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Overseas Chinese

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Overseas Chinese (traditional Chinese: 海外華人; simplified Chinese: 海外华人; pinyin: Hǎiwài Huárén) are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the region controlled by the People's Republic of China government, the region controlled by the Hong Kong government, the region controlled by the Macau government, and the region controlled by the Republic of China government. They can be of the Han Chinese ethnic majority or from any of the other ethnic groups in China.[27]


Huáqiáo (simplified Chinese: 华侨; traditional Chinese: 華僑; pinyin: Huáqiáo) or Hoan-kheh in Hokkien (Chinese: 番客), refers to people of Chinese citizenship residing outside of China. At the end of the 19th century, the Chinese government realized that the overseas Chinese could be an asset, a source of foreign investment, and a bridge to overseas knowledge; thus, it began to recognize the use of the term Huaqiao.[28] The modern term haigui (simplified Chinese: 海归; traditional Chinese: 海歸) refers to returned overseas Chinese and guīqiáo qiáojuàn (simplified Chinese: 归侨侨眷; traditional Chinese: 歸僑僑眷) to their returning relatives.[27]

Huáyì (simplified Chinese: 华裔; traditional Chinese: 華裔; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hôa-è) refers to people of Chinese descent residing outside of China, regardless of citizenship.[29] Another often-used term is 海外華人 (Hǎiwài Huárén). It is often used by the PRC government to refer to people of Chinese ethnicities who live outside the PRC, regardless of citizenship.

Overseas Chinese who are ethnically Han Chinese, such as Cantonese, Hoochew, Hokkien, Hakka, or Teochew refer to themselves as 唐人[citation needed] (Tángrén), pronounced tòhng yàn in Cantonese, toung ning in Hoochew, Tn̂g-lâng in Hokkien, and tong nyin in Hakka. Literally, it means Tang people, a reference to Tang dynasty China when it was ruling China proper. This term is commonly used by the Cantonese, Hoochew, Hakka and Hokkien as a colloquial reference to the Chinese people, and has little relevance to the ancient dynasty.

The term shǎoshù mínzú (simplified Chinese: 少数民族; traditional Chinese: 少數民族) is added to the various terms for the overseas Chinese to indicate those who would be considered ethnic minorities in China. The terms shǎoshù mínzú huáqiáo huárén; shǎoshù mínzú huáqiáo huárén; and shǎoshù mínzú hǎiwài qiáobāo (simplified Chinese: 少数民族海外侨胞; traditional Chinese: 少數民族海外僑胞) are all in usage. The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the PRC does not distinguish between Han and ethnic minority populations for official policy purposes.[27] For example, members of the Tibetan group may travel to China on passes granted to certain people of Chinese descent.[30] Various estimates of the Chinese emigrant minority population include 3.1 million (1993),[31] 3.4 million (2004),[32] 5.7 million (2001, 2010),[33][34] or approximately one tenth of all Chinese emigrants (2006, 2011).[35][36] Cross-border ethnic groups (跨境民族, kuàjìng mínzú) are not considered Chinese emigrant minorities unless they left China after the establishment of an independent state on China's border.[27]

Some ethnic groups who have historic connections with China, like the Hmong may not associate themselves as part of the Chinese diaspora.[37]


The Chinese people have a long history of migrating overseas. One of the migrations dates back to the Ming dynasty when Zheng He (1371–1435) became the envoy of Ming. He sent people – many of them Cantonese and Hokkien – to explore and trade in the South China Sea and in the Indian Ocean.

Qing Dynasty and Republic of China

Chinese merchants in Penang Island, Straits Settlements (present-day Malaysia), c. 1881.
Chinese merchants in Penang Island, Straits Settlements (present-day Malaysia), c. 1881.

When China was under the imperial rule of the Qing Dynasty, subjects who left the Qing Empire without the Administrator's consent were considered to be traitors and were executed. Their family members faced consequences as well. However, the establishment of the Lanfang Republic (Chinese: 蘭芳共和國; pinyin: Lánfāng Gònghéguó) in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, as a tributary state of Qing China, attests that it was possible to attain permission.[dubious ] The republic lasted until 1884, when it fell under Dutch occupation as Qing influence waned.

A Chinese Filipino wearing the traditional Maria Clara gown of Filipino women, c. 1913.
A Chinese Vietnamese merchant in Hanoi, c. 1885.

Under the administration of the Republic of China from 1911 to 1949, these rules were abolished and many migrated outside the Republic of China, mostly through the coastal regions via the ports of Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan and Shanghai. These migrations are considered to be among the largest in China's history. Many nationals of the Republic of China fled and settled down in South East Asia mainly between the years 1911–1949, after the Nationalist government led by Kuomintang lost to the Communist Party of China in the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Most of the nationalist and neutral refugees fled Mainland China to Southeast Asia (Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines) as well as Taiwan (Republic of China). Many nationalists who stayed behind were persecuted or even executed.[38][39]

The presence of Chinese junk in northern Borneo on Kinabatangan, North Borneo as been photographed by Martin and Osa Johnson in 1935.
The presence of Chinese junk in northern Borneo on Kinabatangan, North Borneo as been photographed by Martin and Osa Johnson in 1935.

Most of the Chinese who fled during 1911–1949 under the Republic of China settled down in Singapore and Malaysia and automatically gained citizenship in 1957 and 1963 as these countries gained independence.[40][41] Kuomintang members who settled in Malaysia and Singapore played a major role in the establishment of the Malaysian Chinese Association and their meeting hall at Sun Yat Sen Villa. There is some evidence that they intend to reclaim mainland China from the Communists by funding the Kuomintang in China.[42][43]

During the 1950s and 1960s, the ROC tended to seek the support of overseas Chinese communities through branches of the Kuomintang based on Sun Yat-sen's use of expatriate Chinese communities to raise money for his revolution. During this period, the People's Republic of China tended to view overseas Chinese with suspicion as possible capitalist infiltrators and tended to value relationships with Southeast Asian nations as more important than gaining support of overseas Chinese, and in the Bandung declaration explicitly stated that overseas Chinese owed primary loyalty to their home nation.

Waves of immigration

Map of Chinese migration from the 1800s to 1949.
Map of Chinese migration from the 1800s to 1949.

Different waves of immigration led to subgroups among overseas Chinese such as the new and old immigrants in Southeast Asia, North America, Oceania, the Caribbean, South America, South Africa, and Europe. In the 19th century, the age of colonialism was at its height and the great Chinese diaspora began. Many colonies lacked a large pool of laborers. Meanwhile, in the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong in China, there was a surge in emigration as a result of the poverty and ruin caused by the Taiping rebellion.[44] The Qing Empire was forced to allow its subjects to work overseas under colonial powers. Many Hokkien chose to work in Southeast Asia (where they had earlier links starting from the Ming era), as did the Cantonese. The city of Taishan in Guangdong province was the source for many of the economic migrants.[citation needed] For the countries in North America and Australasia, great numbers of laborers were needed in the dangerous tasks of gold mining and railway construction. Widespread famine in Guangdong impelled many Cantonese to work in these countries to improve the living conditions of their relatives. Some overseas Chinese were sold[by whom?] to South America during the Punti-Hakka Clan Wars (1855–1867) in the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong. After World War II many people from the New Territories in Hong Kong emigrated to the UK (mainly England) and to the Netherlands to earn a better living.

Chinese women and children in Brunei, c. 1945.
Chinese women and children in Brunei, c. 1945.
1967 photo of Indonesian-Chinese family from Hubei ancestry, the second and third generations.
1967 photo of Indonesian-Chinese family from Hubei ancestry, the second and third generations.

From the mid-19th century onward, emigration has been directed primarily to Western countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, Brazil, The United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina and the nations of Western Europe; as well as to Peru, Panama, and to a lesser extent to Mexico. Many of these emigrants who entered Western countries were themselves overseas Chinese, particularly from the 1950s to the 1980s, a period during which the PRC placed severe restrictions on the movement of its citizens. In 1984, Britain agreed to transfer the sovereignty of Hong Kong to the PRC; this triggered another wave of migration to the United Kingdom (mainly England), Australia, Canada, US, South America, Europe and other parts of the world. The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 further accelerated the migration. The wave calmed after Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty in 1997. In addition, many citizens of Hong Kong hold citizenships or have current visas in other countries so if the need arises, they can leave Hong Kong at short notice. In fact, after the Tiananmen Square incident, the lines for immigration visas increased at every consulate in Hong Kong.[citation needed]

Memorials dedicated to Overseas Chinese who perished in northern Borneo (present-day Sabah, Malaysia) during the World War II after being executed by the Japanese forces.

In recent years, the People's Republic of China has built increasingly stronger ties with African nations. Author Howard French estimates that over one million Chinese have moved in the past 20 years to Africa.[45]

More recent Chinese presences have developed in Europe, where they number nearly a million, and in Russia, they number over 200,000, concentrated in the Russian Far East. Russia’s main Pacific port and naval base of Vladivostok, once closed to foreigners and belonged to China until the late 19th century, as of 2010 bristles with Chinese markets, restaurants and trade houses. A growing Chinese community in Germany consists of around 76,000 people as of 2010.[46] An estimated 15,000 to 30,000 Chinese live in Austria.[47]

Chinese emigrant (overseas Chinese) experience

Commercial success

Thai Chinese in the past set up small enterprises such as street vending to eke out a living.
Thai Chinese in the past set up small enterprises such as street vending to eke out a living.

Chinese emigrants are estimated to control US$ 2 trillion in liquid assets and have considerable amounts of wealth to stimulate economic power in China.[48][49] The Chinese business community of Southeast Asia, known as the bamboo network, has a prominent role in the region's private sectors.[50][51]

In North America, Europe, and Oceania, occupations are diverse and impossible to generalize; ranging from catering to significant ranks in medicine, the arts, and academia.

Overseas Chinese often send remittances back home to family members to help better them financially and socioeconomically. China ranks second after India of top remittance-receiving countries in 2018 with over US$67 billion sent.[52]


Hakka people in a wedding in East Timor, 2006
Hakka people in a wedding in East Timor, 2006

Chinese diaspora vary widely as to their degree of assimilation, their interactions with the surrounding communities (see Chinatown), and their relationship with China.

Thailand has the largest overseas Chinese community and is also the most successful case of assimilation, with many claiming Thai identity. For over 400 years, Thai-Chinese have largely intermarried and/or assimilated with their compatriots. The present Thai monarch, Chakri Dynasty, is founded by King Rama I who himself is partly Chinese. His predecessor, King Taksin of the Thonburi Kingdom, is the son of a Chinese immigrant from Guangdong Province and was born with a Chinese name. His mother, Lady Nok-iang (Thai: นกเอี้ยง), was Thai (and was later awarded the feudal title of Somdet Krom Phra Phithak Thephamat).

Since their early migration, many of the Overseas Chinese have adopted local culture, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand with large Peranakan community. Most of them in Singapore were once concentrated in Katong.
Since their early migration, many of the Overseas Chinese have adopted local culture, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand with large Peranakan community. Most of them in Singapore were once concentrated in Katong.

In the Philippines, Chinese from Guangdong were already migrating to the islands from the 9th century, and have largely intermarried with either indigenous Filipinos or Spanish colonisers. Their descendants would eventually form the bulk of the elite and ruling classes in a sovereign Philippines. Since the 1860s, most Chinese immigrants have come from Fujian; unlike earlier migrants, Fujianese settlers rarely intermarried, and thus form the bulk of the "unmixed" Chinese Filipinos. Older generations have retained Chinese traditions and the use of Minnan (Hokkien), while the majority of younger generations largely communicate in English, Filipino, and other Philippine languages, and have largely layered facets of both Western and Filipino culture onto their Chinese cultural background.

In Myanmar, the Chinese rarely intermarry (even amongst different Chinese linguistic groups), but have largely adopted the Burmese culture whilst maintaining Chinese cultural affinities. In Cambodia, between 1965 and 1993, people with Chinese names were prevented from finding governmental employment, leading to a large number of people changing their names to a local, Cambodian name. Indonesia, and Myanmar were among the countries that do not allow birth names to be registered in foreign languages, including Chinese. But since 2003, the Indonesian government has allowed ethnic Chinese people to use their Chinese name or using their Chinese family name on their birth certificate.

A Malaysian Chinese praying in Puu Jih Shih Temple, Sandakan, Sabah in front of Guanyin during Chinese New Year in 2013.
A Malaysian Chinese praying in Puu Jih Shih Temple, Sandakan, Sabah in front of Guanyin during Chinese New Year in 2013.

In Vietnam, Chinese names are pronounced with Sino-Vietnamese readings. For example, the name of the previous Chinese president, 胡錦濤 (pinyin: Hú Jǐntāo), would be transcribed as "Hồ Cẩm Đào". In Western countries, the overseas Chinese generally use romanised versions of their Chinese names, and the use of local first names is also common. Vietnamese people have adopted some Chinese traditions, ancient Chinese characters, philosophy such as Confucianism, Taoism after centuries of the rule of China[53] until the establishment of Ngo dynasty (Han-Nom: 吳朝); some Hoa people adopt the Vietnamese culture due to their similarities, however many Hoa still prefer maintaining Chinese cultural background (See Sinic world or Adoption of Chinese literary culture). The official census from 2009 accounted the Hoa population at some 823,000 individuals and ranked 6th in terms of its population size. 70% of the Hoa live in cities and towns, mostly in Ho Chi Minh city while the remainder live in the countryside in the southern provinces.[17]

On the other hand, in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, the ethnic Chinese have maintained a distinct communal identity.

In East Timor, a large fraction of Chinese are of Hakka descent.


Overseas Chinese have often experienced hostility and discrimination.

In countries with small ethnic Chinese minorities, the economic disparity can be remarkable. For example, in 1998, ethnic Chinese made up just 1% of the population of the Philippines and 4% of the population in Indonesia, but have wide influence in Philippines and Indonesian private economy.[54] The book World on Fire, describing the Chinese as a "market-dominant minority", notes that "Chinese market dominance and intense resentment amongst the indigenous majority is characteristic of virtually every country in Southeast Asia except Thailand and Singapore".[55] Chinese market dominance is present in Thailand, which is noted for its lack of resentment, while Singapore is majority ethnic Chinese.

This asymmetrical economic position has incited anti-Chinese sentiment among the poorer majorities. Sometimes the anti-Chinese attitudes turn violent, such as the 13 May Incident in Malaysia in 1969 and the Jakarta riots of May 1998 in Indonesia, in which more than 2,000 people died, mostly rioters burned to death in a shopping mall.[56] During the colonial era, some genocides killed tens of thousands of Chinese.[57][58][59][60][61]

During the Indonesian killings of 1965–66, in which more than 500,000 people died,[62] ethnic Chinese were killed and their properties looted and burned as a result of anti-Chinese racism on the excuse that Dipa "Amat" Aidit had brought the PKI closer to China.[63][64] The anti-Chinese legislation was in the Indonesian constitution until 1998.

It is commonly held that a major point of friction is the apparent tendency of overseas Chinese to segregate themselves into a subculture.[citation needed] For example, the anti-Chinese Kuala Lumpur Racial Riots of 13 May 1969 and Jakarta Riots of May 1998 were believed to have been motivated by these racially biased perceptions.[65] This analysis has been questioned by some historians, most notably Dr. Kua Kia Soong, the principal of New Era College, who has put forward the controversial argument that the 13 May Incident was a pre-meditated attempt by sections of the ruling Malay elite to incite racial hostility in preparation for a coup.[66] In 2006, rioters damaged shops owned by Chinese-Tongans in Nukuʻalofa.[67] Chinese migrants were evacuated from the riot-torn Solomon Islands.[68]

Ethnic politics can be found to motivate both sides of the debate. In Malaysia, ethnic Chinese tend to support equal and meritocratic treatment on the expectation that they would not be discriminated against in the resulting competition for government contracts, university places, etc., whereas many "Bumiputra" ("native sons") Malays oppose this on the grounds that their group needs such protections in order to retain their patrimony. The question of to what extent ethnic Malays, Chinese, or others are "native" to Malaysia is a sensitive political one. It is currently a taboo for Chinese politicians to raise the issue of Bumiputra protections in parliament, as this would be deemed ethnic incitement.[69]

Many of the overseas Chinese emigrants who worked on railways in North America in the 19th century suffered from racial discrimination in Canada and the United States. Although discriminatory laws have been repealed or are no longer enforced today, both countries had at one time introduced statutes that barred Chinese from entering the country, for example the United States Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (repealed 1943) or the Canadian Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 (repealed 1947).

In Australia, Chinese were targeted by a system of discriminatory laws known as the 'White Australia Policy' which was enshrined in the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901. The policy was formally abolished in 1973, and in recent years Australians of Chinese background have publicly called for an apology from the Australian Federal Government[70] similar to that given to the 'stolen generations' of indigenous people in 2007 by the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Relationship with China

Overseas Chinese Museum, Xiamen, China
Overseas Chinese Museum, Xiamen, China

Both the People's Republic of China and Taiwan (officially known as the Republic of China) maintain high level relationships with the overseas Chinese populations. Both maintain cabinet level ministries to deal with overseas Chinese affairs, and many local governments within the PRC have overseas Chinese bureaus.

Citizenship status

The Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China, which does not recognise dual citizenship, provides for automatic loss of PRC citizenship when a former PRC citizen both settles in another country and acquires foreign citizenship. For children born overseas of a PRC citizen, whether the child receives PRC citizenship at birth depends on whether the PRC parent has settled overseas: "Any person born abroad whose parents are both Chinese nationals or one of whose parents is a Chinese national shall have Chinese nationality. But a person whose parents are both Chinese nationals and have both settled abroad, or one of whose parents is a Chinese national and has settled abroad, and who has acquired foreign nationality at birth shall not have Chinese nationality" (Art 5).[71]

By contrast, the Nationality Law of the Republic of China, which both permits and recognises dual citizenship, considers such persons to be citizens of the ROC (if their parents have household registration in Taiwan).

Returning and re-emigration

With China's growing economic prospects, many of the overseas Chinese have begun to migrate back to China, even as many mainland Chinese millionaires are considering emigrating out of the nation for better opportunities.[72]

In the case of Indonesia and Burma, political and ethnic strife has cause a significant number of people of Chinese origins to re-emigrate back to China. In other Southeast Asian countries with large Chinese communities, such as Malaysia, the economic rise of People's Republic of China has made the PRC an attractive destination for many Malaysian Chinese to re-emigrate. As the Chinese economy opens up, Malaysian Chinese act as a bridge because many Malaysian Chinese are educated in the United States or Britain but can also understand the Chinese language and culture making it easier for potential entrepreneurial and business to be done between the people among the two countries.[73]

After the Deng Xiaoping reforms, the attitude of the PRC toward the overseas Chinese changed dramatically. Rather than being seen with suspicion, they were seen as people who could aid PRC development via their skills and capital. During the 1980s, the PRC actively attempted to court the support of overseas Chinese by among other things, returning properties that had been confiscated after the 1949 revolution. More recently PRC policy has attempted to maintain the support of recently emigrated Chinese, who consist largely of Chinese students seeking undergraduate and graduate education in the West. Many of the Chinese diaspora are now investing in People's Republic of China providing financial resources, social and cultural networks, contacts and opportunities.[74][75]

The Chinese government estimates that of the 1.2 million Chinese people who have gone overseas to study in the 30 years following China's economic reforms beginning in 1978, three-fourths have not returned to China.[76]


Typical grocery store on 8th Avenue in one of the Brooklyn Chinatowns (布魯克林華埠) on Long Island, New York, US. Multiple Chinatowns in Manhattan (紐約華埠), Queens (法拉盛華埠), and Brooklyn are thriving as traditionally urban enclaves, as large-scale Chinese immigration continues into New York,[77][78][79][80] with the largest metropolitan Chinese population outside Asia,[81] including an estimated 812,410 in 2015.[82]
Typical grocery store on 8th Avenue in one of the Brooklyn Chinatowns (布魯克林華埠) on Long Island, New York, US. Multiple Chinatowns in Manhattan (紐約華埠), Queens (法拉盛華埠), and Brooklyn are thriving as traditionally urban enclaves, as large-scale Chinese immigration continues into New York,[77][78][79][80] with the largest metropolitan Chinese population outside Asia,[81] including an estimated 812,410 in 2015.[82]

The usage of Chinese by the overseas Chinese has been determined by a large number of factors, including their ancestry, their migrant ancestors' "regime of origin", assimilation through generational changes, and official policies of their country of residence. The general trend is that more established Chinese populations in the Western world and in many regions of Asia have Cantonese as either the dominant variety or as a common community vernacular, while Mandarin is much more prevalent among new arrivals, making it increasingly common in many Chinatowns.[83][84]

Country statistics

There are over 50 million overseas Chinese.[1][2][85][3] Most of them are living in Southeast Asia where they make up a majority of the population of Singapore (75%) and significant minority populations in Thailand (14%), Malaysia (23%), Indonesia, Brunei (10%), the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Visualization of Overseas Chinese populations by country
Visualization of Overseas Chinese populations by country
Continent / country Articles Chinese Diaspora Population Percentage Year of data
 South Africa Chinese South Africans 300,000–400,000 2015[22]
 Madagascar Chinese people in Madagascar 70,000–100,000 2011[86]
 Ethiopia Chinese people in Ethiopia 20,000–60,000 2014–2016[87][88]
 Angola Chinese people in Angola 50,000 2017[89]
 Nigeria Chinese people in Nigeria 40,000 2017[90]
 Mauritius Sino-Mauritian 38,500 2010[91]
 Algeria Chinese people in Algeria 35,000 2009[92]
 Tanzania Chinese people in Tanzania 30,000 2013[93]
 Réunion Chinois 25,000 1999[94]
 Republic of Congo Chinese people in the Republic of Congo 15,000–25,000 2013
 Ghana Chinese people in Ghana 6,000–20,000 2010[95]
 Zambia Chinese people in Zambia 19,845 2014[96]
 Mozambique Ethnic Chinese in Mozambique 12,000 2007[97]
 Zimbabwe Chinese people in Zimbabwe 10,000 2017[98]
 Egypt Chinese people in Egypt 6,000–10,000 2007[99]
 Sudan Chinese people in the Sudan 5,000–10,000 2005–2007[99]
 Kenya Chinese people in Kenya 7,000 2013[100]
 Uganda Chinese people in Uganda 7,000 2010[101]
 Botswana Chinese people in Botswana 5,000–6,000 2009[102]
 Lesotho Chinese people in Lesotho 5,000 2011[103]
 Democratic Republic of Congo Chinese people in the DRC 4,000–5,000 2015[104]
 Cameroon Chinese people in Cameroon 3,000–5,000 2012[105]
 Guinea Chinese people in Guinea 5,000 2012[105]
 Benin Chinese people in Benin 4,000 2007[99]
 Namibia Chinese people in Namibia 3,000–4,000 2009[106]
 Ivory Coast Chinese people in Ivory Coast 3,000 2012[105]
 Mali Chinese people in Mali 3,000 2014[107]
 Togo Chinese people in Togo 3,000 2007[99]
 Cape Verde Chinese people in Cape Verde 2,300 2008[108]
 Malawi Chinese people in Malawi 2,000 2007[99]
 Rwanda Chinese people in Rwanda 1,000–2,000 2011[109]
 Senegal Chinese people in Senegal 1,500 2012[105]
 Morocco Chinese people in Morocco 1,200 2004[110]
 Seychelles Sino-Seychellois 1,000 1999[111]
 Liberia Chinese people in Liberia 600 2006[99]
 Burkina Faso Chinese people in Burkina Faso 500 2012[105]
 Libya Chinese people in Libya 300 2014[112]
Asia/Middle East
 Thailand Thai Chinese, Peranakan 9,349,900 14% 2012[5]
 Malaysia Malaysian Chinese, Peranakan 6,642,000 23% 2015[6]
 Indonesia Chinese Indonesian 2,832,510 1% 2010[8]
 Singapore Chinese Singaporean 2,571,000 76.2% 2015[4]
 Myanmar Burmese Chinese, Panthay 1,637,540 2012[11]
 Philippines Chinese Filipino, Tornatras, Sangley 1,146,250 1% 2005[13]
 Vietnam Hoa people 823,071 0.96% 2009[17]
 South Korea Chinese in South Korea 800,000 1% 2010[113]
 Japan Chinese in Japan 674,871 <1% 2011[18]
 Kazakhstan Chinese in Kazakhstan 300,000 2009[114]
 Laos Laotian Chinese 185,765 2005[115]
 United Arab Emirates Chinese people in the United Arab Emirates 180,000 2009[116]
 Pakistan Chinese people in Pakistan 60,000 2018[117]
 Brunei Ethnic Chinese in Brunei 42,100 10% 2015[118]
 Israel Chinese people in Israel 23,000 2001[119][120]
 North Korea Chinese in North Korea 10,000 2009[121]
 Qatar 6,000 2014[122]
 India Chinese in India 4,000–7,000 nil 2014[123]
 Sri Lanka Chinese people in Sri Lanka 3,500 <1% ?[124]
 Iran Chinese people in Iran 3,000
 Kyrgyzstan Chinese people in Kyrgyzstan 1,813 2009[125]
 Mongolia Ethnic Chinese in Mongolia 1,323 2000[citation needed]
 Russia Chinese people in Russia, Dungan people 200,000–400,000 2004[126][127]
 France Chinese diaspora in France, Chinois (Réunion) 700,000 1% 2010[128]
 United Kingdom British Chinese 433,150 1% 2008
 Italy Chinese people in Italy 320,794 1% 2013[25]
 Germany Chinese people in Germany 212,000 <1% 2016[129]
 Spain Chinese people in Spain 145,000 <1% 2009[26]
 Netherlands Chinese people in the Netherlands 80,198 <1% 2012[130]
 Turkey Chinese people in Turkey, Uyghurs 46,800 2009
 Sweden Chinese people in Sweden 33,548 <1% 2017[131]
 Austria -- 25,000 2008[47]
 Portugal Chinese people in Portugal 17,000 2008[132]
 Ireland -- 17,800 <1% 2011[133]
 Hungary -- 15,000 0.15% 2004[134]
 Belgium Chinese people in Belgium 15,500 <1% 2007[135]
 Norway -- 10,600 <1% 2014[136]
 Denmark Chinese people in Denmark 10,247 <1% 2009[137]
 Bulgaria Chinese people in Bulgaria 9,000 2005[138]
 Finland -- 11,825 0.2% 2017[139]
 Poland -- 5,000
 Czech Republic Chinese people in the Czech Republic 4,986 2007[140]
 Romania Chinese of Romania 2,249 2002[141]
 Serbia Chinese people in Serbia 1,373 2011[142]
 Iceland -- 220 nil 2014[143]
 Estonia -- 104 nil 2013[144]
 United States Chinese American, American-born Chinese 4,947,968 1.5% 2015[145]
 Canada Chinese Canadian, Canadian-born Chinese 1,769,195 5.1% 2016[146]
 Peru Chinese-Peruvian 900,000–1,300,000 up to 3% 2017[16]
 Venezuela Chinese Venezuelan 400,000–450,000 2% 2013[147]
 Brazil Chinese Brazilian 250,000 nil 2005[115]
 Panama Chinese-Panamanian 135,000 2003[148][149]
 Argentina Chinese Argentine 120,000 2010[150][151][152]
 Cuba Chinese Cuban 114,240 1% 2008[153]
 Jamaica Chinese Jamaicans 72,000 --[154]
 Mexico Chinese Mexican 70,000 nil 2008[citation needed]
 Costa Rica Chinese-Costa Rican 45,000 2011[155]
 Suriname Chinese-Surinamese 7,885 1.5% 2012[156]
 Colombia Chinese Colombians 25,000 2014[157]
 Dominican Republic Ethnic Chinese in the Dominican Republic 15,000 --[158]
 Nicaragua Chinese Nicaraguan 12,000 --[159]
 Chile Chinese people in Chile 10,000 --[citation needed]
 Trinidad & Tobago Chinese Trinidadian and Tobagonian 3,800 2000[citation needed]
 Guyana Chinese Guyanese 2,722 1921[160]
 Belize Ethnic Chinese in Belize 1,716 2000[161]
 Australia Chinese Australian 1,213,903 5.6% 2016[162][163]
 New Zealand Chinese New Zealander 180,066 4% 2013[164]
 Fiji Chinese in Fiji 34,712 2012[165]
 Samoa Chinese in Samoa 30,000 --[citation needed]
 Papua New Guinea Chinese people in Papua New Guinea 20,000 2008[166][167]
 Tonga Chinese in Tonga 3,000 2001[168][169]
 Palau Chinese in Palau 1,030 2012[170]

See also

Further reading

  • Barabantseva, Elena. Overseas Chinese, Ethnic Minorities and Nationalism: De-centering China, Oxon/New York: Routledge, 2011.
  • Chin, Ung Ho. The Chinese of South East Asia, London: Minority Rights Group, 2000. ISBN 1-897693-28-1
  • Fitzgerald, John. Big White Lie: Chinese Australians in White Australia, UNSW Press, Sydney, 2007. ISBN 978-0-86840-870-5
  • Gambe, Annabelle R. (2000). Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurship and Capitalist Development in Southeast Asia. Volume 9 of Sudostasien Series (illustrated ed.). LIT Verlag Münster. ISBN 3825843866. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  • Kuhn, Philip A. Chinese Among Others: Emigration in Modern Times, Lanham, MD/Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.
  • López-Calvo, Ignacio. Imaging the Chinese in Cuban Literature and Culture, Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 2008. ISBN 0-8130-3240-7
  • Pan, Lynn. The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas, Landmark Books, Singapore, 1998. ISBN 981-4155-90-X
  • Reid, Anthony; Alilunas-Rodgers, Kristine, eds. (1996). Sojourners and Settlers: Histories of Southeast China and the Chinese. Contributor Kristine Alilunas-Rodgers (illustrated, reprint ed.). University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824824466. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  • Tan, Chee-Beng. Chinese Overseas: Comparative Cultural Issues, Hong Kong University Press, 2004.


  1. ^ The Japanese nationals with Chinese ethnicity are excluded.
  2. ^ This number includes 443,566 people called Joseonjok (조선족). Joseonjok people are the Koreans who have Chinese citizenship. The 181,428 Chinese people who are ethnic Chinese (calculated from 624,994-443,566) in Korea are called Hwagyo (화교). (See reference)


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