Identity Formation and Social Integration: Creating and Imagining the Chinese Community in Prague, the Czech Republic
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The Chinese community in Prague is fairly new, established more or less after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, with next to no history in the communist era. Despite its small size, it is still the second largest Chinese community in the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) after that in Budapest and is worth studying for at least two major reasons. First, for the last decade, its size has remained stable, though its internal composition has changed significantly. In general, the community is not settled, has little communal life or communal areas within the city (e.g., a Chinatown), and is demographically, economically and socially diverse despite its relatively compact place of origin. The increased interest of Chinese tourists and investors in Prague may, however, result in a reassessment of the goals and future of the community. In general, the development of the Chinese community in Prague is unique and differs greatly from that of similar communities in Western and Southern Europe, the USA and elsewhere outside the CEECs. The second reason for studying Chinese in Prague is that it can serve as a case study to understand general trends in Chinese migration to the CEECs. Even though the founding of contemporary Chinese communities there in the early 1990s differed from place to place, the timing, longitudinal development, general motivation factors, place of origin and so forth are not unlike those in other CEECs.
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