New Chinese Migrants in Latin America: Trends and Patterns of Adaptation
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This chapter provides an overview of contemporary Chinese immigration to Latin America. Although the history of Chinese immigration into this part of the world dates back to the mid-19th century, it largely stopped until after China’s reform and opening up in the late 1970s. Most of the new Chinese migrants come from rural areas. They typically move to Latin America through the double “networks” of kin and clan. In some countries within Latin America, clustering based on same-locality clans has become a trend among new Chinese migrants. Although their origins may differ, their clustering largely relies on locality clans. Because the history of Chinese migration in Latin America varies from country to country, the ratios of new immigrants to traditional ones in different countries also vary significantly. Among new Chinese migrants, some came to Latin America by “abnormal” (or undocumented) means. Even so, most have survived and even thrived with the help of clan associations in their relatively tolerant host countries, especially where law enforcement is slack. New Chinese migrants differ from traditional Chinese migrants in many ways, such as professions, progress patterns, and ideas. In terms of new migrants’ solidarity, development, and rights protection, clan and business associations play a central role.
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