The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
of New York
The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) was
founded in 1883 to serve and protect the interests of the
Chinese people in the New York metropolitan area. Historically
it has performed a quasi-governmental role in the Chinese
community. The President of the CCBA has always been referred
to as the unofficial "Mayor of Chinatown".
The Functions of the CCBA
Externally, the CCBA represents the Chinese-Americans living in
the Greater New York area. Internally, the CCBA is the hinge
that keeps the Chinese-American community intact and vigorous.
More specifically, the CCBA:
Provides social services
· Preserves Chinese traditions and cultural heritage
· Serves as a bridge between Chinese and non-Chinese groups
· Promotes Chinese-American interests
· Engages in charitable activities
· Sponsors educational and recreational activities
· Provides citizenship applications and voter registration
The CCBA Membership
The CCBA is made up of 60 member organizations that represent a
cross-section of the Chinese community in New York, including
fellow-provincial organizations such as the Hoy Sun Ning Yung
Association and the Lin Sing Association; clansmen organizations
including the Lee, Eng or Wong Family Associations; professional
and trade organizations such as the Chinese Chamber of Commerce
and the Chinese American Restaurant Association; as well as
religious, cultural and women's organizations. In other words,
the CCBA is an umbrella organization.
The Founding of the CCBA
The Chinese presence in New York has been noted since the
clipper ship days in the 19th century. Some were merchants and
sailors. Others were Chinese migrants from Cuba, Peru, and the
Caribbean. The larger numbers did not come until after the Gold
Rush of 1849 and the completion of the transcontinental
railroad. When the tracks of the Union Pacific and the Central
Pacific were joined at Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869, about
30,000 Chinese railroad workers lost their jobs. Many chose to
come to New York because of the virulent anti-Chinese climate in
An 1870 census shows there were only 23 Chinese living in New
York City. But the numbers increased to 120 in 1872, 853 in
1880, 2,559 in 1890, and 6,321 in 1900. They were mostly active
in such lines of business as laundry, cigar and tobacco sales,
groceries and restaurants.
However, anti-Chinese feelings ran high. The Chinese were
regularly persecuted and attacked. Discriminatory laws were
passed, forbidding them to become citizens. In 1882, Congress
passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited Chinese
persons from entering the country except for a select few exempt
classes. The discriminatory regulations resulted in anti-Chinese
hostility and created many problems for the Chinese already
living in this country.
To address these issues, community leaders proposed the
formation of an organization representing all the Chinese groups
in the New York area.
This proposal became a reality in 1883, when the Imperial Manchu
Court established a Consulate in New York. The newly created
organization was known as the Chinese Charitable and Benevolent
Association of the City of New York. It was incorporated in New
York State in 1890.
By 1948, organization membership had increased to 60 and the
Association was renamed the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent
Association of New York.
The CCBA President
Is Elected Every Two Years
The Association President is elected by the CCBA General
Assembly from among the candidates nominated by both the Hoy Sun
Ning Yung Association and the Lin Sing Association. The term is
for two years and the President's position alternates between
candidates from the Hoy Sun Ning Yung Association and the Lin
Sing Association. The President takes office on March 1st of
This form of election has been in effect since 1922, because
early Chinese immigrants came predominantly from the county of
Hoy Sun (Taishan) in Kwangtung (Guangdong) Province, while those
from all other counties outside of Hoy Sun formed the Lin Sing
Association. In Chinese, Lin Sing denotes "united formation."
Fulfilling the Functions
The CCBA operates like a skilled Chinese artist who uses two
brushes at the same time to paint a picture. On the one hand,
the CCBA maintains close contact with all Chinese-American
organizations in the nation; on the other, it tries hard to
integrate into the mainstream of American society.
These efforts were reciprocated in 1954 with an epoch making
event. Robert Wagner, who had been Manhattan Borough President,
visited Chinatown after taking office as Mayor of New York City.
In doing so, Mr. Wagner became the first incumbent New York City
Mayor in history to visit the CCBA.
In May of the following year, a Congressional group arrived in
Chinatown, becoming the first fact-finding mission from Capitol
Hill to officially visit the community. Five months later, on
October 10, 1954, a number of U.S. political and business
leaders attended a gala reception hosted by the CCBA at the
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in midtown Manhattan in celebration of the
"Double 10" National Day of the Republic of China. Also present
were Governor K.C. Wu of Taiwan Province and Paul Cardinal Yupin,
the Archbishop of Nanking.
Relationship with the CCBAs or Other Similar Organizations in
There are sister CCBA organizations in many of the major cities
of the United States with large Chinese populations. In early
1957, the CCBA in New York initiated the convocation of the
first National Convention of Chinese in America. It was held in
Washington, D.C., with 124 delegates attending from 35 cities.
The Convention called on all Chinese-Americans to strengthen
solidarity, abide by the U.S. Constitution, and seek equality
with other ethnic groups. It also called upon the U.S.
Government to increase the immigration quota for China and for
immigration officials to refrain from harassing Chinese
immigrants without a warrant.
This Convention was held bi-annually thereafter until 2000.
The CCBA has three levels of schools -- for the young, the very
young, and adults -- in Chinese and English.
The New York Chinese School was founded in 1909, with the
purpose of providing young Chinese in the United States with an
opportunity to learn the language and culture of their ancestral
land. Enrollment has multiplied from the initial two dozen
students to the present 3,000, ranging in levels from
kindergarten to 12th grade. The school is open seven days a
week. It also conducts classes in such specialized subjects as
piano, Chinese music, painting, dance, handicrafts, and martial
arts. The school's 70-member drum-and-fife corps is a Chinatown
institution. It has been invited to perform on innumerable
occasions at special occasions inside and outside the community.
l The Chinatown Day Care Center was established in 1976 by the
Chinese Service Center. When the Center ran into financial
problems in 1987, the CCBA took over its operation. The Day Care
Center now has an enrollment of 200 toddlers each month.
The CCBA Adult English Classes opened in the fall of 1970 to
meet the needs of an increasing number of newly arrived
immigrants who wanted to learn English. In the beginning, 400
students were enrolled in 21 evening classes. Day classes were
added during the 1980s. At present, it is one of the best places
for new immigrants to learn English in the Chinatown area.
Recreational Activities that the CCBA Supports
The CCBA supports programs for all age groups.
The East Coast Summer Volleyball Invitational tournament has
been an annual event since 1988. Both men's and women's teams
from more than three dozen East Coast cities in the United
States and Canada participate.
l The North America Chinese Invitational Volleyball Tournament
has been held annually, except for the years during World War
II, in alternating years in New York City, San Francisco,
Washington, D.C., Boston, Montreal, and Toronto. The 62nd annual
tournament took place in NYC in 2009.
A total of 29 table tennis teams compete against each other
annually at the CCBA facilities. Several of these teams are
organized by athletes from other ethnic groups.
l The CCBA hosts three major celebrations annually: Chinese New
Year, Asian Heritage Month and Double Ten National Day, each
featuring an annual parade. Federal, State and City officials,
as well as community leaders, are invited to celebrate these
The CCBA supports Asian art and cultural groups in the city.
Chinese Opera groups perform in CCBA's Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial
Auditorium annually after Lunar New Year and Double Ten National
Day. Other art and cultural groups perform in the auditorium
throughout the year.
The CCBA’s Relationship with China
Since its creation in 1883, the CCBA has maintained a close
relationship with China. For example:
At the turn of the 20th century, when China was under Manchu
rule, the CCBA supported the democratic movement initiated by
Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The movement culminated in 1912 with the
founding of the Republic of China, which still exists in Taiwan
In 1915, when Japan attempted to conquer China, the CCBA and
the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in New York started a boycott of
In 1931, Japan began carrying out its plans for conquering
China by occupying Manchuria in Northeastern China. From then
until the end of World War II in 1945, the CCBA and dozens of
other Chinese organizations united in support of boycotting
Japanese goods and shipment of U.S. scrap iron to Japan, by
collecting donations and raising funds in support of China's war
of resistance against Japan.
In the early 1940s, there was a series of severe famines in
several counties of Kwangtung Province in South China, and the
CCBA helped organize relief efforts for the victims.
On October 1st, 1949, Mao Zedong came to power on mainland
China. Despite enticements and threats from the Chinese
Communist Government, the CCBA rejected their entreaties and
remained loyal to the Republic of China Government on Taiwan.
The CCBA’s relationship with the Republic of China
The great majority of CCBA's members and their families are from
the Chinese mainland, but the CCBA supports the Republic of
China in Taiwan.
The CCBA is pro democracy. Compared to Mao's brand of
Communism, the CCBA believes Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles
of the People -- Nationalism, Democracy and People's Livelihood
-- upon which the Republic of China was founded in 1912, are the
principals which all people should have the right to enjoy. It
is also closer to Abraham Lincoln's ideal of "government of the
people, by the people, for the people."
Dr. Sun Yat-sen and New York
Dr. Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese revolutionary and political
leader. As the foremost pioneer of Republican China, Dr. Sun is
frequently referred to as the Father of China. Dr. Sun played an
instrumental role in overthrowing the Qing Dynasty in October
1911, the last imperial dynasty of China. He was the first
provisional president when the Republic of China (ROC) was
founded in 1912 and later co-founded the Kuomintang (KMT) where
he served as its first leader.
Dr. Sun was a medical doctor, and he was our fellow
Chinese-American. While Dr. Sun was developing his revolutionary
plan, he frequently visited New York’s Chinatown and gained the
support of overseas Chinese-Americans. He visited New York in
the summer of 1896, December of 1903, November of 1909 and
February of 1911. He successfully established a strong network
of overseas Chinese Americans who supported his revolutionary
plans and ideals. In his last visit in February 1911, he
delivered a speech at the CCBA, which was located at 16 Mott
Street at the time. After that speech, the CCBA announced its
full support of the Chinese Revolution.
CCBA's Treatment of Chinese who are from other Countries
All people of Chinese ethnicity who come to the CCBA for help
are treated equally, whether from Taiwan, mainland China, Hong
Kong, or elsewhere. The CCBA has also provided assistance to
many Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees of Chinese origin.
The CCBA's Reaction to the Massacre of Pro-Democracy Students
by the People's Liberation Army at
Tiananmen Square on June 4th, 1989
The CCBA was shocked and enraged by this incident. In addition
to lodging a strong protest with the Chinese Communists, the
CCBA sponsored a memorial service for the victims on the morning
of June 9, 1989, in Chinatown's Columbus Park. The number of
mourners was estimated at 10,000 to 20,000. After the memorial
service, they marched, despite heavy rains, in a procession to
demonstrate in front of the Communist Chinese Mission to the
United Nations in midtown to vent their indignation.
Four months later, on October 1, 1989, (Founding Day of the
People's Republic of China), another memorial service was held
in front of the offices of the Communist Chinese Consulate
General on 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan, which had been
renamed "Tiananmen Square" by the then Mayor Ed Koch.
Dealing with Ridicule and Discrimination Problems against
Americans of Chinese descent have long been the target of
ridicule and discrimination. In response to such incidents, the
CCBA has taken
all forms of action permitted by law -- organizing rallies and
demonstrations, sending messages of protest, negotiating with
the parties/authorities concerned, and/or instituting legal
proceedings. For example:
Prior to 1944, aliens were prohibited from owning real property
in the United States. The restriction was rescinded after
tenacious protests from the CCBA and organizations representing
other ethnic groups.
1966, when Mayor John Lindsay wanted to abolish the 5th Police
Precinct in Chinatown and place Chinatown under the jurisdiction
of the 1st Precinct, the CCBA considered this move as a
denigration of the Chinese community. Led by CCBA President,
Chung Ping Hom, more than 5,000 local residents protested in
front of the 5th Precinct station house. As a result, the order
to close the 5th Precinct was rescinded and it has remained on
Elizabeth Street, and has continued to play a significant role
in safeguarding the peace and security of Chinatown.
The demonstration against the building of a new prison in
Chinatown in 1982
the summer of 1982, New York City decided to build a new prison
in Chinatown, in addition to the two existing detention houses
already in the neighborhood. The news stirred up an outcry of
protests from local residents and business people. What the
community needed most was not a new correctional facility but
more apartments for low-income families as well as more schools,
day-care centers, clinics, and commercial space.
In spite of the community's opposition, the New York City
Planning Council voted to proceed with the original prison plan.
On the morning of November 7th, the CCBA executives tried a new
form of protest. Led by CCBA President Joseph Mei, more than
10,000 local residents of both sexes and all ages sat in silence
in front of City Hall, while their community leaders went inside
the building to deliver their message of anger and frustration.
As a result, the City Government compromised by constructing a
senior citizens building and a shopping mall on the edges of the
site designated for the new prison.
On the afternoon of April 25, 1975, a car driven by a white male
collided with another car driven by a Chinese-American at the
intersection of Bayard and Elizabeth Streets. The mishap was
apparently caused by the former, but the police sided with the
white male and let him go. Infuriated, the victim and several
witnesses to the accident went to the 5th Precinct to vent their
anger. When Yang-hsun Yao, a young engineering student who
witnessed the incident, accused the police of mishandling the
case, he was arrested for obstruction of justice and brutally
beaten by two officers.
On the morning of May 19th, some 20,000 Chinese Americans,
headed by M. B. Lee, CCBA President, staged an unprecedented
demonstration first at the station house and later at City Hall.
In the end, the Precinct dropped all charges against Yao and
disciplined the two officers implicated in the student's
A ripple effect from this demonstration resulted in beefing up
manpower at the 5th Precinct, and the Precinct became friendlier
with the CCBA and other Chinese-American organizations. PS 65
was renamed the Sun Yat-sen Junior High School. Other schools in
Chinatown were provided with more facilities for bilingual
education, and several new senior citizens centers were added.
The Formation of
New York City's Chinatown
According to historical records, the first Chinese visitor to
New York City was Pang Hua, a commercial intermediary of the
Astor American trading company in Canton, China. The year was
The first sailboat from China arrived in New York Harbor on July
10, 1847. Among the passengers aboard was Yung Wing. He was the
first Chinese student ever to enroll in an American school, and
was graduated from Yale University in 1854. PS 124 on Division
Street is named after him.
The first Chinese immigrant to have permanent residence in New
York City was Lee Hua, who had amassed a fortune as a gambler
and became the owner of a gambling house in 1851. Seven years
later, a merchant by the name of Ah Kam settled on Mott Street
and subsequently opened a cigar-and-tobacco shop on Park Row and
a grocery store on Pell Street.
Thus, with Mott Street as a "beachhead," the early Chinese
settlers gradually expanded their sphere of influence along
Chatham Square, the Bowery, Park Row, and such nearby streets as
Doyer, Pell, Elizabeth, Bayard, Mulberry and Baxter.
Tourism in Chinatown
In 1890, newspapers began reporting about the tasty flavors of
Chinese cuisine. By 1897, "chop suey" had become a household
term and a favorite of many American gourmets. The craze was
further enhanced by an article in the now defunct New York
World, which said that, during his East Coast tour of the United
States, Prime Minister Li Hung-chang of the Manchu Court stopped
over in New York to eat that delicacy at Man Wen Lou in
Chinatown Becomes a Bustling
It is a well-known fact that early immigrants from China were
mostly manual laborers or laborers-turned retailers who
diligence, perseverance and ingenuity. Until the early 1940s,
activities of the majority of Chinese Americans had been limited
-- due primarily to language barriers and discrimination -- to
the areas centering on Mott Street. Besides engaging in the
laundry or restaurant businesses, the jobs most commonly
available for them were in sales of cigar-tobacco products,
grocery goods, laundry supplies, medicinal herbs, clothing, and
During World War II, Congress repealed the infamous Chinese
Exclusion Act. This opened many new avenues for enterprising
young Chinese entrepreneurs, and led an increasing number of the
younger generation to join the ranks of the professional elite
-- accountants, bankers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, managers,
scientists, and teachers. The success of these professionals has
helped to improve the image of Chinatown.
Chinatown and its Boundaries
Chinatown began in 1870 with a cluster of stores on Mott Street
in Lower Manhattan serving the Chinese people. As Chinatown
grew, the core area was bordered by Baxter Street, Madison
Street, Grand Street and Worth Streets. Today, Manhattan's
Chinatown has expanded its borders into Little Italy, the Lower
East Side, and as far north as Houston Street and southward
beyond the Brooklyn Bridge.
Chinatown landmark is Confucius Plaza, a housing project built
near the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge. Two structures, one
44 stories high and the other 19 stories high, contain 762
apartments, street-level stores, and the Yung Wing Elementary
School, known as PS 124.
In addition, satellite Chinatowns has sprung up in Flushing,
Queens, and in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Both these areas are now
vital and thriving business and residential communities,
reversing the decline that had threatened these neighborhoods.
New York City
According to the 2000 census, the Chinese population in the five
boroughs of New York City was 361,531. This was proven to be an
undercount by the Census Bureau. Each year, many Chinese
immigrants have made New York City their place of destination.
Along with natural increase, the Chinese population by the year
2010 is expected to reach at least half a million.
The Chinese are a highly educated group. About 27% over age 25
have a college education, and many, especially those with
English language skills, have successfully found employment in
the mainstream marketplace. For example, Dr. David Ho was named
Time Magazine's Man of the Year for 1996 for his discovery of a
method for treating AIDS. Yo-Yo Ma, the famous cellist, performs
regularly in Lincoln Center and in major concert venues around
the world. Vera Wang is a renowned designer who dresses the most
As three-fourths of New York's Chinese are foreign-born, many do
not have the English fluency to compete, so they have created
their own jobs and businesses.
As a result, it is safe to say that the Chinese have contributed
enormously to the New York City economy.
Political involvement of Chinese Americans in
New York City
In recent years, Chinese-Americans have grown into a powerful force in
New York City politics. In 2001, John Liu was elected the first
Asian American New York City Councilman representing District 20
in Flushing. In 2004, Jimmy Meng was elected the first
New York State Assemblyman representing the 22nd Assembly
District in Queens. He was succeeded by Ellen Young in 2006 and
Grace Meng (Jimmy Meng's daughter) in 2008.
2010, John Liu was elected the first Asian American Comptroller
in New York City history. Peter Koo won the election for the
District 20 (Flushing) seat in the City Council, and Margaret
Chin became the first Asian American City Council member
representing the Chinatown area.
CCBA spearheaded the move to form the Chinese Voters Federation in May
2004 to encourage qualified Chinese-American citizens to
register and vote. Since then it has successfully registered
thousands of voters and encouraged them to vote on Election Day.
CCBA's Disaster Relief Efforts Following Global and Local
Immediately following the 911 Attack in 2001, CCBA President
Henry Chung transformed the CCBA building on Mott Street into an
emergency center to assist the thousands of affected people in
the Chinatown area. Government agencies and humanitarian
organizations immediately setup temporary offices at the CCBA to
provide different kinds of emergency services.
Right after the earthquake and tsunami disasters in south Asia
in 2006, CCBA raised more than $500,000 for the victims. In
recent years, CCBA has cooperated with the American Red Cross of
Greater New York, to raise funds for the victims in different
disasters worldwide, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the
Bangladesh cyclone in 2007,
Sichuan Earthquake in 2008, Taiwan Flood in 2009, and Haiti
Earthquake in 2010.
December 2006, CCBA and the American Red Cross of Greater New
York signed a Memorandum of Understanding to coordinate programs
in Chinatown that help prepare and train the Chinese community
for any kind of emergency or disaster. The CCBA President sits
on the Advisory Board of the ARC in its Manhattan office. In
recent years, the CCBA staff has continuously responded to local
disasters involving Chinese Americans in New York City.
Location of the CCBA
The CCBA is located at 62-64 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013.
Its building was constructed with community funds and houses the
CCBA headquarters, the New York Chinese School, an auditorium,
sports facilities, and street front stores. The CCBA telephone
numbers are (212) 226-6280, (212) 226-6764 and (212) 226-6765.
Fax number: (212) 431-5883.
Detailed Information About The New York Chinese School
During the Chin Dynasty in the year 1909, a number of
organizations in the New York Community Center, along with other
interested individuals, suggested the establishment of an
overseas Chinese School in New York. In the beginning, there
were only about twenty students, but with the support of the New
York Overseas Chinese Community Center, the number of students
grew rapidly. The growth of the school can be compared to a
little flower bud blossoming into a flower that has never faded
since. Today, New York Chinese School (NYCS) is the largest
continuously-operating Chinese School in North America.
The New York Chinese School is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) school,
staffed by dedicated teachers. Currently, the school has a
faculty of over 50 people. The teachers of New York Chinese
School have been working diligently to promote the forms of
Chinese language to students. In the New York Chinese School,
students will gradually increase their levels of Chinese
language proficiency, and this learning experience will also
provide them with a better understanding of the traditional
Chinese virtues and values.
The school believes that if everyone abides by traditional
morality and an intimate familial relationship, a harmonious
society can be readily established.
The initial 20 students of the school have multiplied to more
than 3,000 students, all attending grade levels that range from
kindergarten to high school. There are now 98 classes taught in
both Mandarin and Cantonese. Teachers stress the importance of
writing and reading abilities, as well as cultivating the
children's interest in calligraphy and art.
Targets are set and students are encouraged to achieve them.
Their progress is closely monitored with regular testing,
mid-terms, and a final examination at the end of the school
year. Besides studying Chinese in classrooms, our teachers also
extend learning through many different extracurricular
activities. The New York Chinese School has the following
classes and organizations:
After School Tutoring Program
This program is offered to students whose parents are
non-English speakers and are not capable of assisting their
children with the English homework.
With a history of more than 40 years, the class has trained many
students in the field of piano performance. This class also
teaches branches of Eastern and Western music.
This class teaches the basic techniques of different types of
paintings to children of all ages and levels.
Adult Mandarin Class
This class is offered in three different levels: beginner,
intermediate, and advanced. Students in the class are taught
how to speak, read, and write Chinese.
This class promotes and preserves Chinese Traditional and Folk
Dance. Students in the program not only receive fundamental
training in Chinese dance, but also in acting and rhythmic
NYCS Patrol is a highly disciplined students' organization. Its
mission is to learn, to serve and to protect. Patrol membership
offers opportunities to learn leadership, management and
personal development skills. http: / /www.nycsp.com
NYCS Drum Corps
The drum corps, known as the Crimson Kings, offers lessons to a
variety of musical instruments such as horns, fifes, and drums.
It has been awarded many times at National competitions and
This is a free program, in which students learn Chinese Folk
songs and foreign songs. The Singing Class has performed at many
Detailed Information About the Chinatown Daycare Center
The New York Chinatown Day Care Center is a reputable non-profit
private day care organization located at 35 Division Street,
right in the center of New York’s Chinatown. It was established
in 1975 and has been servicing pre-school and school-aged
children living in the vicinity as well as others who travel all
the way from the other four boroughs.
The center is a five story building with ten classrooms. Each
classroom is about one thousand square feet in size. There is a
full kitchen in the basement and a rubber surface playground on
The Chinatown Day Care Center currently offers four different
educational programs for children. They are Infant Program,
Pre-school Program, and School-aged Program. and the Universal
The curriculum is designed to cater to the ability of individual
children. It includes active and passive activities as well as
group and individual learning. The center offers children a
healthy, safe, and happy environment in which to learn and
order to answer to the needs of working parents, the Chinatown
Day Care Center is open all year round, five days a week from
8:00a.m. to 6:00p.m.
The Chinatown Day Care Center is a Chinese and English bilingual
center. There is at least one teacher who can speak Chinese in
addition to English in each classroom to ensure that no new
immigrant students are left behind.