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Chinese Immigration to the Philippines since the Late 1970s

Fan Dai


Being close to China, the Philippines archipelago islands attracted Chinese migration even before the arrival of the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. A Chinese community was formed before 1949 on the basis of several hundred years of immigration. With the establishment of China-Philippines relations in 1975, many more Chinese nationals have migrated to the Philippines.

Earlier migrants were forced to leave China because of poverty, famine and political chaos. Migrants after the late 1970s relocated mainly to be reunited with their families. What factors drove them to migrate at a time when China was experiencing unprecedented economic prosperity and rising as a great power? Why do new Chinese migrants move to underdeveloped countries such as the Philippines, which has been a labor-exporting country and has suffered from a brain drain to the rest of the world, rather than to the highly developed Western countries?1 Are they following family members, migration networks or markets? This chapter is based on my research in Manila’s Chinatown from two periods 2007-2008 and 20142015. The main source of my data is questionnaire surveys and face-to-face

F. Dai (*)

Academy of Overseas Chinese Studies/School of International Studies, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China

© The Author(s) 2017

M. Zhou (ed.), Contemporary Chinese Diasporas, DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-5595-9_8

interviews with new Chinese migrants.2 Key information was also collected from leaders of Chinese associations and from Chinese Filipinos through conversations and e-mail exchanges.

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