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The truth about Chinese migrants in Africa and their self-segregation

Quartz Africa, Africa, 5 June 2020 - Over the past 20 years there’s been remarkable growth in China-Africa links because of increased trade and investment. As a result there’s also been a great deal of movement of people between China and African countries. It’s estimated that there are now about 500,000 Africans in China, while the the number of Chinese in the 54 African countries ranges between one and two million.

Though Chinese people can now be found in most African countries, there’s a claim that some commentators and media outlets make: that they hold themselves apart from their host societies.

For instance, a US commentator writes that:

[They] have no experience in the world outside of China; no curiosity about these strange African lands and their people and a morbid indifference to Africa’s long-term future. [Most] are poorly educated and ill-equipped to live in different cultures.

To some, the claim of Chinese self-isolation might resonate due to the physical evidence of Chinatowns, such as those in the US, Canada and South Africa. However, the reverse is true.

Chinatowns in these countries are not products of Chinese voluntary self-isolation, but of forced exclusion policies of white settler societies and governments. For instance, the Chinese Exclusion Act in the US and the Chinese Exclusion Act in South Africa.

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Source: https://qz.com/africa/1865111/chinese-migrant-workers-in-africa-and-myths-of-self-segregation/

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