Chinese Immigrants and Politics

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Chinese Advocacy: Jinhui Gao, a Chinese immigrant vents his anger.

After immigrating to America, Chinese Americans started groups like the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association with motives to get more status in America.

Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association Logo

The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) was founded in 1883 to serve and protect the interests of the Chinese people in New York City. Historically it has performed a quasi-government role in the Chinese community, so that the President of the CCBA is sometimes referred to as the "Mayor of Chinatown." CCBA represents the Chinese-Americans living in the Greater New York area.

The functions of the CCBA are to:

· Provide social services,

· Mediate personal and commercial disputes,

· Preserve Chinese traditions and cultural heritage,

· Serve as a bridge between Chinese and American groups,

· Promote Chinese-American interests,

· Engage in charitable activities, and

· Sponsor educational and recreational activities.

How the CCBC Was Established

Goldrush 1849
Chinese railroad workers transported dirt by the cartload to fill in this Secrettown Trestle in the Sierra Nevada Mountain.

The Chinese presence in New York was noted since the clipper ship days. Some were merchants and sailors. Larger numbers did not come until after the Gold Rush of 1849 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

An 1870 census shows there were only 23 Chinese living in New York City. But the number increased to 120 in 1872, 853 in 1880, 2,559 in 1890, and 6,321 in 1900. They were mostly in such lines of business as laundry, cigar and tobacco, groceries and restaurants.

Chinese Exclusion Act

However, Anti-Chinese feelings ran high. The Chinese were persecuted and attacked. Discriminatory laws were passed against them, forbidding them to become citizens.

In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited Chinese persons from entering the country except for a few exempt classes. The hostility created a lot of problems for the Chinese already in this country.

Chinese Charitable and Benevolent Association of the City of New York

To address these issues, community leaders proposed the formation of an organization representing all the Chinese groups in the New York area.

In 1883, the Imperial Manchu Court established a Consulate in New York, the Chinese Charitable and Benevolent Association of the City of New York. It was incorporated in New York State in 1890.

In the beginning, there were seven member organizations: the Hoy Sun Ning Yeung Association, Lin Sing Association, Chinese Merchants Association, Hip Sing Association, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Chinese Masonic Association, and Kuo Min Tang Eastern Region Office. By 1948, organization membership had increased to 60 and remains the same today. That same year, the Association was renamed the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association New York.

Current CCBC President Justin C. Yu

Justin Chin-Shan Yu

Justin Chin-Shan Yu was born in 1945 in Chunking, China. Yu’s family was originally from Manchuria, in the North East part of China. He lived in Beijing until the age of four when he and his family moved to Taiwan, the Republic of China, because of the Chinese Civil War.

Yu obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from National Taiwan University and immigrated to the United States of American in 1970 to pursue his studies, earning a Master of Science from Pratt Institute. He made his home in Chinatown, New York in 1977 after living in Jackson Heights, Flushing, Brooklyn and Fort Lee, NJ.

Before retiring in 2006, Yu worked for twenty-five years as a reporter specializing in immigration issues for World Journal Daily, the largest Chinese newspaper in North America. Prior to joining the World Journal, he was employed with Greenwood Textiles, located in Manhattan.

Yu is currently serving as President of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New York, an umbrella organization encompassing over sixty Chinese American organizations, of which Lin Sing Association is a member organization.

Yu is the author of numerous Chinese books and booklets, including The Key to Immigrating to the United States, The Story of Sister Ping, Immigration to Canada and All Aspects of H1-B Visas.

How to Contact CCBC

CCBC is located on 62-64 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013. Their telephone numbers are (212) 226-6280, (212) 226-6764 and - 6765. Fax number: (212) 431-5883.

External Links

[CCBA Main Page]

[Justin Yu]