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Individuals also identify closely with their family's fortune, striving to preserve and further it, not so much for themselves as for their families (Yee 1989).

Family prosperity brings 'face' or acclaim to family members, whereas its demise bestows shame.

During the 1980s the most dramatic rate of growth in immigration to Australia came from those born in Taiwan (Khoo et al. From the mid-1980s to 1993 Hong Kong and China were among the top ten source countries; In the four year period from 1989 to 1993 Hong Kong was second only to the United Kingdom as a source of immigrants (see also BIR 1992b).

The significant increase in ethnic Chinese immigrants in Australia was reflected in 1991 census figures (BIPR 1993b; Ho 1994), which ranked China as the ninth most common place of birth for Australians (0.5 per cent of the population) and Hong Kong the fifteenth place (0.3 per cent of the population).

These are families where one or both parents, usually only the father, continues to work in Hong Kong or Taiwan, where thriving economies have generated attractive business opportunities and employment prospects.

The absent parents are referred to as 'astronauts' who spend much time travelling between their family home in Australia and their business or employment overseas (Mak 1991; Tsang 1990).

Some eventually stayed and had children with Australian women.

Over time, the presence of a sizeable number of Chinese gold-diggers led to tension and hostility against them. Most of the Chinese settlers in Australia arrived post-1973; they are concentrated in the urban areas of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

There are relatively few single-parent and blended families in both contemporary overseas Chinese communities and Australian-Chinese communities.

However, a recent phenomenon in Australia is an increasing number of 'split' Chinese families from Hong Kong and Taiwan, coinciding with Australia's economic recession in the early 1990s (Wong 1993; Kee and Skeldon, in press).

Indeed, all the core Chinese family values serve to ensure the family's stability and cohesion.

A fundamental Chinese value is the importance of the family unit.

The structure and size of Chinese families in Australia tend to be more in line with the trend in contemporary urban Chinese societies, for example Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Taiwan, which favour small nuclear families (Da 1993; Tanphanich 1988; Duan-Mu 1994; Wong 1975).