hard” contributions to society through business, cultural activities, political events, and social services.

Despite these strengths, the community faces challenges in maintaining community vitality. One of the biggest problems is developing a common sense of community among residents and improving their participation. This can be accomplished by fostering a positive community identity and implementing effective community-building strategies. This can be done through a variety of means, including community organizations, government agencies, and school districts.

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