Inspired by the American spirit of "all men are created equal", the Chinese people, originated from the eastern civilization, came to the land of freedom to find the "American Dream", just like people from all over the world. Whether it is the earlier Chinese labors, immigrants from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, new immigrants from mainland China, or descendants born in the United States, all the Chinese living in the United States are a group of people with common interests. At the individual and family level, we all hope to have the greatest opportunity for advancement; at the ethnic group level, we all hope to obtain an equal social status as other ethnic groups; at the national level, we aspire to build an American society of justice and equality together with all other ethnic groups, and to realize the same American dream.
Common interests connect Chinese people from different eras, different regions, and different political backgrounds. Chinese communities need to look at the big picture at the ethnic and national levels to find the future direction of development. Improving social status of ethnic minorities is consistent with the fundamental interests of the United States. While fulfilling civic duties to the country and contributing back to the society, the Chinese people must fight for their rights. This is the original intention for writing "The Guiding Principles of Chinese Communities’ Development in the United States". The Chinese communities have truly experienced the "survival crisis" in recent years. At this historical moment, the American Chinese United Association issued an initiative to compile "the Guiding Principles".
Chinese Americans and overseas Chinese from all walks of life participated actively, showing a panoramic view of the struggle and the development in the United States, around the theme of "consensus building, collaborating, integrating into the mainstream, and protecting rights and interests". The editorial board have received over one hundred submissions of articles, brought together deep reflections on history, sharing of life experiences, and expectations for the future. As a compilation of these wisdom and thoughts, experiences and lessons, observations and analysis, the Chinese communities’ development guiding principles have both practical significance and long-term value.
The Editorial Board would like to express its heartfelt thanks to all the contributors!
Inheritance：Every Chinese, who travelled across the oceans to America, carries the genes of the Chinese civilization, which imperceptibly affects our survival and development, which also teaches our American-born offspring through examples.
The elites representing industry, business, academia, and politics have all emphasized the importance of Chinese culture to Chinese communities in their articles. With deep historical knowledge and real life experience, the authors of the Guiding Principles vividly described the suffering and glory of the Chinese people in the United States: the feat of Chinese labors in building the great railway, the lion dance and the Huangmei opera at the Spring Festival Gala, the vigorous and elegant calligraphy, and the magnificent landscape paintings, the fascinating Chinese martial arts, "The Art of War" praised by the Wall Street, the must-visit Chinatowns, the dotted Chinese restaurants and the sound of reading in Chinese schools have all been carved into American history and have become an indispensable part of a pluralistic society.
Deep roots make flourish leaves. The strong bonding and inclusiveness of the Chinese civilization have allowed it to last for thousands of years. This is our treasure and pride. Chinese people, showing great talents in all professions in the United States and living good life, have all benefited from this. The hard-working, conscientious, eager to learn, and forward looking descendants of Yan and Huang have made great contributions to the development of American civilization while inheriting the Chinese traditions at the same time.
Identity：The first generations of Chinese American are always closely associated with their home country. Their Offspring born in the United States will also return to their hometowns to visit relatives and friends. Whether they are guests or hosts in the United States, what is the relationship between their hometowns in China and their new homes in America? This is a question of self-identification.
Many authors examined the identity issues of Chinese Americans. From the strong sense of back-to-the-roots in the mind of Chinese labors of early years to the trend of following the new customs and integrating into the mainstream society in the contemporary Chinese immigrants, the development of the Chinese communities in the United States has undergone fundamental changes. It is a necessity to improve English proficiency, to understand the rules and regulations of various industries in the United States, for the Chinese people to enter into the mainstream society. The traditional sense of the "sweeping snow only in front of own door ", "not speaking out, being just be a bystander, and free-riding" will limit the advancement of Chinese people.
In the early days, Chinese people were forbidden to marry white people. Today, there are more and more Chinese interracial marriages. Mixed-race children in such families are influenced by biculturalism. Cultural and physiological integrations occur at the same time. This group has been and will continue to be one of the driving forces for the Chinese people to integrate into the mainstream society. One way or the other, development through integration into the mainstream is the consensus of the authors of the Guiding Principles. Hometowns should not be forgotten, but the new homes are the place where future generations will develop their ambitions and realize their dreams. We are the hosts in America.
Assimilation and contribution：President Lincoln once famously said about the essence of the American democracy: a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Every Chinese who decides to live and prosper in the United States automatically becomes a part of American political power. The authors of the Guiding Principles recognized that the Chinese communities must adapt to utilizing American democratic processes to fight for the rights of the ethnic group. Chinese Americans should cultivate a sense of citizenship and elevate the traditional values of living a diligence and thrift life, working hard, paying taxes on time, emphasizing education, and managing money wisely, to the level of civic obligations, and should view activities like participating and discussing politics, getting involved in elections, voting, donation and volunteering to serve the community, as personal obligations.
We should embrace the concept of "seeking common ground while reserving differences". Different historical backgrounds and life experiences will inevitably lead to different feelings and perceptions in American society. However, these differences should be treasured and reserved (reserving differences). We don't have to think completely the same ways. We just need to find a common goal (seeking common ground). In the next 20 years, it is the fundamental interest of the Chinese communities to achieve political representations and influences in line with the demographics of the Chinese American population. This will be the only way for us to completely change the situation of "at the mercy of others" and to contribute our shares to the development of the American society.
Develop the future together：The development of the Chinese communities cannot be done alone. The interests of the Chinese communities are consistent with the common interests of the American people. We must embrace diversity and join hands with all ethnic groups to build the ideal American society. This is another important consensus of the authors of the Guiding Principles.
Chinese American history is an integral part of American history. The contributions, achievements, and sufferings of the Chinese American people should be recognized by the mainstream American society and remembered by future generations. Therefore, Chinese communities should actively promote the action plan of incorporating Asian-Pacific American history into the elementary and secondary school textbooks.
The United States faces challenges today due to three major structural changes. Internationally, the rise of the Asia-Pacific economic circle led by China is changing the United States’ dominance in the world economy. Domestically, the economic structure changes led by artificial intelligence in the United States and demographic changes brought about by the rapid growth of ethnic minorities are leading to a restructure of economic interests and political power.
With all these challenges, all Americans, including Chinese Americans, are faced with a future of either preserving a white-dominated past or embracing a multi-ethnic shared democracy. The key to re-establishing great successes is that representatives of all ethnic groups sit together, participate in decision-making jointly, deal with new challenges, and build an American society in which all people can enjoy equality and justice.