A Historical Guide to China and Chinese Immigration to Cincinnati

Week 4 – World Affairs Council Cultural Guides

Jin Kong, Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce Board Chair, has been working at the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council (GCWAC) for six months through a fellowship with The Mission Continues. He is looking to “receive a better understanding of the populist sentiment towards immigrants in Cincinnati.” Through this research, Kong will be sharing weekly blog posts through GCWAC’s website on Chinese culture in Cincinnati. Click here to read more of his blogs.

China – Part 1 – A Historical Guide to China and Chinese Immigration to Cincinnati

Terracotta

China’s recorded history began some four-thousand years ago. Three dynasties preceded the unification of China in 221 BCE: Xia (2070 BCE), Shang (1600 BCE), Zhou (1046 BCE). The Zhou period is a time of flourishing civilization. The writing was codified and ironwork became more sophisticated. China saw the rise of philosophers such as Confucius and Lao-Zi (Taoism) in this period.

During the mid-Zhou dynasty, power was decentralized and China entered what is known as the “Spring and Autumn Waring Period” (722-221 BCE). Sun-Zi and The Art of War emerged during this time. China was fractured into seven kingdoms. In 221 BCE, the Kingdom of Qin subdued the other six and proclaimed its king, Ying Zheng, the First Emperor of China – “Qin ShiHuang.”

During Qin ShiHuang’s reign, writing and measurements were unified under a single system; government rule was centralized; trade was made easier by uniformed currency and standardized width of cart-wheels. Qin-ShiHuang was also famous for building the first section of The Great Wall of China and his “Terracotta Army” which accompanied him to his tomb.

Many dynasties followed Qin. Most notably the Tang Dynasty, which was known as China’s golden age (618-907 AD); the Song Dynasty, which saw great scientific and technological advancements (960-1279 AD); and Ming Dynasty, which saw the completion of the Great Wall and the Forbidden City (1368-1644 AD). The last dynasty of China, (Qing) was ruled by the Manchus and ended in 1911. The Qing dynasty was succeeded by China’s modern republic age and eventually saw the rise of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

During the Qing dynasty (in 1868), the United States and China entered into the Burlingame Treaty. This treaty established a formal relationship between the two countries. China was granted “most favored nation” status and immigration were encouraged. The first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in the United States between the 1850s to 1880s. They mostly settled along the coasts (in California or New York). Most Chinese immigrants were labors working to build railroads.

In the 1870s, there were repeated efforts to limit Chinese immigration to the United States. The Fifteen Passenger Bill of 1879 limited the number of Chinese passengers to 15 in any single voyage to the United States. President Rutherford B. Hayes vetoed the bill because it violated the terms of the Burlingame Treaty.

Chinese Exclusion

Following the veto, President Hayes sent James Burrill Angell to China and he successfully negotiated a new treaty allowing restrictions on Chinese immigration. Following the Angell Treaty of 1880 was the passage of the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This Act was not repealed until 1943 under the Magnuson Act. Following the repeal, the second wave of Chinese immigrants to the US began from the late 1970s to the present.

The first Chinese migrants in Ohio were mostly descendants of Chinese immigrants who had settled on the West Coast. A majority of them moved to northeastern Ohio (Cleveland area). Some came to Cincinnati and made this region their home. According to a local new paper report of the Census Bureau account, there were 17 Chinese living in Cincinnati in 1910 (“SEVENTEEN CHINESE: And Seven Japanese Lived in Cincinnati in 1910, Report Says.” SPECIAL DISPATCH TO THE ENQUIRER, Nov 28, 1914). However, as early as 1894, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Chinese New Year Celebration by about 30 Chinese men led by a laundry shop owner Sam Kee (“‘SUN NIN,’: The Chinese New-Year’s Day, Celebrated By Cincinnati Celestials with Much Eclat.” Cincinnati Enquirer, Feb 6, 1894). In 1876, the first Chinese American reportedly voted in Cincinnati. (“The First Chinese Voter.” Cincinnati Enquirer, Apr 4, 1876). In 1912, the Enquirer reported the first woman and child immigrant moving to Cincinnati (“CHINESE: Wife and Child Coming To Take Up Their Residence in Cincinnati – Similar Distinction May Be Given Covington.” Cincinnati Enquirer, Sep 26, 1912). In 1914, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported  the first Chinese Baby born here to Mr. and Mrs. Wong Yie at their Vine Street restaurant (“CHINESE BABY, First To Be Born in Cincinnati, Is Christened Wong Gut Ting in Fathers Home.” Cincinnati Enquirer, Jun 8, 1914).

Today, thousands of Chinese descendants call the Greater Cincinnati region their home. Thousands more immigrate to Cincinnati to work or attend school. There are more than a dozen active Chinese community organizations in this region doing all sorts of charitable work. Most notably, the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Cincinnati Chinese Society, the Chinese American Association of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Chinese Church, and the Cincinnati Chinese Culture Learning Association.

Jin Kong is a fellow through Mission Continues working with GCWAC. Original articles found here.

The Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council (GCWAC) is a 501(c)(3) international non-profit organization that builds global understanding and promotes international awareness through education, information, and exchange of people and ideas. We work in cooperation with the government, companies, as well as cultural and educational bodies. CLICK HERE for more information.

The Mission Continues is a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact. Their operations in cities across the country deploy veteran volunteers alongside non-profit partners and community leaders to solve some of the most challenging issues facing our communities: improving community education resources, eliminating food deserts, mentoring at-risk youth and more. Through this unique model, veterans build new skills and networks that help them successfully reintegrate into life after the military while making long-term, sustainable transformations in communities and inspiring future generations to serve. CLICK HERE for more information.

What might happen in China in 2016?

Millions of people being relocated from cities, fewer jobs, greater centralization, and more movie blockbusters are just some predictions for the year.

(Cited from McKinsey & Co. Article published by Gordon Orr, Jan. 2016.)

In debates about whether growth is a percentage point up or down, we too often lose sight of the absolute scale of China’s economy. No matter what rate the country grows at in 2016, its share of the global economy, and of many specific sectors, will be larger than ever. My snapshot of China in 2016? An increasingly diverse, volatile, $11 trillion economy whose performance is becoming more and more difficult to describe as one dimensional.

The reality is that China’s economy is today made up of multiple subeconomies, each more than a trillion dollars in size. Some are booming, some declining. Some are globally competitive, others fit for the scrap heap. How you feel about China depends more than ever on the parts of the economy where you compete. In 2015, selling kit to movie theaters has been great business, selling kit to steel mills less so. In your China, are you dealing with a tiger or a tortoise? Your performance in 2016 will depend on knowing the answer to this question and shaping your plans accordingly.

Many well-established secular trends in China will continue in 2016. The service economy’s expansion is perhaps most prominent among them. In this piece, as usual, I won’t spend much time on the most familiar things. Instead, I will highlight what I believe will become the more important and more visible trends in 2016, either because they are now accelerating to scale or a discontinuity may become a tipping point. (For a quick summary, see sidebar, “The China Orr-acle: Gordon’s predictions for 2016.”) I hope you find my ideas valuable.

  • The 13th five-year plan—few surprises
  • Fewer jobs, flatter incomes—and, potentially, less confidence
  • The maturing of investing: More options for Chinese investors and foreign investment managers
  • Manufacturing in China is changing, not disappearing
  • Agricultural imports are rising and rising
  • More centralization
  • Moving people at scale—the middle class, not peasants
  • Movies in China: $$$
  • China continues to go global, with the United Kingdom as a new focal point
  • Big business would embrace soccer in China

For the full article CLICK HERE.

 

 

International Celebration of the Lunar New Year

Celebrate the Year of the Ram! Come and join us for an International Celebration of the Lunar New Year hosted by the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce and their Young Professional Network (YPN.) Free food will be provided by Tiger Dumpling and Eli’s BBQ while it lasts along with cash bar and DJ.

Where:

Columbia Community Center
3900 Eastern Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45226

When:

Wednesday February 18, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM EST

 

 Click Here for Event Registration & Details

Fall is Networking Season

Fall is a great time to get out after work and do some networking. It’s also great for learning about U.S.-China relations and Chinese investment in the Midwest. We have three events slated for fall so far, and we’ll probably see at least one more come up before the snow hits the ground in December. Here’s the lineup

CHINA Town Hall — Oct. 16 after work

Local Connections, National Relfections

We are teaming up with the National Committee on United States-China Relations Oct. 16 to offer a live teleconference on U.S.-China relations and our keynote speaker will be President Jimmy Carter.

The event will be from 6 to 8 pm at the Digitorium in Northern Kentucky University’s College of Informatics. You can click here to learn more and register.

We’ll have cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a local talk by China hand Michael McCune. Join us for a national discussion on U.S.-China relations.

Beer and Guanxi — October tentative

Good Food, Good People, Good Guanxi

Come join us at this free event from 6 to 8 pm at Rhinegeist for networking, games, food and drinks. Our YP Committee members are currently finding the appropriate date. Stay tuned for the release of that information.

Our goal is to build a community to join the movement for making Cincinnati a more international city. So, if you are looking to meet new people and discuss ways of making Cincinnati better, you won’t want to miss this event.

Cincinnati Checklist — Nov. 12 after work

A Discussion on Chinese Investment in Middle America

Miller Canfield and the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce will hold a discussion panel on Chinese investment in Middle America. You can register at this link or by clicking the button above.

The event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Nov. 12. It will feature networking, hors d’oeuvres, and cocktails in the historic Chef’s Room of the Phoenix club in downtown Cincinnati.

The panelists —  Yanping Wang, Shusheng Wang, and Matthew Steele — have intimate knowledge of Fuyao Auto Glass as they have worked to implement their expected $250 million investment in Ohio, the largest by a Chinese company ever in our great state. Join us to learn about how this massive deal went down and what we can expect for the future of Chinese business in the region.

 

September in Cincinnati: Finding New Partners in China

September turned out to be one of the busiest months for the Chinese Chamber this year. All in all, we had three Chinese delegations come to Cincinnati to build new partnerships and learn about economic development opportunities in our fair region. We had lots of photo opportunities as well. Check out some of the moments we shared with our new friends from China. You can also view our Facebook album at this link here.

Worship the Moon: Mid-Autumn Festival 101

panda mooncake midautumn festival

Today is Mid-Autumn Festival, a day of “intangible cultural heritage” in Mainland China.

The official harvest festival is celebrated all over eastern and southeastern parts of Asia. It falls on the the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar  during a full moon, which is in September or early October.

Apparently, the harvest festival originated in China during the Shang Dynasty, as early as 16th century B.C.E. It became popular during the Tang Dynasty in 600 C.E. Suffice it to say the activity has happened on the same date for thousands of years. Some of the characteristics of the festival include gathering together, giving thanks and praying for a bountiful future.

In our modern age, the Chinese take this time off as a national holiday to travel, be with family and attend public displays. The BBC published a great look at the festival at this link. Here’s our favorite photo.

The mystery of “guanxi” or 关系 in Chinese business

Guanxi (/gwanˈCHē/ or 关系) is a Chinese term that can describe many things, but in society it mostly points to “networking” or “relationships.” Perhaps in American terms, it could be summed up — at least in business terms — with the old adage “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Let’s there are a few more critical nuances that make guanxi different from American networking. Continue reading below.

If you want to practice your guanxi building skills, check out our young professionals networking gathering on the evening of Wednesday, April 23. Click here to register for free or check out the event page on Facebook.

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