Chinese Migrant Communities in South Korea: Old Huaqiao, Chaoxianzu and Xin Yimin

  • Changzoo Song


With the easing of the Cold War in the late 1980s and the consequent normalization of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea (1992), there has been rapid growth in transnational migrations between the two countries. Today there are over one million Chinese residents in South Korea and they include about 25,000 old Huarizo residents, whose ancestors migrated to the Korean peninsula between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and newcomers who arrived in South Korea after the 1990s. The new Chinese transnational migrants in South Korea include both Chaoxianzu (Korean Chinese, whose number is nearly 650,000) and Han Chinese (xin yimin, whose number exceeds 350,000). These three groups of “Chinese” are different from each other in many regards. Most of the old Huarizo have Taiwanese citizenship and they tend to distinguish themselves from the new Han and Chaoxianzu migrants. Chaoxianzu and xin yimin also show differences between them in terms of their migration and adaptation patterns. While most of them came to South Korea as migrant workers in the 1990s and 2000s, there has been an increasing number of businesspeople, professionals, and students in the 2010s. This chapter explores some of the prominent differences among the old Huarizo, Chaoxianzu, and xin yimin migrants in South Korea in terms of their legal status and adaptation patterns.


Xin Yimin South Korean Government Huaqiao Chinese Migrants Korean Chinese 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The work on which this chapter was based was supported by an Academy of Korean Studies Grant funded by the Korean Government (MEST) (AKS-2012-BAA-2101). I wish to thank Min Zhou for her insightful comments and suggestions, and Gregor Benton for his meticulous copy-editing.


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Changzoo Song
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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