Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Overseas Chinese Part V..海外华裔华侨...世界の中国系、華僑たち..

This is the last and final post of the 'Overseas Chinese' post series, which form part of the 'Year of China' theme for this yr.

This final post deals with the Chinese in Japan, Korea, and India.

The Chinese in India number roughly only 20,000. This number does not include Mainland Chinese students, visitors, businessmen,etc but refers to those Indian-Chinese with Indian nationality. They mainly concentrate in Kolkata (Calcutta) and currently own tanneries, restaurants, sauce-making factories, and dentistry. At the height of Chinese migration, during WW2 (to escape the Japanese invasion of China at that time) there were around 50,000 Chinese living in Kolkata. But then numbers dwindled after the Sino-Indian War of 1962. Many Indian-Chinese migrated to countries such as Canada, UK, and Australia. I have met someone whose mother had migrated from India to Canada before, when i was volunteering at the Sydney Intl' Film Festival...

The Chinese in South Korea number only around 20,000 most of whom hold Taiwanese passport due to the fact that South Korea only established ties with China in 1993. However, the actual total number of Chinese people, including the new immigrants from China since 1993 totals over 600,000! This comprises, workers, students, businessmen, and other long-term residents. Most of these are however not ethnic Chinese but Korean-Chinese from China. Apparently 71% of the over 600,000 Chinese passport holders in South Korea currently are of ethnic Korean descent (China has the world's second largest overseas Korean population, numbering roughly 1.5 million, after the United States, which has the largest overseas Korean population, but in front of Japan, which has the third largest overseas Korean population.)
There is only one Chinatown in South Korea, being at Incheon, where there once was a large Chinese community until the oppressive and discriminatory policies brought in during the 1960s/70s which limited foreign ownership of property, targetting the Chinese minority then, which led to an exodus of Chinese to the US and Taiwan.

There are about 10,000 Chinese passport holders living in North Korea. They are allowed greater freedoms than the average North Korean citizen, being allowed foreign travel, ownership of an unrestricted radio, and being allowed to be involved in the profitable import-export China trade.

The Chinese in Japan number roughly 650,000 including newer immigrants from China and old residents from the former Japanese colony of Taiwan. Like in South Korea, the older Chinese residents tend to have links with Taiwan, whilst the newer and more numerous Chinese residents tend to have links with mainland China. There are Chinatowns in several Japanese cities such as Osaka, Nagasaki, Kobe, and the most famous one, Yokohama Chinatown. There are also Chinese schools whereby the medium of instruction is Chinese. There have been quite a few influential Japanese figures of Chinese descent, such as the famous Momofuku Ando, whom was the president of Nissin Foods. He was apparently the inventor of instant cup noodles (ramen) in the 1960s. I was very surprised! This means that the world-famous Asian cup noodles currently sold everywhere was not invented by an ethnic Japanese but actually by an ethnic Chinese...Ando was from Taiwan originally. Then , there's also Sadaharu Oh, the famous baseball player as well as Renho, a current Cabinet Minister and the first Japanese Cabinet Minister to have foreign ethnicity. Her father was from Taiwan and she held Taiwanese nationality until 18.

Hope this post series has been informative,interesting, and helpful in going towards some understanding of the overseas Chinese around the world, of which I'm one too:-)

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