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The Chinese Migration: Where They are Today

Have you heard of the Chinese Diaspora? Around the 1850s to the 1950s, a massive number of Chinese workers left their homes for greener pastures in Southeast Asia. Since most of them were male peasants, they were unskilled laborers that were only hired for cheap manual labor. Now that times have changed, Chinese migrants are mostly considered multi-class and multi-skilled workers in contributing to a globally and technologically advanced economy.

Aside from job opportunities, there have also been economic and religious factors that have driven the Chinese people to migrate since then. For instance, there was the forced migration of Buddhist pilgrims to Central, Southern, and Eastern China.

According to the International Organization of Migration, out of the 200 million migrants all around the world today, 40 million of them are Chinese migrants scattered across 130 countries. “Chinatowns” are also populated by Chinese communities outside of China and are a good way to know the size of the Chinese community of a country.

Presence of the Chinese Diaspora in the World

Out of the 40 million Chinese migrants all over the world, 30 million can be found in Asia alone. Since the 19th century, the Chinese have visited various Southeast Asian countries for trading, which greatly helped their economy. The largest number of Chinese ethnic groups in Southeast Asia can be found in Thailand (9,392,792 Chinese individuals in 2012) which comprises 11% of their entire population.

This is followed by Malaysia (6,960,900 Chinese individuals in 2010), Indonesia (2,832,510 Chinese individuals in 2010), Singapore (2,808,300 Chinese individuals in 2011), Myanmar (1,637,540 Chinese individuals in 2012), and of course, our very own country, the Philippines with an estimated number of 1,350,000 Chinese-Filipinos. 

In Europe, there is an increasing number of Chinese migrants, but it’s considered relatively low, compared to other immigrants. Yet, Chinese citizens are now considered the fastest-growing ethnic group in Russia. It represents the fourth biggest demographic in Russia with an estimated number of 300,000 Chinese citizens. The most common reason for migration from China to Europe is for education.

Over in Canada, the Chinese are the largest non-European minority in the country. A few decades ago, most migrated to North America for jobs but nowadays, most are migrating for  education as well, with over 250,000 students currently enrolled in US universities.

In addition, Chinese migrants have also been headed to Australia and New Zealand in large numbers.

The Chinese diaspora was a huge factor in the proliferation of the Chinese culture to the rest of the world. The Chinese have shared their culture, traditions, language, food, and goods in each country they’ve set foot in. Aside from sharing various ideas from their culture, the Chinese diaspora also influenced business purposes and economic growth.

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