eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1997
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.5


Full article in PDF format |

Hoi Ok Jeong


This study examines the factors that explain Chinese-Americans’ political engage­ment. Many studies of Chinese-Americans have focused on areas other than their political attitudes/behavior and have been mainly conducted on populations outside the U.S. The present study pays special attention to the effect of political mobilization. Draw­ing on segmented assimilation theory, the present study regards the mobilization of immigrants by political parties or organizations into mainstream political process as one of the contexts of reception. As a result of China’s nondemocratic political systems, Chinese immigrants might have different political values and different ideas about taking part in the political process. Thus, special efforts are needed to encourage Chinese-Americans to become more politically active. The regression results show that the mobilization variables consistently displayed a significant impact, regardless of the different modes of political engagement. Party contact encouraged nonvoting activities, voter registration, and voting among Chinese-Americans, and organization contact led to stronger interest in politics and more active participation in nonvoting activities.


Bass, L. E. and Casper, L. M. (2001) “Differences in registering and voting between native-born and naturalized Americans”. Population Research and Policy Review 20, 6, 483–511.

Bealy, Frank(1999) The Blackwell dictionary of political science. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.

Bueker, Catherine Simpson (2005) “Political incorporation among immigrants from ten areas of origin: The persistence of source country effects”. International Migration Review 39, 1, 103–140.

Cain, B. E., Kiewiet, D. R., and Uhlaner, C. J. (1991) “The acquisition of partisanship by Latinos and Asian Americans”. American Journal of Political Science 35, 2, 390–422.

Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., Miller, W. E., and Stokes, D. E. (1960) The American voter. New York: Wiley.

Chou, K. L. (2012) “Perceived discrimination and depression among new migrants to Hong Kong: The moderating role of social support and neighborhood collective efficacy”. Journal of affective disorders 138, 1, 63–70.

Chung, Angie Y. (2013) “From caregivers to caretakers: the impact of family roles on ethnicity among children of Korean and Chinese immigrant families”. Qualitative sociology 36, 3, 279–302.

Converse, P., R. Clausen, and W. Miller (1965) “Electoral myth and reality: the 1964 election”. The American Political Science Review 59, 2, 321–36.

Cumper, P. and Wheatley, S. C., eds. (1999) Minority rights in the "new" Europe. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Dawson, Michael (1994)Behind the mule: race and class in African-American politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

d'Entrèves, M. P., ed. (2002) Democracy as public deliberation: new perspectives. Manchester University Press.

DeSipio, L., Masuoka, N., and Stout, C. (2008) “Asian American immigrants as the new electorate: exploring turnout and registration of a growing community”. Asian American Policy Review 17, 51–71.

Dyson, L. (2015) “In the convergence of ethnicity and immigration: the status and socio-ecological predictors of the self-concept of recent Chinese immigrant school-age children in Canada”. Journal of Child and Family Studies 24, 1, 1–11.

Espiritu, Y. L. (1992) Asian American panethnicity: bridging institutions and identities. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Finifter, Ada W. and Bernard M. Finifter (1989) “Party identification and political adaptation of American migrants in Australia”. Journal of Politics 51, 599–630.

Guo, Shibao (2013) “Economic integration of recent Chinese immigrants in Canada's second-tier cities: the triple glass effect and immigrants' downward social mobility”. Canadian Ethnic Studies 45, 3, 95–115.

Guo, S. and DeVoretz, D. J. (2006a) “The changing face of Chinese immigrants in Canada”. Journal of International Migration and Integration / Revue de l'integration et de la migration internationale 7, 3, 275–300.

Guo, S. and DeVoretz, D. J. (2006b) “Chinese immigrants in Vancouver: quo vadis?”. Journal of International Migration and Integration 7, 4, 425–47.

Huckfeldt, R. and J. Sprague (1992) “Political parties and electoral mobilization: political structure, social structure and the party canvass.” American Political Science Review 86, 1, 70–86.

Jennings, K. and R. Niemi (1974) The political character of adolescence: the influence of families and schools. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Junn, Jane (1999) “Participation in liberal democracy: the political assimilation of immigrants and ethnic minorities in the United States”. American Behavioral Scientist 42, 9, 1417–1438.

Key, V. O., Jr. (1964) Politics, parties and pressure groups.5th ed. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co.

Kim, Bum J, Kristen F. Linton, and Wesley Lum (2015) “Social capital and life satisfaction among Chinese and Korean elderly immigrants”. Journal of Social Work 15, 1, 87–100.

Lai, James (2003) “Asian Pacific Americans and the pan-ethnic question”. In Don Nakanishi and James Lai, eds., Asian American politics: law, participation, and policy, 247–260.Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Lai, J. S., Cho, W. K. T., Kim, T. P., and Takeda, O. (2001) “Asian Pacific-American campaigns, elections, and elected officials”. Political Science & Politics 34, 3, 611–617.

Lee, W. K. M. (2004) “Ethnic and gender relations in Hong Kong: the work experiences of recent mainland Chinese immigrant women”. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 13, 2, 233–53.

Leighley, J. E. (2001) Strength in numbers? The political and ethnic mobilization of racial and ethnic minorities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Lien, P. T. (2001) The making of Asian America through political participation. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Lien, P. T. (2006) “Transnational homeland concerns and participation in US politics: a comparison among immigrants from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong”. Journal of Chinese Overseas 2, 1, 56–78.

Lien, P. T. (2007) “Ethnic homeland and Chinese Americans: conceiving a transnational political network”. Chinese Overseas, China, and Transnational Networks, 107–121.

Lien, P. T. (2008) “Homeland origins and political identities among Chinese in Southern California”. Ethnic and Racial Studies 31, 8, 1381–1403.

Lien, P. T., Margaret Conway, M., and Wong, J. (2003) “The contours and sources of ethnic identity choices among Asian Americans”. Social Science Quarterly 84, 2, 461–681.

Lien, P. T., Margaret Conway, M., and Wong, J. (2004) The politics of Asian Americans: diversity and community. New York: Routledge.

Lu, W. T. (2013) “Confucius or Mozart? Community cultural wealth and upward mobility among children of Chinese immigrants”. Qualitative sociology 36, 3, 303–231.

Lu, W. Y., Samaratunge, R. and Härtel, C. E. (2013) “Acculturation attitudes and affective work­group commitment: evidence from professional Chinese immigrants in the Australian workplace”. Asian Ethnicity 14, 2, 206–228.

Magpantay, G. D. (2009) “Asian American political participation in the 2008 presidential election”. Asian American Policy Review 18, 11–24.

Nakanishi, D. and James S. Lai (2003) “Understanding Asian American politics”. In Don Nakanishi and James Lai, eds. Asian American politics: law, participation, and policy, 1–18.Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Ng, I. F., Lee, S. Y., Wong, W. K., and Chou, K. L. (2015) “Effects of perceived discrimination on the quality of life among new Mainland Chinese immigrants to Hong Kong: a longitudinal study”. Social Indicators Research 120, 3, 817–834.

Ong, P. M. and M. E. Scott (2009) “Asian American civic and political engagement: patterns, challenges, and potentials”. Asian American Policy Review 18, 25–34.

Phan, N. and Garcia, J. A. (2009) “Asian-Pacific-American partisanship: dynamics of partisan and nonpartisan identities”. Social Science Quarterly 90, 4, 886–910.

Portes, A. and Rumbaut, R. G. (2006) Immigrant America: a portrait 3rd ed. Berkeley: University California Press.

Ramakrishnan, Karthick (2005) Democracy in immigrant America. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Ramakrishnan, Karthick, Jane Junn, Taeku Lee, and Janelle Wong. National Asian American Survey, 2008. ICPSR31481-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor]. 2012-07-19. Available online at < ICPSR31481.v2>. Rim, Kathy H. (2009) “Racial context effects and the political participation of Asian Americans.” American Politics Research 37, 4, 569–92.

Rosenstone, S. J. and Hansen, J. M. (1993) Mobilization, participation, and democracy in America. New York: Macmillan.

Sanchez, G. R. (2006) “The role of group consciousness in political participation among Latinos in the United States”. American Politics Research 34, 4, 427–450.

Seo, M. (2011) “Beyond coethnic boundaries: coethnic residential context, communication, and Asian Americans’ Political Participation”. International Journal of Public Opinion Research 23, 3, 338–60.

Tam, W. K. (1995) “Asians: a monolithic voting bloc?”. Political Behavior 17, 2, 223–249.

Tate, Katherine (1994) From protest to politics: the new black voter in American elections. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Uhlaner, C. J., Cain, B. E., and Kiewiet, D. R. (1989) “Political participation of ethnic minorities in the 1980s”. Political Behavior 11, 3, 195–231.

U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Demographic Profile Data. Available online at <http://>. Accessed on 8 February 2015.

U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Summary File 1. Available online at < faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF>. Accessed on 8 February 2015.

Verba, S., Schlozman, K. L., Brady, H. E., and Brady, H. E. (1995) Voice and equality: civic voluntarism in American politics. Vol. 4. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Welch, S., Sigelman L, Bledsoe T. et al. (2001) Race and place: race relations in an American city. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Wong, D. F. K. (2008) “Differential impacts of stressful life events and social support on the mental health of mainland Chinese immigrant and local youth in Hong Kong: a resilience perspective”. British Journal of Social Work 38, 2, 236–252.

Wong, J. S. (2000) “The effects of age and political exposure on the development of party identification among Asian American and Latino immigrants in the United States”. Political Behavior 22, 4, 341–71.

Wong, J. S. (2003) “Gender and political involvement among Chinese Americans in Southern California.” In Don Nakanishi and James Lai, eds. Asian American politics: law participation and policy. New York: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Wong, J. S. (2006) Democracy’s Promise: immigrants and American civic institutions. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Wong, J. S., Lien, P. T., and Conway, M. M. (2005) “Group-based resources and political participation among Asian Americans”. American Politics Research 33, 4, 545–576.

Zhou, M. (2014) “Segmented assimilation and socio-economic integration of Chinese immigrant children in the USA”. Ethnic and Racial Studies 37, 7, 1172–1183.

Back to Issue