I was lucky to have the chance to participate in a trip to the China Town, organized by the Asian American Center.
I had never been to China Town. Therefore, I had little expectations of the trip beyond the Asian foods that we could taste there. However, the trip had given me deep insights into social and economic aspects of China Town. The Asian – American Center’s tour guides, who used to be students at Tufts and currently involve in the cultural preservation of Boston city, have spread the passionate knowledge to us students.
Chinatown was first set up by the immigrants from China with the purpose of promoting community spirit. In the face of harsh working conditions, discrimination from the community, a lack of English language and alien environment, the Chinese came together to provide support for one another.
Widely known as a tourist attraction in Boston, few people are aware of the difficulties that face the residents at China Town. First of all, because of the central location of China Town, which was convenient for business growth, a large area of China Town is brought by companies to make place for skyscrapers and modern buildings. This act dramatically cuts down the size of China Town during the last few years.
Furthermore, because of the run-down situation of most of the buildings in China town, many residents are being forced out of their own house. For instance, a few years ago, residents in a whole old building were ordered to leave their apartments overnight, because the local authority deemed the building unsafe. These residents were, abruptly, put in incredible hardships.
Last but not least, attractive as Chinatown is for tourists, this place witnesses residents with relatively much lower incomes as compared to those in the rest of Boston. The total average income of a person in China Town is 13 000 a year, which is barely adequate for him to cover the rental fees. To make the situation worse, several landlords in the area are renovating the apartments and lend them at a much higher price to make more benefit. It makes it impossible for the low-income residents to afford living fees and have no choice but to move out of Chinatown.
For all the reasons above, Chinatown is on the verge of extinction. Many residents have opted for the choice of moving out to cheaper, suburban places. The poor living condition is another catalyst for the alarming downsize of Chinatown. In the area, there is no open and green area for the public. Also, the absence of public library and schools means that children have to walk a long way through hazardous streets to access knowledge sources. The medical facilities are also limited. As the residents scatter around, Chinatown decreases significantly in size and runs the risk of losing its culture values.
Many efforts have been made to save Chinatown. We were shown a medical center, which is built on the land that the authority intended to build a parking lot to bring in financial benefits. The center stands as evidence to Chinatown’s struggle to preserve its tradition against the storm of commercialization. It enhances the low living…