Event Recap – Immigration and Community Transformation: Diverse Integration Experiences of Chinese Americans

Dr. Min Zhou, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies at UCLA and newly inducted member of the US National Academy of Sciences, headlined a dynamic USCET webinar May 11. Her talk, focused on the unique demographic and social changes transforming Chinese American communities, was moderated by Professor Cheun Hoe Yow, director of Nanyang Technological University’s Chinese Heritage Centre in Singapore.

Dr. Zhou noted that the Chinese diaspora encompasses more than 50 million people in 150 countries. The United States, home to some 5.4 million individuals born in China, hosts the largest Chinese diaspora community outside of Southeast Asia and one that has experienced dramatic shifts over some 180 years. The first Chinese came to America in the 1840s, primarily as low-skilled laborers or “sojourners” from Guangdong province in southern China. In recent decades, a dramatically different profile has emerged as Chinese who move to the US for education and professional opportunities have become a major force in Chinese immigration. Many diverse communities with dramatically different experiences, all part of Chinese America, exist within these larger trends.

Diasporic Chinese experience in the US provides an interesting comparison to the ethnic Chinese situation in Singapore. While the Chinese diaspora is a minority in the US, ethnic Chinese are the majority race in Singapore, followed by the Malay, Indians, and other ethnic groups. In the context of Singapore, ethnic Chinese communities are formed mainly by the descendants of early migrants from Guangdong and Fujian and joined by new Chinese migrants from other provinces in China. They are all well positioned in Singapore’s multiracial environment and multiculturalism.

Please see full bios for the speakers below and enjoy the event recording here.


Dr. Min Zhou
University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Min Zhou is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies, Walter and Shirley Wang Endowed Chair in US-China Relations and Communications, and Director of the Asia Pacific Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Zhou’s main research areas are in migration & development, race and ethnicity, Chinese diaspora, and the sociology of Asia and Asian America. She has published widely in these areas, including the award-winning book The Asian American Achievement Paradox (with Lee, 2015), The Rise of the New Second Generation (with Bankston, 2016), Contemporary Chinese Diasporas (ed., 2017), and Beyond Economic Migration: Historical, Social, and Political Factors in US Immigration (eds., with Mahmud, 2023). She is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Career Award and 2020 Contribution to the Field Award of the American Sociological Association. 


Dr. Cheun Hoe Yow
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Professor Cheun Hoe Yow is associate professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, where he is Director of the Chinese Heritage Centre and Director of the Centre for Chinese Language and Culture, and where he was the Head of the Chinese Program (July 2016-March 2022).  He is a chief editor for Huaren Yanjiu Guoji Xuebao (International Journal of Diasporic Chinese Studies) and book review editor for Journal of Chinese Overseas.  His academic areas include Chinese migrants and diaspora, qiaoxiang (Overseas Chinese homelands) ties, and diasporic Chinese literature.  He was a Fulbright scholar at the Centre for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California San Diego, 2013.  Recent books include New Chinese Migrants in Singapore: A Question of Citizenship (2021, in Chinese); Singapore Comparative Literature Compendium (2021, co-edited with Sim Wai Chew); Migration Trajectories and Diasporic Discourses: Multiples Contexts of Ethnic Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia (2014, in Chinese); and Guangdong and Chinese Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of Qiaoxiang (2013); His articles appear in journals such as Journal of Contemporary ChinaModern Asian StudiesAsian EthnicityCross-Cultural StudiesChangjiang Xueshu, and Waiguo Wenxue Yanjiu.  He was President, Singapore Society of Asian Studies, from 2018 August to 2020 December.