one of the world’s oldest civilizations, with almost ¼ of
the world’s population. It is located in East Asia, and shares
borders with 14 other countries, including Russia, India,
North Korea, Nepal and Vietnam.
The Chinese come to America from many different parts of
the world. While most are from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong
Kong and South East Asia, patients may emigrate from other
areas, such as Cuba or South America. The Chinese are not
a homogenous group: they may be diverse as a community or
as individuals. While their common roots may be their ancestral
heritage, they may have adopted languages and practices from
other host cultures. Their socio-economic status in the U.S.
and the religions practiced may also be different from their
country of origin.
At Bellevue, most of the Chinese patients we see are working
class, and have emigrated here for economic and/or political
reasons. Many do not speak English but may have children who
In a family unit, first generation Chinese may view themselves
as immigrants to the U.S. Their children may be referred to
as “ABC” or "American Born Chinese." Their children
may consider themselves “children of Chinese descent.” Children
tend to adopt Western culture easily. Acculturation may contribute
to the differences within the family in traditional beliefs
(the balance between “yin” and “yang,” herbal medications,
seeking the advice of a medium) and the acceptance of Western
Medicine. Intergenerational conflicts may arise with the assimilation
of the “new” culture.
Common values among the Chinese may be a belief in working
hard, harmonious living, self-control, fulfilling prescribed
roles, and filial piety (respect for parents and older siblings).