Introduction: Chinese Xin Yimin and Their Descendants in France
Journal of Chinese Overseas
2 (November 2020)
153 - 164 p.
Chinese immigrants, descendants, integration, France
As Chinese immigration to Europe continues to grow, the research on the migration patterns and mobility regimes of this population has flourished and diversified (Laczko 2003; Thunø and Li 20201). In such a context, France remains the European country where Chinese communities’ claims of citizenship have become the most tangible. Since 2010, when the first protest in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris was organized, the “Chinese-French” have been seeking their own space, words and identity within the French social and political landscape. The French case is a key case study today in Europe for analyzing the renewed challenges that host countries face in incorporating migrants’ descendants. Indeed, 30 years after the descendants of North African immigrants’ first took to the streets to claim their rights, Chinese (and Southeast Asian) descendants’ emerging activism signifies a generational turn within the immigrant communities. However, the current situation differs on two points: first, unlike North and sub-Saharan African immigration, where immigrants have suffered systemic racism due to the colonial heritage, Chinese and Southeast Asian immigration is historically less subject to the colonial heritage; second, Chinese immigrants and their descendants have long been considered a model minority, yet this label has contributed to their exclusion from the overall definition of French national identity. The case of the Chinese xin yimin 新移民 (new migrants) and their descendants in France therefore offers fresh perspectives on the analyses of ethnic relations in the host countries of Europe...