Monday, March 28, 2005

Chinese communities in Korea

The Marmot points to a long and informative post at another blog about the Chinese population in Korea. The number has shrunk dramatically in recent years.
This post is long and conversational, and good reading for anyone with interest in Korea. Americans will be interested to know that the idea of ethnic minorities living apart from their host country in close-knit communities maintaining separate ethnic, language and social identities is an international phenomenon.

South Korea had around 120,000 Chinese in the early seventies, now there are 22,000. There are many reasons as to why they've left though one of them is that most are from families that originate on mainland, whereas because of history (being in SK at the height of anti-Communism) they are all Taiwanese citizens, with the exception of the relatively few who managed too obtain Korean citizenship. Problem with Taiwanese citizenship is that you couldn't go to the mainland all those years and if you obtain Korean citizenship you have to give up your previous citizenship and still would not be able to go to the mainland all those years (things have changed). So, a good option was emigrating to the US; you can obtain US citizenship without renouncing Taiwanese citizenship while still being able to travel to the family hometown on the mainland on your US passport.


Most of Korea's Chinese came to Korea after Mao's revolution, and subsequently have not been here long, so to speak, in the sense that the older ones remember living in China. Incheon's Chinese are different in that the larger percentage of them came in the 19th century.

No comments: