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Chinese American

A Chinese American is a resident of the United States who is of Chinese descent who make up one group of overseas Chinese.

Chinese immigration to the United States has come in several waves. During the mid-19th century many Chinese emigrated from Guangdong province to the United States in order to work on the railroads and several Western states had large populations of Chinese. These Chinese tended to cluster in Chinatowns, the largest population was in San Francisco. This immigration (encouraged by the Burlingame Treaty of 1868) was stopped by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1883 which made Chinese immigration illegal until 1946.

With the loosening of American immigration laws in 1952 and 1965, a second wave of Chinese immigration began, which consisted of professionals[?] from Taiwan who arrived in the United States on student visas. With the improving economy in Taiwan, immigration from the island began to decrease in the 1970s and was accompanied by an increase in immigration from professionals from Mainland China, which began to allow for emigration in 1977. Both groups of Chinese tend to cluster in suburban areas and tended to avoid urban Chinatowns. These Chinese tended to speak fluent Mandarin Chinese often in addition to their native dialect, which in the case of Taiwanese was the Taiwanese language.

A third wave of recent immigrants consisted of undocumented aliens, chiefly from Fujian province who came to the United States in search of lower-status manual jobs. These aliens tend to concentrate in urban areas such as New York City and there is often very little contact between these Chinese and the professional group.

Absent from the list of Chinese Americans are immigrants from Hong Kong, who because of immigration law, tended to immigrate to Canada.

Cities with large Chinese-American populations include New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Houston. In these cities, there are often two Chinatowns, an older Chinatown and a newer one which is populated by immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s. In some areas, Chinese Americans maintain close relationships with other Asian groups particularly Vietnamese-Americans[?].

Within the United States, there is often some doubt among some people about the political reliablity of Chinese Americans, and some Chinese Americans believe that being loyal to the Chinese ethnicity and heritage is often mistaken as loyalty to China the country. Two incidents that have been very important within the Chinese-American community are the murder of Vincent Chin[?] and the unsubstantiated charges of spying against Chinese-American nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee[?] at Los Alamos National Laboratory, whom many believe was a victim of racial stereotyping[?].

Among Chinese in Mainland China and Taiwan, second-generation Chinese Americans are often stereotyped as being stylish and exotic, and there are a number of Chinese-American singers and boy bands, often unknown in the United States, which are popular in East Asia. Chinese Americans have also strongly influenced politics in Taiwan and to a lesser but still significant degree in the People's Republic of China. A large number of major political figures in Taiwan (including Peng Ming-min[?], Shi Ming-te[?], and Lee Yuan-tze[?]) have had either permanent residency or citizenship in the United States, and many Taiwanese political figures including Lee Teng-hui, Ma Ying-jeou, and Soong Chu-Yu[?] have advanced degrees from the United States.

The large number of Taiwanese with either dual American citizenship or relatives with American citizenship have led to some concerns about political loyalty and has resulted in the requirement started in the 1990s that high government officials (although not ordinary people) must renounce any dual citizenships.

However, both the pan Green coalition[?] and pan Blue coalition[?] have extensive links with the United States and this issue does not help one side or another. Taiwanese living in the United States also tend to make up some of the iron votes on both sides and it is not uncommon for both blocs to arrange for dual citizens to travel to Taiwan to participate in elections.

On Mainland China, once influenced by American-educated Madame Chiang Kai-shek, the top leadership contains few persons educated in the United States: the Cold War period made for tenuous China-America links. However, the middle ranks of the People's Republic of China central government contain very large numbers of people who received their education in the United States, and a graduate degree from an American university has become an important benefit to political and economic career advancement. In the 1980s, there was widespread concern by the PRC over a brain drain as graduate students were not returning to the PRC. This exodous worsened after the Tiananmen protests of 1989. In the late 1990s, large numbers of professional Chinese Americans began to return to the PRC. In a typical career pattern, a Chinese graduate student would emmigrate to the United States and enter the job market and return to the PRC after reaching a perceived glass ceiling[?]. The number of Chinese graduate students returning to the PRC increased dramatically after 2000 and the dot-com bust[?] resulted in worsening job prospects in the United States.

First generation Chinese Americans can roughly be divided politically into those that support Taiwanese independence, those that support the Republic of China and Chinese reunification, and those that support the People's Republic of China. Because of these divisions, Chinese Americans have since the late-1970's generally been unable to maintain any coordinated influence on U.S. foreign policy in contrast to other ethnic groups. By contrast, American-born Chinese tend to be apathetic about Chinese politics and tend to be more concerned about minority rights.

Repatriating Chinese Americans are often expatriates, those who work for multi-national corporations and are sent to Taiwan to head the country office as general managers or CEO's. Chinese American youth mostly attend Taipei American School, the alma matter of the Wanganator. One other institution that is known among Chinese American is the love boat.

See also: List of famous Chinese Americans, Jook-sing, Chinese Canadian, Asian Canadian, Japanese American, Chinatown



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