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Chinese language schools serve as a bridge to share culture with Americans

Source: Xinhua | 2021-12-12

SAN DIEGO, the United States, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese language schools in the United States serve as cultural centers for their communities, Allan Yang, secretary general of the Chinese School Association in the United States (CSAUS), told Xinhua on Friday.

These schools can act as "bridges to facilitate not just educational and cultural exchanges but also promote friendship between the United States and China," he said at the 13th National Convention and Chinese Education Conference held in San Diego.

The event, which kicked off on Friday, is scheduled to run from Dec. 10-12. CSAUS, a non-profit organization established in 1994, has invited representatives and teachers of Chinese language schools from all over the United States.

Noting that there are member schools in San Francisco that have been around for 137 years, CSAUS Chairperson Lorna Xing said, "Those schools played a historic role in enabling Chinese Americans to get their rights during the years of the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act."

Their classes, primarily held in the evenings and at weekends, are open to anyone interested in learning Mandarin or experiencing Chinese culture and arts, regardless of their ethnic and cultural background. Five to 10 percent of their students are Americans or non-Chinese, Xing said.

CSAUS data showed that the association now has around 400 member schools, 20,000 teachers -- most of them volunteers -- and about 150,000 students.

Raising awareness of Chinese and Chinese history is also a growing part of their agenda. "Teaching Chinese and Chinese American history in U.S. schools is not something we want to do, it's something we need to do," said Yang.

Illinois is the first U.S. state to officially include Asian history in their public school curriculum, followed by New Jersey, Maryland, and Massachusetts.