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Chinese culture is highly complex but scholars across the world are agreed that despite the diversity of Chinese communities many shared characteristics persist.

These derive largely form the pervasive influence of Confucian philosophy on Chinese culture and they are at very core of Chinese identity. Indeed, since Confucian thought has dominated the Chinese way of life for 2,000 years, it is unlikely to cease its influence - even after two or three generations of participation in British society.

The Chinese value the importance of the family; the hierarchical structure of social life; the cultivation of morality and self-restraint and the emphasis on hard work and achievement. Various researchers also stress the pride which Chinese people take in their culture as well as the fact that Chinese culture and society can be defined as ‘collectivist’

“ I was brought up here. I think for the Chinese, everything can be summarised from the family, your cultural value.”

Community member, male, 26 years old

In many ways the family unit takes precedence over its individual members. Children must learn not to answer back to their parents or other elders. It is assumed that the family as a whole will thrive and prosper if harmony prevails at home.

In other words – the basic rules of obedience, moderation and self-restraint amongst family members should be observed.

Expectations related to family life account for many of the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants. The second generation finds it hard to cope with the demands of their parents'.

They want to fulfil their own potential - like opting out of the catering business. And, stripped of their traditional position, deprived of respect, abandoned and isolated, the first generation feels unable to shape their children's way of life, Guilt on the children's part, and shame on the parents', often results.

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