By: Daniel Otero
Nanjing, Jiangsu Province – Like a large-mixed salad bowl, the U.S. had the largest worldwide melting pot, with over 1,000 different ethnicities. America has the largest immigrant society on record going back to the mid-19th Century.
China has the new prosperity and with changes in its society, possibly the 56 ethnicities will expand to other groups in the next 15 years. There are at least a dozen major immigrant groups making [good] their way in China.
Communities of newcomers have begun to grow and prosper, sometimes mixing these with Chinese and having biracial babies.
These immigrants that come to China bring an expansion in tolerance, a multilingual society, an influx of economy and development; to make the country less prejudiced and stronger in its potential in opportunities for growth.
From Russian communities who have been coming to Harbin since 1904.
The famous German groups in Qingdao and the greatest one established in Nanjing, thanks to the greatest hero of the 20th Century, John Rabe.
There is also a Korean neighborhood in Xianlin District, Nanjing. They haven’t only expanded their businesses in Nanjing, however, going further south to spread into areas like the port city of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province. Greater influencing on how the locals think about food with Korean cuisine and bakeries. Immigrants have even influenced the music industry: with Korean songs, dance routines and the famous ‘K’ pop spreading throughout East Asia. Furthermore, they have established their own brand of martial arts (second most practiced martial art in China after Kung-fu), with taekwondo self-defense schools along Eastern China.
Indians have established restaurants across Zhejiang Province in major cities like Hangzhou, to enjoy the greatest delicacies from their Southeast Asian home. Thanks to their work, the textile industry has expanded from Keqiao and Shaoxing (Zhejiang Province) all the way down to the city of Guangzhou.
The British community originally established here in China during the period of Empire was left behind after the U.K. left Hong Kong. Their influence has spread with their language into Guangdong Province and further into Mainland. This has established China as having the third largest population of English speakers outside of the United States.
Members from the United States and Australia have also come and opened shops. Whether it is to stay a couple of years and teach, make their lives permanently here and later marry. These neighborhoods are growing fast!
European and Russian-Jews have further been developing their industries in China for the better part of 160 years. And even before, look at examples like the Kaifeng-Jews, who developed themselves here since the 8th Century. Families like the Kadoorie and Sassoon (the Rothschild of the East) made their fortunes in this country. A population of over 40,000 expanded their businesses and companies to cities like: Tianjin, Shanghai (today there is a Jewry group between two to three thousand people in this metropolis) Harbin and Hong Kong.
Uzbeks have been coming and establishing themselves in the western provinces and across China. Bringing their culinary styles to the tables, expanding from west to east; they are bringing their own Central Asian influences to the mix.
Or notice the development of Vietnamese businesses and immigrants growing throughout Southern China. The exchange of cultures, foods, beliefs, festivities and languages is just awesome!
It continues throughout Southwestern China, when peoples from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) have created a migration influx of workers. When it’s done legally, it’s the greatest thing for the Chinese economy and if it’s done illegally, it can create a disaster in social problems. These immigrants are now doing the former labor jobs of Chinese, since people in China are now moving on up the social-ladder with better education.
Another other community always making good waves across China have been the Filipinos. This is a wonderful group of people from Southeast Asia. Who have brought to China hard work, a good number of competent teachers and not to mention, their skills in the social scenes of the music business. Filipino bands for a better part of a generation have brought to China their flavor with songs and quality of dance as they tour the country.
What has happened, other than the above examples of communities? In a positive way, people of different backgrounds falling in love. These couples having babies in China; the child has these distinct advantages: with beauty in several cultures, bilingualism/polyglot, vision and expansion of ideas.
These immigrant communities can breakdown the prejudiced problems and reduce forms of xenophobia. Making a positive contribution in the ‘new’ society they are living in. This can make for a better country.
But let’s think of what benefits they can bring on a higher plane. The cross-cultural education between two peoples can just make things better and with free trade, it can foster peace! Isn’t this what we strive for? A better world…