Why Has There Been Significant Chinese Migration to Southeast Asia?

Nov 2015
591
Andromeda
Why have the Chinese migrated to many countries in Southeast Asia as opposed to Northeast Asia historically? It is said that 98% (20 million) of the population of Taiwan is Chinese. It is said that 15% (10 million) of the population in Thailand is Chinese and approximately 50% of Thais self-report Chinese ancestry in the past. It is said that 25% (7 million) of Malaysia is of Chinese ancestry, 3 million in Indonesia, 2.5 million in Singapore, 1.5 million in the Philippines, 1.5 million in Myanmar and 1.0 million in Vietnam. The Vietnamese are also historically heavily mixed with the Chinese, which has displaced Vietnamese ethnic and cultural identity into an intermediate gray-area between East Asian and Southeast Asian. Strangely enough, Laos and Cambodia have not known significant Chinese migration historically.

This is in contrast to the Chinese population in Northeast Asia, where there are only 80,000 in South Korea, 70,000 in Japan and 20,000 in Mongolia. What makes Chinese people willing to migrate or immigrate more into Southeast Asia rather than Northeast Asia historically? Could it be due to historical northern threats from the Manchus and Mongols? Could it be due to more similarities in linguistic features and characteristics with continental Southeast Asian languages such as the Tai-Kadai and Austroasiatic families? Why makes Southeast Asia a more popular choice of migration than Northeast Asia historically for the Chinese?
 
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heylouis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
6,501
China
first, what you mean is han chinese. western environment makes a lot of confusion on this.

mongolia can be easily put aside, because it was an opposite power to china till qing, and qing maintained separation policies. it simply was indeed difficult for han chinese to be in mongolia republic.

japan did not recognize any minority ethnic group to exist, until they finally changed in recent decade(no s). not even ainu can safely declare to be different from yamato back then, let alone it be han chinese.

i am not sure the exact number who recognize chinese ancestry in korea, but it is quite normal to hear someone korean went to china to seek roots from news.

southeast asia did be a safer corner for a long time, and han chinese does go kind of smooth with native people there.
 
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Jan 2015
955
EARTH
From what I hear from my relatives' stories. So this will only apply to the last century.

Moving to Southeast Asia by boat was easy and the Natives tended not to be good (actually very bad) at doing/establishing business. It was easy to escape there when you felt that trouble was coming, and it was easy trade with all the different people there (including the europeans that were there).

Back in China, even before the PRC takeover, opportunities were few, the competition was really fierce and reward was comparatively low.
So stories of economic success in Southeast Asia and easy access just encouraged more and more relatives to move there. You could work as hard back in China, but you will get much less wealth.

As for why not move up? I don't really see any advantages of moving more North. It wasn't easier to escape there. There were other similar Chinese. Business wasn't easier and it certainly wasn't any safer.

As for why very few chinese moved into the far North? I would guess for similar reasons.
Why would anyone move to Korea or Mongolia?

Also, it seems to me that the very far Northern chinese don't tend to share the same sense as the Southerners do. Zhejiang/Jiangsu people tend to refer to the Northerners as stupid simpletons in terms of business acumen, I hear. So that might contribute as well.
 
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Sephiroth

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
2,986
It is a Top Secret
Mongolia is mostly steppe, South East Asia is easy land to farm etc. Amd there are way more Chinese than just 20.000 in Mongolia I think.
 
Nov 2015
591
Andromeda
first, what you mean is han chinese. western environment makes a lot of confusion on this.

japan did not recognize any minority ethnic group to exist, until they finally changed in recent decade(no s). not even ainu can safely declare to be different from yamato back then, let alone it be han chinese.

i am not sure the exact number who recognize chinese ancestry in korea, but it is quite normal to hear someone korean went to china to seek roots from news.
Yes I meant Han Chinese, I am very much aware of the diverse ethnic groups in China. I'm sure the Japanese government did keep unpublicised records on the exact number of ethnic minorities in Japan. The number of Chinese people in Japan may be larger than the figure above but we can't be sure until the census is released. I am not sure of the exact percentage but I assume the data of 80,000 Chinese migrants in South Korea includes Joseonjok (ethnic Koreans living in China due to the Japanese occupation) from Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang repatriating back to Korea.


As for why not move up? I don't really see any advantages of moving more North. It wasn't easier to escape there. There were other similar Chinese. Business wasn't easier and it certainly wasn't any safer.

Also, it seems to me that the very far Northern chinese don't tend to share the same sense as the Southerners do. Zhejiang/Jiangsu people tend to refer to the Northerners as stupid simpletons in terms of business acumen, I hear. So that might contribute as well.
Are you sure? I might be wrong but I believe the centre of productivity was historically concentrated in the Central Eastern and Northern parts of China such as Nanjing, Hangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, Luoyang, Shangdu, etc. It was only in the 20th century in which Southern China became what it is today.

it is interesting how Singapore became the only Chinese majority country outside Greater China region.
There is also Taiwan
 
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heylouis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
6,501
China
I am not sure of the exact percentage but I assume the data of 80,000 Chinese migrants in South Korea includes Joseonjok (ethnic Koreans living in China due to the Japanese occupation) from Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang repatriating back to Korea.
as a matter of fact, what i heard from news about koreans came to china for ancestors are those who rooted in provinces like henan, shandong...provinces.
 
Nov 2015
591
Andromeda
as a matter of fact, what i heard from news about koreans came to china for ancestors are those who rooted in provinces like henan, shandong...provinces.
That is interesting. I could understand that there would be people from the Shandong peninsula going into Korea due to geographic proximity, but Henan is a surprise. I have heard of stories where there are Koreans who go to India (several Kim clan families) to seek out the homeland of their ancestors.
 

heylouis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
6,501
China
That is interesting. I could understand that there would be people from the Shandong peninsula going into Korea due to geographic proximity, but Henan is a surprise. I have heard of stories where there are Koreans who go to India (several Kim clan families) to seek out the homeland of their ancestors.
geographic proximity only works for common poor people.
those who clearly know about their ancestors being chinese, usually also have famous/kind-of-rich ancestors. they usually have written family records, unlike the india story, which is just a myth.
 
Aug 2016
84
NE Kingdom
When I think of China, it always reminds me of Borg from Star Trek. "We are the Borg. You will be assimilated". So many cultures clashed and dominated China, however, at the end they were assimilated. They acted, talked, thought and wrote in Chinese. Even today, China continues to thrive and assimilate other cultures via invasion and migration. One day we will all be speaking Chinese and our respective countries waiting to become China's provincial borderlands.

edit: grammar
 
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