by Shehong Chen
University of Illinois Press, 2002
eISBN: 978-0-252-05518-8 | Paper: 978-0-252-07389-2 | Cloth: 978-0-252-02736-9
Library of Congress Classification E184.C5C466 2002
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.8951073


The 1911 revolution in China sparked debates that politicized and divided Chinese communities in the United States. People in these communities affirmed traditional Chinese values and expressed their visions of a modern China, while nationalist feelings emboldened them to stand up for their rights as an integral part of American society. When Japan threatened the China's young republic, the Chinese response in the United States revealed the limits of Chinese nationalism and the emergence of a Chinese American identity. 

Shehong Chen investigates how Chinese immigrants to the United States transformed themselves into Chinese Americans during the crucial period between 1911 and 1927. Chen focuses on four essential elements of a distinct Chinese American identity: support for republicanism over the restoration of monarchy; a wish to preserve Confucianism and traditional Chinese culture; support for Christianity, despite a strong anti-Christian movement in China; and opposition to the Nationalist party's alliance with the Soviet Union and cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party. 

Sensitive and enlightening, Being Chinese, Becoming Chinese American documents how Chinese immigrants survived exclusion and discrimination, envisioned and maintained Chineseness, and adapted to American society.