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Chinese American News Serves Community

By Chris Chi
            Sandy Tsai, local entrepreneur and restaurant owner, started the St. Louis Chinese American News with the goal of helping to bridge the gap between the mainstream community of St. Louis with ethnic Chinese residents – and to help Chinese-Americans better connect with each other.
            “We started this paper as a public service and to let everyone know what’s happening in our community – to let everyone know that we have a voice,” said Tsai, careful not to take too much credit as publisher. After we started it, our staff did all the work.”
           The newspaper’s office is at 8041 Olive Blvd. in University City. Run mostly by volunteers, the newspaper is a free weekly, around 28-32 pages, printed in Chinese and English. It covers the big news of the Chinese community and, on occasion, news from China and Taiwan.
           The newspaper is divided into four sections. The first covers Chinese news. The second focuses on education, health, travel and cooking. The third is printed in English for second generation Chinese Americans, as well as for the greater mainstream residents who speak English. The fourth section contains an immigration page that provides helpful information for people hoping to obtain citizenship.
           The newspaper is valuable because it allows “Chinese people to know what’s going on  around them in the language they know best,” says Francis Yeuh, who volunteers as an editor. His wife, Mary, is the full-time editor.
           The Chinese American is especially helpful for new immigrants, Chinese students studying in St. Louis and senior citizens. It is chock full of ads for goods and services.
           “The paper is owned by the community symbolically,” said Tsai. “And it shows that we (the Chinese community) don’t just sit around and watch. The newspaper likes to help educate.”
           Already in its 17th year of publication with a circulation of about 6,000, the Chinese American is a “mouth for the community, a bridge for the community, promotes the Chinese culture, and assesses the community’s awareness,” Tsai said.
           The paper was presented the 2003 Missouri Media Award by Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell. It is distributed in news racks at local Chinese restaurants and grocery stores in the St. Louis area. The news content is also sent free to email subscribers and can be read through the paper’s web site.

            (Printed with permission of the St. Louis Journalism Review. Originally published 8/2007).