China in Washington

From our early history to our prospects for the future, China is part of Washington.

Chin family and friends, circa early 20th century (Wing Luke Museum)

Chinese people helped build and shape Washington–even before it was a state. Stemming back two centuries, people of Chinese heritage came and were born in the Pacific Northwest. From railroad laborers to prominent business people to government leaders, thousands of people of Chinese heritage shaped our economy. The influx and interpretations of cultural traditions and the forging of civil rights laws helped shape society over time. Even despite riots and unjust exclusionary laws, Chinese language and culture persisted to contribute to an important part of our identity today.

Learn about Chinese American history in Washington State through Western Washington University’s Asian American Curriculum and Research Project. The website features old documents and photographs, and promises a curriculum soon.

Today, China is Washington State’s third-largest and fastest-growing trading partner, generating $20 billion in revenue each year. One in three Washington jobs is tied to international trade.

Getting to Know China in Washington