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International Conference for the Study of Chinese Immigration to Brazil: Local Contexts and Global Perspectives


The First International Conference for the Study of Chinese Immigration to Brazil: Local Contexts and Global Perspectives was hosted by the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature at the Universidade de São Paulo. The conference took place on August 22-23, 2018. These are the conference proceedings, prepared by Dr. Shu Changsheng, Professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature at the Universidade de São Paulo.

Since Chinese immigration to Brazil began to emerge as a field of study in the 1970s, it has attracted the interests of Chinese, Brazilian, and American scholars, journalists, diplomats, and independent writers. These professionals have contributed to this promising field with books, research papers, reports, and memoirs. However, most of these works and endeavors were largely isolated from each other, with few or no exchanges among them.

This first International Conference for the Study of Chinese Immigration to Brazil, held at the University of São Paulo on August 22-23, 2018, intended to promote the study of Chinese immigration with global perspectives while aiming at constructing a platform for international exchanges. This event was organized by Profs. Drs. Shu Changsheng (束长生) and Antônio Menezes from the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature (DLO/USP), with the co-organization of Dr. Carlos Freire from the Department of Sociology (DS/USP) and prof. Yow Cheun Hoe from the Center for Chinese Heritage (Nanyang Technological University (NTU). We received abstracts for panel proposals and individual papers from scholars, journalists, undergraduate students and post-graduate researchers, independent writers, etc. The conference language was in English, Chinese and Portuguese. The major topics addressed are as follows:

1.  Chinese Migration in global perspectives. 2.  Chinese Immigration to Brazil: history and beyond. 3.  Diasporic Associations, Transnational Business Networks and Cultural Identity. 4.  Chinese Language Teaching, Chinese media. 5.  Local Integration, social mobility and political visibility. 6.  Chinese immigration to Brazil and its impact on Local Economy and Culture. 7.  Topics related to Chinese immigration in other regions (Myanmar, Laos and Japan).

The Academic advisory committee of this conference consisted of 15 members, namely:

LIU Hong, Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Evelyn Hu-Dehart, Professor, Brown University, USA

GAO Weinong, Professor, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China

James K. Chin, Professor, University of Hong Kong and Jinan University

ZHANG Qiusheng, Professor, Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou, China

YOW Cheun Hoe, Associate Professor, Nanyang Technological University

QIAO Jianzhen (Ana), Confucius Institute (PUC-RIO)

PAN Hongli, Professor, Kyoto Bunkyo University

Richard Hsu, Professor, University of Taipei

Roberval Teixeira e Silva, Assistant Professor, University of Macau, China

Rogério Dezem, Lecturer, Portuguese Language, Brazilian History & Culture, Univ. of Osaka, Japan

Ana Paulina Lee, Assistant Professor, Columbia University, USA

Eric Vanden Bussche, Assistant Professor, Sam Houston State University, USA

Lorenzo Macagno, Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil

Álvaro Comin, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sociology, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

The idea for holding the First Conference on Chinese Immigration to Brazil took shape after Professor Shu Changsheng attended the ISSCO-2017, Nagasaki, Japan. In the Nagasaki conference, he was encouraged by Professors Liu Hong, James K. Chin and Zhang Qiusheng, who were very interested in studies of Chinese Immigration to Brazil. Upon his return to Brazil and following consultations with the colleagues of Department of Oriental Languages (DLO/USP), Shu started to plan for the 2018 international conference. The conference proposal was approved by DLO/USP in March 2018. Starting from March 9th, the event was announced and it was successfully held on August 22-23, 2018.


This is the first international conference for the study of Chinese immigration to Brazil. It is the result of cooperation between three academic institutions: Department of Oriental Languages and Literature(USP), Department of Sociology (USP), and the Center for Chinese Heritage at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. It was truly international, with the participation (presentation of paper) of 16 scholars from Brazil, 4 scholars from USA, 4 scholars from Japan, 4 from Mainland China, 2 from Singapore and 1 from Taiwan.

It is also truly multi-disciplinary, and the major fields cover the following disciplines: History; Human Geography; Anthropology; Sociology; Language Teaching; Ethnic Media; Comparative Literature.

After the welcome speech of Safa Jubran, Associate Professor, Chair of DLO/USP, the conference was open and Prof. Evelyn Hu-Dehart of Brown University delivered a marvelous keynote speech. She made a historical review on the Chinese emigration to Latin America and the Caribbean since the eras of “Portuguese navigation” and “galleon of Manila” until the present day. She traced the historical process of how Chinese traders and sojourners turned into permanent settlers and community builders, which marked the birth of Chinese diaspora. Her lecture was eye-opening, a “show of football” (show de bola in Brazilian Portuguese).

Prof. Yow Cheun Hoe, director of Center for Chinese Heritage, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore gave a speech on the “Belt and Road initiative and Malaysia´s Response”. He demonstrated how Chinese external economic and political expansions affected the neighboring countries with large diasporic Chinese populations. His lecture makes us to reconsider the relations between the Chinese governmental political changes and their impacts on the overseas Chinese. A very illuminating lecture indeed.

In the following section, we would like give a summary of the most important papers by academic areas:

  1. Human Geography

During the conferences, scholars of various disciplines encountered and offered us their fruits of research. From perspective of the Human Geography, Marísia Margarida Santiago Buitoni, of the Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ), jointly with Henoch Gabriel Mandelbaum, of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP), offered an excellent presentation about the geographic e demographic evolutions of the “Oriental Neighborhood” of Liberdade district of the city of São Paulo. According to them, Brazil has a total of 250 thousand Chinese immigrants and diaspora, more than 60% of them live em the State of São Paulo. Since the beginning of the 1980s, they transformed the urban space of the Liberdade district by territorialization, built their communitary life on this space, established their territory networks. The two authors offered a good lecture on the history of the “Oriental Quarter”, its changing topography, the process of immigration and territorialization, the deterritorialization of the allochthonous communities, until its recent “reterritorialization” under a new environment, with a new influx of immigrants from the Chinese Mainland.

  1. Sociological approaches

Using a sociological approach, Douglas de Toledo Piza presented his paper “From below and through the market: Chinese stallholders practicing citizenship in São Paulo’s popular markets.” Douglas Piza analyzed how Chinese immigrants practice citizenship in downtown São Paulo’s popular markets. In doing so, he tried to understand “citizenship” in three aspects: legal status, enjoyment of legal rights, the political and civil action. He found that the exercise of citizenship by Chinese immigrants had been increasingly shaped by their economic practices and intermediated by market. Looking  from the vantage point of these Chinese vendors, Douglas argued that Chinese vendors enacted citizenship through everyday economic practices—despite and beyond their various legal status, which nonetheless remain as a key aspect that constrains their mobility, social rights, and economic success.

Douglas Piza recognized that the Chinese immigrants were a rather heterogeneous social group, and gave six instances of differentiated practices by which Chinese immigrants enacted and negotiated citizenship: (1) the tactics of regularizing their legal status; (2) political demonstrations for the right to wealth; (3) faith-based togetherness as forms of social integration; (4) obtaining papers in order to have access to popular markets; (5) transiency as a form of cosmopolitan belonging; (6) diaspora outreach and ethnic association as sites of political brokerage that fosters the emergence of a mobile and mercantile subject. By analyzing how Chinese vendors in downtown São Paulo’s popular markets enact citizenship, the author shed light on immigrants´ mobility at the crossroads of market subjectivity and neoliberal governance.

Beside Douglas Piza, Carlos Freire and Diogo Amorim also presented their papers and provided excellent results.

In case of Carlos Freire, his work focused on the transnational business networks of Chinese, Brazilian, and Peruvian businessmen who settled in São Paulo, but transited constantly between São Paulo, Guangzhou and Yiwu. He depicted the markets of Guangdong and Yiwu as the paradise for transnational wholesales business. Carlos Freire also told us how the Chinese products arrived in São Paulo and distributed to every corner of Brazil by the informal “feira da madrugada” (Early Morning Market) of the Brás neighborhood.

Diogo Amorim focused on the Chinese electrical company State Grid, which was subcontracted by a Brazilian company to install trans-amazon high-tension electric transmission networks. He had the opportunity to observe the behavior of the Chinese workers and technical professionals. He found that Chinese companies and Chinese workers, even though working in an overseas environment, maintained their hierarchy, their distance between leader and their subordinates. He also observed that the Chinese New Year (Spring festival), continues to be sacred in the heart of the Chinese workers. The Chinese subcontractors just stopped the operations and let them go home.

In sum, Diogo Amorim made good observations and gave interesting comments on the cultural traits of Chinese subcontractors, technicians and workers within the Brazilian amazon environment.

  1. Anthropological Approaches

Through an anthropological approach, Lorenzo Macagno’s paper “Mozambican Chinese in Curitiba: Itineraries and Dispersions” traced the history of Chinese emigration to Africa, especially to Mozambique. He examined how those Chinese immigrants (mainly Cantonese) settled in Mozambique and integrated their economic and social activities with the Portuguese colonizers. They were recognized as “good Portuguese” and lived a Portuguese style of life. During the Mozambican revolutions, they fought on the Portuguese side and defended the colonizers, for this reason, they were forced to live Mozambique after the revolution. The first place they chose for the exile was Portugal as they had been issued Portuguese passports, but their request was rejected by the Portuguese authorities. They finally decided to seek exile in Brazil, and settled in Curitiba. They continued their habitual life style as “good Portuguese”, but when they try to renew their Portuguese passport, once again their requests were rejected. The angry Chinese solicitant torn apart the passport page by page and threw the pieces of paper on the face of the Portuguese consulate officials. They finally started to settle themselves as a Chinese diaspora, maintaining some “good Portuguese” practices and intermingled with Brazilian and Chinese Cultures. An interesting and intriguing story.

Using anthropological approach, Daniel Bicudo Verás presented his research on the question of racial prejudice and cultural stereotypes as manifested by Brazilian social media (as exemplified by the Youtube channel called Yo Ban Boo) and Lou Shuo presented her work on the meaning of “Chineseness” as demonstrated by the Chinese newspapers funded by Chinese diaspora in Rio de Janeiro. These studies are very interesting, but still need to be refined.

Yin Qiao made interesting comparisons between Chinese and Japanese diasporic associations. She demonstrated that there were good relations between Chinese and Japanese diasporas with some occasional collaboration between the diasporic associations of the two ethnic groups.

  1. Case Study

Ede Martins Fon presented to the Conference the moving story of her family. Her father, Fon Tsun (冯臻 in Chinese) left Canton to Hong Kong in 1924 along with his brother Fukian. From Hong Kong Fukian came straight to Brazil settling in Maceio, a small city in northeastern Brazil where he started a laundry business. Fon Tsun traveled from Hong Kong to France. After 40 days of standby, he started the trip to Brazil. Mr. Fon stayed one year in Recife where he adopted the Brazilian name of Antônio. He sojourned around several cities in Brazil, exercising multiple activities wherever he went. In 1930, in Maceió, he became interested in the art of photography and began his apprenticeship with an Italian photographer who taught him the first steps. Having learnt some techniques of photography, Antônio took up residence in Penedo, a small town in Alagoas, and began to earn money as a photographer, traveling around the neighboring towns and cities. During his service in a small town of Traipu, Antônio photographed a beautiful girl named Nair Martins and immediately fell in love with her. However, her family disapproved of the union and she had to elope from Traipu to Penedo where the marriage took place. A year later they had their first child, a girl. As Penedo was also very a small town, difficult to earn a life, Antônio moved with his family to São Paulo and opened a small restaurant. As the business began to thrive, his wife again became pregnant. Not wanting to take the risks of childbirth away from the family of Nair, once again they moved, returning to Penedo where Antônio opened a Restaurant and Bar, and years later, he established STUDIO A. FON. The family continued to grow and in 1947 they moved to Maceió, now with 5 daughters. In Maceió, he opened an icecream shop called “Sorvetaria Shanghai” and some time later, a photographic studio called FOTOFON. His life began to thrive once more. In 1954, his brother Fukian died and Antonio had to go back to China to bring to Brazil Bencau , the son of Fukian who lived in China with his family, to take over the Laundry of deceased Fukian. Antonio loved photography so much that he closed his icecream shop in order to dedicated himself to his profession. He died in 1975 at the age of 76. Immediately after his death, Bencao, nephew of Antonio, revealed to his sorrowed cousins that their father had been married in China before migrating to Brazil. He also revealed that they had a half-brother in China, who regularly received remittances from Brazil. Their father had never let them known that he had a son in China and had always given financial support to his family in China.

Ede and her sisters and brother, were surprised by this news, but they decided to accept the fact and contacted their Chinese half-brother, and occasionally supported him. Their half-brother also felt happy to know that he had Brazilian half-sisters and brother. Eventually, in 1980, one of Mr. Fon’s daughters managed to travel to Guangzhou to meet their half-brother and his family. They took pictures of the happy moments. Recently, one of Mr. Fon’s grandsons went to China, representing the Brazilian half-family to meet their Chinese relatives and ancestral tombs. This marked a happy end of the drama.

Ede Martins Fon is currently working hard on her family history, an interesting life history.

  1. Comparative Literature

Ana Paulina Lee was the only representative in this discipline, and presented her book Mandarin Brazil: Race, Representation and Memory (Stanford U. Press). In Mandarin Brazil, Ana Paulina Lee explores the centrality of Sinophobia to the Brazilian nation-building project, tracing the role of cultural representation in producing racialized national categories. Lee considers depictions of Chineseness in Brazilian popular music, literature, and visual culture, as well as archival documents and Brazilian and Qing dynasty diplomatic correspondence about opening trade and immigration routes between Brazil and China. In so doing, she reveals how Asian racialization helped to shape Brazil’s image as a racial democracy.

Mandarin Brazil begins during the second half of the nineteenth century, during the transitional period when enslaved labor became unfree labor—an era when black slavery shifted to “yellow labor” and racial anxieties surged. Lee asks how colonial paradigms of racial labor became a part of Brazil’s nation-building project, which prioritized “whitening,” a fundamentally white supremacist ideology that intertwined the colonial racial caste system with new immigration labor schemes. By considering why Chinese laborers were excluded from Brazilian nation-building efforts while Japanese migrants were welcomed, Lee examines how Chinese and Japanese imperial ambitions and Asian ethnic supremacy reinforced Brazil’s whitening project. Mandarin Brazil contributes to a new conversation in Latin American and Asian American cultural studies, one that considers Asian diasporic histories and racial formation across the Americas.

  1. Teaching of Chinese Language and Culture in Brazil

Ana Qiao, representing this field, presented an excellent report on the “Distribution and Contribution of the Confucius Institutes in Brazil.” She informed us that the system of Confucius Institute (CI) was created in 2004.The name of this organization was a homage to the greatest Chinese thinker-Confucius. It has the same role as the Instituto Cervantes, British Council, Instituto Camões, Aliance Française and Institut Goethe. It is different from others because it is totally run by the Chinese government, dedicated to the promotion of Chinese language and Culture outside of China. She informed us that, as of December of 2017, there were 525 Confucius Institutes and more than 1113 Confucius Classrooms (Confucius Classrooms ) spread across 146 countries and regions. Among these, there are 10 Confucius Institutes and 5 Confucius Classrooms. Ana Qiao also presented the major activities of her CI in the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, the third one established in Brazil (the first CI in Brazil was opened at UNESP in 2008; the second, at UnB in 2010).

Confucius institutes offer professional courses in Chinese language and culture, promote cultural activities, and study/sports tours to China. They also offer scholarships for undergraduate studies in China and for summer camps. It organizes Chinese Language Competitions and Chinese language proficiency tests (HSK, HSKK, YCT, BCT), etc. In general, the Confucius institutes were very well received by Brazilian government and local population, as they help prepare future Brazilian sinologists.

It is important to point out that, Confucius institutes are not the only organisms that dedicate to the diffusion of Chinese language and culture, diasporic Chinese schools and religious organizations, such as the catholic and evangelical churches also contribute to the teaching of the Chinese language and culture.

Beside teaching Chinese and disseminating Chinese culture, diasporic organizations also promoted the integration between the immigrants and local society by teaching Portuguese language to the newcomers. These activities aimed at local integration and acculturation were organized by diasporic Chinese associations. Zhang Xiang (Univ. Macau) presented these activities in this paper “Portuguese Language Teaching and Learning for Chinese immigrants, initiatives taken by some Evangelical Churches”.

  1. Historical Approaches

The most important achievement of this conference is on Sino-Brazilian Relations during the nineteenth century. Eric Vanden Bussche (Sam Houston State U.) made some breakthroughs in this field. The follows is a brief summary of his presentation “The Qing Court’s Worldviews and Approaches to Chinese Emigration to Brazil during the Late Nineteenth Century.”

Vanden Bussche informed us that, in the late 1880s, the Qing imperial court in Beijing sent the bureaucrat Fu Yunlong on a government-sponsored expedition to collect first-hand geographical information on countries in North and South America, including Brazil. Upon his return to China, Fu Yunlong presented a detailed travel account to the emperor with ten volumes of his views on the countries visited, including Brazil. Fu Yunlong arrived in Rio de Janeiro on the 7th of march, 1889, being received by the Brazilian Foreign Minister and Emperor Dom Pedro II. Fu Yunlong provided much information about Brazil in his reportrs to the emperor, from climate and topography to its political situation, industry and even customs and literature.

Through the analysis of Fu Yunlong’s writings on Brazil as well as Chinese and Brazilian archival sources, Vanden Bussche examined Chinese immigration through a distinct lens in comparison to previous scholarship. Given their small numerical presence in Brazil, the Chinese has generally not been examined in depth in studies on Asian immigration to that country. Scholarship on Chinese immigration in the late nineteenth century has focused either on the Brazilian government’s failed policies to promote Chinese immigration or the heated political debates over the possible impact of Chinese laborers on the country’s racial composition and national identity.

By focusing on Fu Yunlong’s travel account and its impact on the Qing court’s worldview, Vanden Bussche highlighted the role that the production and circulation of geographical knowledge played in Qing China’s relationship with Brazil during the late nineteenth century. Vanden Bussche examined how Fu Yunlong’s account shaped the Qing court’s perceptions of Brazil and change its approach to Chinese emigration to Latin America. Vanden Bussche raised two arguments. First, Fu Yunlong’s writings transformed the Qing court’s view of Brazil, depicting the country as ready to embrace successive waves of Chinese immigrants to develop its agriculture and mining potential. Second,  he argued that “Fu Yunlong’s account led the Qing officials to reconsider their opposition to Chinese emigration to the country and re-evaluate their empire’s role in the changing world order during the late nineteenth century.”

Qing government even sent Tong King Sing (童景星, 1832-1892), manager of the Merchant Steamship Navigation Company to visit Brazil in 1883 to investigate the possibility of establishing a regular steamship route to bring the Chinese migrants to Brazil. But upon his arrival, Tong King Sing soon discovered that Brazil was under a regime of slavery, and there was no possibility for the free Chinese settlement in Brazil. Thus, China maintained its official prohibition of the Chinese coolie trade (i.e. private recruitment and transport of Chinese labors under false contracts) by the South American countries, including Brazil.

Also from the historical perspective, Marco Aurélio dos Santos (USP) presented his paper on the “Chinese immigrants in the Paraiba Valley in the 19th Century”, focusing the city of Bananal. In this paper, the author studied the public notary documents such as wills and heritage inventories of some Chinese immigrants, and discovered that some lived a relatively comfortable life and others were poor, working as employees in different grocery stores. Most of them were shop owners or itinerary traders. Some of them were slave owners. One Chinese had even 18 black slaves (8 crioulos and 10 black slaves), and was linked to two catholic brotherhoods that existed in Bananal, the Irmandade Nossa Senhora do Rosário and the Irmandade Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte. Marco Aurélio dos Santos is going to deepen this study with his post-doctorate fellowship.

André Bueno presented a paper “The Chins question from the newspaper Gazeta de Notícia: a debate on the Chinese immigration to Imperial Brazil in 1879” (co-authored with Kamila Rosa Czepula). In his presentation, André Bueno focused on the debates among the Brazilian elite on the need of importing Chinese coolies and its possible impact on the Brazilian racial formation. Otto Lima presented a paper with a similar topic “Brazil-China Relations through the illustrated Magazines of the Second Reign: A Question of Chinese Immigration.” These two papers gave us the picture of how Brazilian society excluded the Chinese in her national identity construction. To be more exact, the “chins” would exist in Brazil as coolies only, and would have nothing to do with the Brazilian civilization.

Gustavo Henrique de Paula and Jiaqi Zhu also gave presentations about the same topic: “Three views  of Chinese immigration to Brazil in the congressional debates of the 1850s to 1880s”. They listed three typical attitudes of Brazilian elite, one represented by the racist discourse that Chinese yellow race might stop the whitening process, and make Brazil more racially backward and uncivilized. The second one is represented by abolitionist discourse, represented by Joaquim Nabuco, which held that introduction of Chinese coolies would perpetrate the slavery and thus making Brazil more backward and more legged behind the modernity. The third view favored Chinese immigration because Brazilian civilization have the capacity to control the Chinese coolies and absorb these coolies and made their influence insignificant. Jiaqi Zhu presented the attitudes of positivists, represented by Miguel Lemos, who were against the Chinese immigration on moral grounds. They condemned black slavery and urged the Chinese Emperor to stop the Brazilian project of replacing black slaves with Chinese coolies.

Isabella Santana´s presentation is also very illuminating. Her research dealt with the “Special Mission of Baron of Ladário to China in 1894 and the final abandoning of the Chinese immigration project”. In her study, Isabella told us the history of the official mission of Baron of Ladario (José da Costa Azevedo) to China in 1893, his negotiation of a migration treaty with Chinese diplomats in Paris in June 1894, and the travel of Ladário to China to get this treaty rectified by Chinese government. But due to an epidemic plague, Ladário stopped his travel in Shanghai, and subsequently went back to Hong Kong, fearing a plague in Shanghai. In Hong Kong, Ladário was confronted with a diplomatic scandal: the incident of Tetartos.

A German coolie ship Tetartos was contracted by Brazilian Immigration Company to transport some 350 to 400 Chinese coolies to Brazil. This ship was detained by the Hong Kong Port Authorities for violating the imperial Qing prohibition on coolie trade. At the same time, it also violated British law that only allowed transportation of coolies to British colonies. Ladário and the Brazilian consulate in Hong Kong had to bribe the Hong Kong officials to get the ship liberated for travel to Brazil. This incident was scandalous and Ladário had to declare to the local newspaper that Brazilian government would not engaged in the Chinese coolie trade and would consider the importation of Japanese immigrants who were more adapted to modern life, who had higher level of education and thus having more intelligence than the Chinese. This declaration angered the Chinese and Ladário was declared “persona non grata” by Qing government. Meanwhile, upon knowing that he had been elected Senator of Rio de Janeiro, Ladário decided to abandon his official mission to China. Soon Ladário left Hong Kong for Tokyo in September of 1894 where he met some Japanese officials and explored the possibility of Japanese immigration to Brazil. Ladário was very well received by the Japanese officials and was impressed by their modernization process. This made him even more convinced about the desirability of Japanese immigration. Soon after, under his suggestion, the Brazilian government negotiated an immigration treaty with Japan in 1897 and 11 years later, some 700 Japanese immigrants arrived Brazil.

Juliane Wang presented her paper “The Chins of the Tetartos Ship—the obstacles which blocked the Chinese immigration to Brazil”, a study based on the book written by Henrique Carlos de Lisboa Os Chins do Tetartos. In this book, Henrique Lisboa gave a detailed report on the whole “Tetartos incident”, and listed all the obstacles of Chinese immigration to Brazil. Instead of insisting in bringing Chinese to Brazil, Henrique Lisboa argued for Japanese immigration, because Japanese people were more adaptable to modernity, as proved by the result of the recent Sino-Japanese war of 1894, when China was defeated by the Japanese.

Summing up, as observed by Vanden Bussche, this conference achieved two results on the history of 19th Chinese immigration to Brazil: first, it shows that Qing diplomats actively negotiated the terms of Chinese immigration to Brazil and sought to protect the interests of their subjects. This idea challenges the prevailing views on Qing diplomacy in the late nineteenth century. The second result is to have explained the reasons behind the Brazil’s decision to shift their focus from Chinese to Japanese immigration. In this sense, this conference has achieved a historical breakthrough.

  1. Two panels about the Chinese diaspora in Asia Australia

In this conference, there are two Chinese-speaking panels, with paper presentations related to the Chinese immigration and Diaspora in Myanmar, Laos, Japan, and Australia.

The first panel was organized by James K. Chin (Univ. of Hong Kong and Jinan Univ.) and five papers were presented: James Chin’s “Abandoned Orphans in a Foreign Land: Chinese Diaspora in Kokang, Myanmar,” Chen Tianxi’s (Waseda Univ.) “Remigration of Burmese Chinese and their relations with Japan”; Wang Wei’s (National Univ. of Nagasaki) “The social space and Chinese new immigrants: the case of Sanjiang Chinatown of Ventiene, Laos”; Yang Liming’s (Waseda Univ.) “Convivence and interactions Between Chinese and other Ethnic groups Within the Ethnic Areas of Metropolitan Tokyo”; and Zhou Feifan‘s (Chiba Univ.) “The Educational Strategy of  New Chinese Immigrant Families and the changing role of  family in cultural adaptations in Japan”. All these papers are well-structured, offering a good opportunity for the Brazilian students to become acquainted with these topics.

The second Chinese-speaking panel is “assembled” by Shu Changsheng, with four presentations: Gao Weinong’s (Jinan University, Guangzhou) “Chinese diaspora in Dutch Caribe: Chinese Tradition vs. Local integration”; Richard Hsu’s (Univ. of Taipei) “Formation of Brazilian Taiwanese Young Immigrants´ Chineseness under the perspectives of Cognition Construction”; Zhang Qiusheng’s (Jiangsu Normal Univ.) “Historical investigation on Chinese Newspapers in Australia”; and Yang Junqiang’s (Nanyang Technological Univ. of Singapore) “The connection between Zhenghe Island and overseas Chinese under the Belt and Road Initiative”. All these presentations offered good opportunities for the Brazilian scholars to learn from their Chinese counterparts.

Concluding Session

Shu started the concluding discussions by paying homage to Evelyn Hu-Dehart, who dedicated more than 50 years on the study of Chinese Migration to the Americas and the Caribbean. He also honored Gao Weinong, a distinguished Chinese scholar who specialized himself in the study of Chinese Migration to Latin America. Prof. Gao writes exclusively in Chinese, and for this reason, he is less known in the Western world. Nevertheless, he deserves to be honored.

Prof. Evelyn also observed that this conference is very important, a watershed for the study of Chinese immigration and diaspora in Brazil. She was happy to know that the event will be on an annual basis and that the second conference for the study of Chinese immigration to Brazil will be held next year in the city of Rio de Janeiro, hosted by the Confucius Institute of PUC-Rio.

The 2018 conference for the study of Chinese immigration to Brazil was concluded with applause.

Shu Changsheng

Conference Organizer

São Paulo, 29/08/2018.

Last Updated 8 months ago


Ana Paulina Lee, « International Conference for the Study of Chinese Immigration to Brazil: Local Contexts and Global Perspectives », Blogs, Columbia University | LAIC, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures (online), published on September 20, 2018. Full URL for this article

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