The author Fenggang Yang’s main argument in this essay concerns the religious diversity among the American Chinese. In China, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism are the three main traditional religions among its people. However, it is contrasting to find that most of the Chinese Americans are either Christians or they claim no religion at all. In western countries, there are as many Chinese protestant churches as Chinese Buddhist temples.
Chinese were the first Asian group to migrate to the United States. Since 1840s up to the present day, large numbers of skilled and non-skilled immigrants who include students have been relocating to America most of them opting to live permanently. Most of Chinese in the United States are foreign-born and educated. Chinese Americans have been forming associations and organizations with motives of representing their rights in the States. Their associations and organizations are diverse, numerous and different from each other.
In the nineteenth century, the Chinese immigrants brought along their gods and established temples in the United States. However, over the generations, many Chinese Americans especially the ones born and raised in America have converted to Christianity due to the American social and cultural concepts.
Chinese traditional customs and beliefs differ from the American. However, most Chinese who migrated to America changed their religions and customs. It is mostly the skilled Chinese Americans that have been forced to assimilate with Americans because of their interactions in schools, work places, and neighborhoods. The author notes that the high rising rate of conversion of immigrant Chinese to Christianity does not mean that they have given up their Chinese identity. They still celebrate heritage and preserve their values e.g. celebration of the Chinese New year.
The author’s argument is satisfactory because religious statistics of American Chinese and the Chinese back at home shows vast difference. I believe that any American Chinese has a right to follow his/her choice of religion. Chinese children born and raised in America should, however, begiven a chance to know their culture and be introduced to their ethnic congregations in order to have a feeling of being at home far away from home. If situations would change and large number of Americans started relocating to China, would Americans change their social, cultural and political beliefs?