Prince George Chinese Benevolent Association 中華會館

Prince George Chinese Benevolent Association 中華會館

Brief History of the Chinese Benevolent Association

Post Translated in Simplified Chinese (简体中文)

Post translated in Traditional Chinese (繁體中文)

The facts and dates from the following was taken from Chapter Fourteen of Lily Chow’s book Sojourners in the North, Winner of the Jeanne Clark Award for Local History.

You can purchase the book from the following stores:

Sojourners In the North by Lily Chow
Sojourners of the North (Amazon.com) (USA)
Sojourners of the North (Amazon.ca) (Canada)
Sojourners of the North (Chapters Indigo Books) (Canada)

The Chinese Benevolent Association was formed shortly before 1945 by the Chinese immigrants to protect the interests of those who didn’t belong to other Chinese organizations such as the Chee Duck Tong, the Chinese Freemasons and others. The Chinese Nationalist League (Guo Mingdong) (國民黨) (国民党) were having problems back in China, losing control to the Communists and didn’t provide any help to the Chinese immigrants far away. Without any help from back home, this was the basis from which the Chinese Benevolent Association was born.

The Association was originally established as an advisory and supporting body, providing a liason for disputes between its members and within the local community. At the time, it was an essential voice and body for many of the Chinese immigrants who did not speak the local language and needed help.

Although many of its members may not be able to speak the English language, early on they were able to show the local community that the Chinese Benevolent Association were fully capable of showing compassion for charitable causes. On April 15 1945, the Chinese Benevolent Association appealed to its community members for donations towards repairing the tombstones of Chinese immigrants buried in the Prince George cemetary in 1916. In 1946 to 1948, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross Society, the City of Prince George Hospital Society and the BC Flood Emerging Relief Fund were recipients of donations from the Chinese Benevolent Association. From 1950 to 1951, the Canadian Red Cross Society and the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal were provided donations by the Chinese Benevolent Association. Again in 1989, the Chinese Benevolent Association appealed to its members for relief efforts towards the devasting flood in China. In 2008, the Chinese Benevolent Association donated $5768.95 and $200 RMB towards the Canadian Red Cross China Earthquake Relief Efforts and $477.71 towards the Myanmar Cyclone Relief fund.

The Chinese Benevolent Association was also a participant in many local community activities. The Chinese Benevolent Association participated in the opening of the 1980 BC Winter Games. In the same year, the Association participated in the Folkfest Celebrations for Canada Day which has since become a yearly event.

The Association’s food sales fund raising efforts began in the 1980s. The first time the Chinese Benevolent Association participated in the Folkfest Celebration was for Canada Day on July 1st 1980. A Chinese food booth, organized by Johnny Wong was set up at Fort George Park. It has since become a huge yearly event for the Association and for the city. In 1984, the Chinese Benevolent Association set up a permanent food both on the exhibition grounds in the City which also became a yearly event now known as the PG-X (Prince George Exhibition). Such became and remain the main source of revenue and funds for the Association’s activities.

Aside from these, the Chinese Benevolent Association in its history, initiated a variety of activities to enrich the lives of it members and community. The Chinese language has always been at the forefront of the Association as the education of the younger generation is crucial for the community’s future. The first record of a Chinese school existence was in 1959 and many Chinese school classes were set up at various time throughout the Association’s history. Aside from education, cultural and arts were also promoted in the community. In 1984, the Chinese Benevolent Association started a series of Chinese Television shows on Cable 10 to share Chinese programs and communicate with the community. In 1983, the Peking National Acrobats visited Prince George and performed at the Coliseum. In the early 1990s, members of the Chinese Benevolent Association were provided with opportunities to enroll in educational activities and classes such as the Food Safe program, Red Cross CPR, Healthy Bodies as well as other cultural ones.

The Association was provided with a wonderful opportunity to give back to the Chinese community. In 1983 through profits from tickets sold for the Peking Acrobats’ Performance at the Coliseum established a $200 high school scholarship fund for School District 57. The scholarship continues to encourage young members of the Chinese Benevolent Association to work hard and give back to the community through volunteering.

Here are some more brief descriptions of events in the history of the Chinese Benevolent Association:

December 1948 – First record of the election of officers

1954 – First record of Qing Ming (Ching Ming) (清明) (Tomb Sweeping Day)

1959 – First record of the existence of a Chinese school

December 8, 1980 – Chinese Benevolent Association registered under the Society Act

Early 1980s – First quarterly newsletter written in both Chinese and English were distributed to its members

1984 – A photograph exhibition of the WuChang Revolt of 1911 was mounted and displayed at the CNC (College of New Caledonia)

May 2008 – Chinese Benevolent Association raised monies for the Canadian Red Cross Relief Efforts for the China Earthquake and Myanmar Cyclone. The Canadian Red Cross awarded Chinese Benevolent Association with a special plaque for their efforts and hard work

April 3, 2009 – The Chinese Benevolent Association was awarded the IMSS (Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society) Diversity Award for their community work for the promotion of multiculturalism and fight against racism.

This page will be continually be updated with new information as they happen. As you can see, the Chinese Benevolent Association shows a true strong spirit through the tireless efforts of all its members in keeping the Chinese language and culture alive within the community. I believe that the strength of the Association’s members will continue to do so for many years to come. Thank you all for the strong support of our Association!

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Written by pgcba

April 5, 2009 at 12:05 am

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