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|Chinatowns in Africa|
|Chinatowns in Asia|
|Chinatowns in Australia|
|Chinatowns in Canada|
|Chinatowns in Europe|
|Chinatowns in Latin America|
|Chinatowns in the Middle East|
|Chinatowns in Oceania|
|Chinatowns in the United States|
A Chinatown is historically an ethnic enclave of expatriate Chinese people (outside of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao). Chinatowns exist throughout the world, including Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Americas, Australasia, and Europe. A reverse scenario for Europeans exists inside China as Europe Street. In modern times, Chinatowns are a symbol of a "world class city."
Trading centres populated predominantly by Chinese men and their native spouses long existed throughout Southeast Asia. Emigration to other parts of the world from China accelerated in the 1860s with the enactment of the Treaty of Peking, which opened the border for free movement. Early emigrants came primarily from the coastal provinces of Guangdong and Fujian (Fukien, Hokkien) – where Cantonese, Hakka, and Chaozhou (Teochew, Chiu Chow) and Hokkien are largely spoken — in southeastern China.
Chinatowns throughout the world have developed as Chinese people have migrated out of China initially in search of opportunities that did not exist within China. However, as conditions within China have improved, Chinatowns, especially the ones in the United States have lost their initial mission, which was to provide a transitional place into the new culture. In 2010, as the migration reverses, the Chinatowns have slowly decayed until some of the smaller ones end up becoming purely historical and no longer serve as the ethnic enclaves as they once were. According to an article from the New Hampshire Public Radio, Chinese who were looking for the "American Dream" found that promise broken and have now started to follow the "Chinese Dream", which was and now is, to return to China. According to the Atlantic Magazine, the decay is further exacerbated by the fact that Chinese no longer choose to come to the United States for the lack of jobs and lower standard of living, that is, China has a higher standard than the United States, as purported by one of the immigrants who wondered whether he should stay. Smaller Chinatowns like those in Washington, D.C have become a place where the Chinese characters are displayed on several non-Chinese establishments such as Starbucks Coffee and CVS drug stores.
Several Asian Chinatowns, although not yet called by that name, have a long history. Those in Nagasaki, Japan, Binondo in Manila, and Hoi An in central Vietnam all existed in 1600. Glodok, the Chinese quarter of Jakarta, Indonesia, dates to 1740. The Chinatown centered on Yaowarat Road in Bangkok, Thailand, was founded at the same time as the city itself, in 1782. The oldest Chinatown in the Americas, in Mexico City, dates to at least the early 17th century.
The Chinatown in San Francisco is one of the largest Chinatowns in North America and the oldest north of Mexico. Other cities in North America where Chinatowns were founded in the mid-nineteenth century include almost every major settlement along the West Coast from San Diego to Victoria. European Chinatowns, such as those in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, are for the most part smaller and of more recent history than their North American counterparts.
In the United States, opportunity was usually the driver of the building of Chinatowns. The initial Chinatowns were built in the west in places such as California, Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona. As the transcontinental railroad was built, more Chinatowns started to appear in railroad towns such as St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Butte Montana, and many east coast cities such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, and Baltimore. With the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, many southern states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, and Georgia began to hire Chinese for work in place of slave labor.
However, not all history with Chinatowns was peaceful, especially when labor tensions rose. Racial tensions flared when the cheaper Chinese labor replaced white mine workers in many mountain area Chinatowns, such as those in Wyoming with the Rock Springs Massacre. Many of these Chinatowns further went extinct as racism and the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed.
From the 1890s onwards, significant Chinese communities grew up in London and Liverpool – the main ports for the China trade. However, these communities were a mixture of Chinese men, their British wives and their Eurasian children. Moreover, they were generally inhabited by those Chinese catering for Chinese seamen. The majority spread throughout these cities usually operating laundries at this time.
France received a large settlement of Chinese immigrant laborers, mostly from the city of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province of China (to this day, France continues to attract many Chinese immigrants from this particular province; Paris, Chinatowns in Belleville, and the XIIIème arrondissement of Paris. Chinatowns also appear in the Indian city of Kolkata (See article) (once Hakka-influenced) and formerly in Mumbai (See article).
Chinatown, San Francisco, one of the largest Chinatowns in North America.
By the late 1970s, the Vietnam War also played a significant part in the development and redevelopment of various Chinatowns in developed Western countries. As a result, many Chinatowns have become pan-Asian business districts and residential neighborhoods. By contrast, most Chinatowns in the past were solely inhabited by Chinese from southeastern China.
In the 21st century, especially after 2010, Chinatowns have started to take on a new role as a historical centers. Many of the newer Chinatowns like the ones in Albany, New York have been created as an attraction rather than an enclave, intended to give the feeling of the "old Chinatown" in an upscale setting. The new Chinatown in Raleigh, North Carolina will be built with a 5 star hotel and meant mainly as a visitor attraction.
Newer Chinatowns, such as those in Las Vegas, Dubai, and Santo Domingo have also received official recognition recently. The Chinese-themed malls in Las Vegas; Orlando; Raleigh, North Carolina; Salt Lake City; Austin, Texas; and most recently, Albany, New York, all show trends towards this style of Chinatown. One notable example, Splendid China Tower in Scarborough, is the largest of such in Ontario, Canada.
There are also more new traditional urban Chinatowns such as the West Argyle Street Historic District exemplifying the satellite Chinatown of the main one in Chicago, although this second district carries a more pan-Asian presence, rather than Chinese alone.
The features described below are characteristic of most Chinatowns.
Many tourist-destination metropolitan Chinatowns can be distinguished by large red arch entrance structures known in Mandarin Chinese as Paifang (sometimes accompanied by mason lion statues on either side of the paifang that greet visitors). They usually have special inscriptions in Chinese. Historically, these gateways were donated to a particular city as a gift from the Republic of China and People's Republic of China governments (such as Chinatown, San Francisco) and business organizations. The long-neglected Chinatown in Havana, Cuba, received materials for its paifang from the People's Republic of China as part of Chinatown's gradual renaissance. Construction of these red arches was also financed by local financial contributions from the Chinatown community. Some span an entire intersection and some are smaller in height and width. Some paifang can be made of wood, masonry, or steel and may incorporate an elaborate or simple design.
Entrance to the Chinatown, Sydney
Many early Chinatowns featured large numbers of Chinese-owned chop suey restaurants, laundry businesses, and opium dens, until around the mid-20th century when most of these businesses began to disappear. Though some remain, they are generally seen as anachronisms. In early years of Chinatowns, the opium dens were patronized as a relaxation and to escape the harsh and brutal realities of a non-Chinese society, although in North American Chinatowns, they were also frequented by non-Chinese. Additionally, due to the inability on the part of Chinese immigrant men to bring a wife and lack of available local Chinese women for men to marry, brothels became common in some Chinatowns in the 19th century. Chinese laundries, which required very little capital and English ability, were fairly prosperous. These businesses no longer exist in many Chinatowns and have been replaced by Chinese grocery stores, Chinese restaurants that serve more authentic Chinese cuisine, and other establishments. While opium dens no longer exist, illegal basement gambling parlors are still places of recreation in many Chinatowns, where men gather to play mahjong and other games.
Most Chinatowns are centered around food and as a result Chinatowns worldwide are usually popular destinations for various ethnic Chinese and other Asian cuisines such as Vietnamese, Thai, and Malaysian. Some Chinatowns, such as Singapore, have their localized style of Chinese cuisine. Restaurants serve many Chinatowns both as a major economic component and social gathering places. In the Chinatowns in the western countries, restaurant work may be the only type of employment available for poorer immigrants, especially those who cannot converse fluently in the language of the adopted country. Most Chinatowns generally have a range of authentic and touristic restaurants.
Generally, restaurants serving authentic Chinese food primarily to immigrant customers have never conformed to these Chinatown stereotypes. Because of ethnic Chinese immigration and the expanded palate of many contemporary cultures, the remaining American Chinese and Canadian Chinese cuisine restaurants are seen as anachronisms but remain popular and profitable. In many Chinatowns, there are now many large, authentic Cantonese seafood restaurants, restaurants specializing in other varieties of Chinese cuisine such as Hakka cuisine, Szechuan cuisine, Shanghai cuisine, and small restaurants with delis.
Often lit by neon signage, restaurants offering chop suey or chow mein, mainly for the benefit for non-Chinese customers, were frequent in older Chinatowns. These dishes are offered in standard barbecue restaurants and takeouts (take-away restaurants).
Cantonese seafood restaurants (海鮮酒家, pronounced in Cantonese as hoy seen jau ga) typically use a large dining room layout, have ornate designs, and specialize in seafood such as expensive Chinese-style lobsters, crabs, prawns, clams, and oysters, all kept live in tanks until preparation. Some seafood restaurants may also offer dim sum in the morning through the early afternoon hours as waiters announce the names of dishes while pushing steamy carts of food and pastries across the restaurant. These restaurants are also used for weddings, banquets, and other special events.
These types of restaurants flourished and became in vogue in Hong Kong during the 1960s and subsequently began opening in various Chinatowns overseas. Owing to their higher menu prices and greater amount of investment capital required to open and manage one (due to higher levels of staffing needed), they tend to be more common in Chinatowns and satellite communities in developed countries and in fairly affluent Chinese immigrant communities, notably in Australia, Canada, and the United States, where they have received significant population of Hong Kong Chinese émigrés. Poorer immigrants usually cannot start these kinds of restaurants, although they too are employed in them. There are generally fewer of them in the older Chinatowns; for example, they are practically non-existent in Vancouver's Chinatown, but more are found in its suburbs such as Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Competition between these restaurants is often fierce; hence owners of seafood restaurants hire and even "steal" well-rounded chefs, many of whom are from Hong Kong.
Also, Chinese barbecue deli restaurants, called siu laap (燒臘) and sometimes called a "noodle house" or mein ga (麵家), are generally low-key and serve less expensive fare such as wonton noodles (or wonton mein), chow fun (炒粉, stir-fry rice noodles), Yeung Chow fried rice (揚州炒飯), and rice porridge or congee, known as juk in Cantonese Chinese. They also tend to have displays of whole pre-cooked roasted ducks and suckling pigs hanging in their windows, a common feature in most Chinatowns worldwide. These delis also serve barbecue pork (叉燒, cha siu), chicken feet, and other Chinese-style items less welcome to the typical Western palate. Food is usually intended for take-out. Some of these Chinatown restaurants sometimes have the reputation of being "greasy spoons" and reputation for poor service.
Vietnamese immigrants, both ethnic Chinese and non-Chinese, have opened restaurants in many Chinatowns, serving Vietnamese pho beef noodle soups and Franco-Vietnamese sandwiches. Some immigrants have also started restaurants serving Teochew Chinese cuisine. Some Chinatowns old and new may also contain several pan-Asian restaurants offering a variety of Asian noodles under one roof.
A special feature of Chinatown in Lima, Peru (Barrio Chino de Lima) is the chifa, a Chinese-Peruvian type of restaurant which mixes Cantonese Chinese cuisine with local Peruvian flavours. Chifa is the Peruvian Spanish deriative of the Cantonese phrase jee fon (饎飯), which renders as "cook rice" or as "cook meal'". This type of restaurant is popular with native Peruvians.
Most Chinatown businesses are engaged in the import-export and wholesale businesses; hence a large number of trading companies are found in Chinatowns.
Small ginseng and herb shops are common in most Chinatowns, selling products used in traditional Chinese medicine. The Canadian government has stepped up policing of Chinese traditional medicinal stores and on a few occasions several Chinese stores in Vancouver and Toronto have been raided for products taken from the harvesting of rare and endangered species, such as tiger bone, bear paw and bear gall bladder. This has been alleged by some Chinese to be racial persecution, despite environmental and moral concerns. Other products sold in this trade include sea cucumbers, sea horses, lizards, deer musk glands, shark fins, swallows' nests, antlers, bear bile pills, crocodile bile pills, deer musk pills, rhino skin pills, and pangolin pills, as well as a wide range of mushrooms, herbs, bark, seaweed, roots, and similar items.
As with the restaurant trade, grocery stores and seafood markets serve a key function in Chinatown economies, and these stores sell Chinese ingredients to such restaurants. Such markets are wholesalers. Chinatown grocers and markets are often characterized by sidewalk vegetable and fruit stalls – a quintessential image of Chinatowns – and also sell a variety of grocery items imported from East Asia (chiefly Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea) and Southeast Asia (principally Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia). For example, most Chinatown markets stock items such as sacks of Thai jasmine rice, Chinese chrysanthemum and oolong teas, bottles of oyster sauce, rice vermicelli, Hong Kong soybean beverages, Malaysian snack items, Taiwanese rice crackers, and Japanese seaweed and Chinese specialties such as black duck eggs (often used in rice porridge), bok choy, and water chestnuts. These markets may also sell fish (especially tilapia) and other seafood items, which are kept alive in aquariums, for Chinese and other Asian cuisine dishes. Until recently, these items generally could not be found outside the Chinatown enclaves, although since the 1970s Asian supermarkets have proliferated in the suburbs of North America and Australia, competing strongly with the old Chinatown markets.
In keeping with Buddhist and Taoist funeral traditions, Chinese specialty shops also sell incense and funeral items which provide material comfort in the afterlife of the deceased. Shops sell specially crafted replicas of small paper houses, paper radios, paper televisions, paper telephones, paper jewelry, and other material items. They also sell "hell money" currency notes. These items are intended to be burned in a furnace.
These businesses also sell red, wooden Buddhist altars and small statues for worship. Per Chinese custom, an offering of oranges are usually placed in front of the statue in the altar. Some altars are stacked atop each other. These altars may be found in many Chinatown businesses.
Chinatowns may contain small businesses that sell imported VCDs and DVDs of Chinese-language films and karaoke. The VCDs are mainly titles of Hong Kong and PRC films, while there are also VCDs of Japanese anime and occasionally pornography. Often, imported bootleg DVDs and VCDs are sold owing to lax enforcement of copyright laws.
Street merchants selling low-priced vegetables, fruits, clothes, newspapers, and knickknacks are common in most Chinatowns. Most of the peddlers tend to be elderly (Cantonese: lo wah cue).
Most Chinatowns present Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) festivities with dragon and lion dances accompanied by the rhythm of clashing of cymbals, clanging on a gong, clapping of hardwood clappers, by pounding of drums, and by loud Chinese firecrackers, set off especially in front of ethnic Chinese storefronts, where the "lion" character attempts to reach for a lettuce or catch an orange. The lion typically contains two performers and performances may involves several stunts. In return, storekeepers usually donate some money to the performers, some of whom belong to local martial arts affiliations.
In addition, Chinatowns close off some streets for parades, Chinese acrobatics and martial-arts demonstrations, street festivals, and carnival rides—this is dependent on the promoters or organizers of the events. Other festivals may also be held in a parking lot/car park, local park, or school grounds within Chinatown.
Some Chinatowns hold an annual "Miss Chinatown" beauty pageant, such as "Miss Chinatown San Francisco," "Miss Chinatown Hawaii," "Miss Chinatown Houston" or "Miss Chinatown Atlanta."
A major component of many Chinatowns is the family benevolent association, which provides some degree of aid to immigrants. These associations generally provide social support, religious services, death benefits (members' names in Chinese are generally enshrined on tablets and posted on walls), meals, and recreational activities for ethnic Chinese, especially for older Chinese migrants. Membership in these associations can be based on members sharing a common Chinese surname or belonging to a common clan, spoken Chinese dialect, specific village, region or country of origin, and so on. Many have their own facilities.
Some examples include San Francisco's prominent Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (中華總會館), aka Chinese Six Companies, and Los Angeles' Southern California Teochew Association. The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association is among the largest umbrella groups of benevolent associations in the North America, which branches in several Chinatowns. Politically, the CCBA has traditionally been aligned with the Kuomintang and the Republic of China.
The London Chinatown Chinese Association is active in Chinatown, London. Paris has an institution in the Association des Résidents en France d'origine indochinoise and it servicing overseas Chinese immigrants in Paris who were born in the former French Indochina.
Traditionally, Chinatown-based associations have also been aligned on ethnic Chinese business interests, such as restaurant, grocery, and laundry (antiquated) associations in Chinatowns in North America. In Chicago's Chinatown, the On Leong Merchants Association was active.
Dragon and lion dances are performed in Chinatown every Chinese New Year, particularly to scare off evil spirits and bring good fortune to the community. They are also performed to celebrate a grand opening of a new Chinatown business, such as a restaurant or bank.
Ironically, many lion and dragon dances are considered more preserved in true form in Chinatowns than in China itself. This discrepancy is attributed to the fact that traditional Chinese customs, including lion and dragon dances, were unable to flourish during the political and social instabilities of Imperial China under rule of the Qing Dynasty and were almost eliminated completely under the communist order of the People's Republic of China under Chairman Mao Zedong. However, due to the migration of Chinese all over the world (particularly Southeast Asia), the dances were continually practiced by overseas Chinese and performed in Chinatowns.
Ceremonial wreaths and leafy green plants with red-coloured ribbons strewn across are also usually placed in front of new Chinatown businesses by well-wishers (particularly family members, wholesalers, community organizations, and so on), to assure future success.
Although the term "Chinatown" was first used in Asia, it does not come from a Chinese language. Its earliest appearance seems to have been in connection with the Chinese quarter of Singapore which by 1844 was already being called "China Town" or "Chinatown" by the British colonial government. This may have been a word-for-word translation into English of the Malay name for that quarter, which in those days was probably "Kampong China" or possibly "Kota China" or "Kampong Tionghua/Chunghwa/Zhonghua". As noted below, Singaporean Chinese themselves used other names.
The first appearance of a Chinatown outside Singapore may have been in 1852, in a book by the Rev. Hatfield, who applied the term to the Chinese part of the main settlement on the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena. The island was a regular way-station on the voyage to Europe and North America from Indian Ocean ports, including Singapore.
One of the earliest American usages dates to 1855, when San Francisco newspaper The Daily Alta California described a "pitched battle on the streets of [SF's] Chinatown."  Other Alta articles from the late 1850s make it clear that areas called "Chinatown" existed at that time in several other California cities, including Oroville and San Andres. By 1869, "Chinatown| had acquired its full modern meaning all over the U.S. and Canada. For instance, an Ohio newspaper wrote: "From San Diego to Sitka..., every town and hamlet has its 'Chinatown'."
In British publications before the 1890s, "Chinatown" appeared mainly in connection with California. At first, Australian and New Zealand journalists also regarded Chinatowns as Californian phenomena. However, they began using the term to denote local Chinese communities as early as 1861 in Australia and 1873 in New Zealand. In most other countries, the custom of calling local Chinese communities "Chinatowns" is not older than the twentieth century.
Several alternate English names for Chinatown include China Town (generally used in British and Australian English), The Chinese District, Chinese Quarter, and China Alley (an antiquated term used primarily in several rural towns in the western United States for a Chinese community; some of these are now historical sites). In the case of Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada, China Alley was a parallel commercial street adjacent to the town's Main Street, enjoying a view over the river valley adjacent and also over the main residential part of Chinatown, which was largely of adobe construction. All traces of Chinatown and China Alley there have disappeared, despite a once large and prosperous community.
In Chinese, Chinatown is usually called "唐人街", in Cantonese Tong yan gai, in Mandarin Tángrénjiē, in Hakka Tong ngin gai, and in Toisan Hong ngin gai, literally meaning "Tang people's street(s)". The Tang Dynasty was a zenith of the Chinese civilization, after which some Chinese—especially in the South—call themselves. Some Chinatowns are indeed just one single street, such as the relatively short Fisgard Street in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada or the sprawling 4-mile (6.4 km) new Chinatown in Houston, Texas.
A more modern Chinese name is 華埠 (Cantonese: Waa Fau, Mandarin: Huábù) meaning "Chinese City", used in the semi-official Chinese translations of some cities' documents and signs. Bù, pronounced sometimes in Mandarin as fù, usually means seaport; but in this sense, it means city or town. Likewise, Tong yan fau (唐人埠 "Tang people's town") is also used in Cantonese nowadays. The literal word-for-word translation of Chinatown—Zhōngguó Chéng (中國城) is also used, but more frequently by visiting Chinese nationals rather than immigrants of Chinese descent who live in the Chinatowns.
In Francophone regions (such as France and Quebec), Chinatown is often referred to as le quartier chinois (the Chinese Quarter; plural: les quartiers chinois) and the Spanish-language term is usually el barrio chino (the Chinese neighborhood; plural: los barrios chinos), used in Spain and Latin America. (However, barrio chino or its Catalan cognate barri xines do not always refer to a Chinese neighborhood: these are also common terms for a disreputable district with drugs and prostitution, and often no connection to the Chinese.). The Vietnamese term for Chinatown is Khu người Hoa, due to the prevalence of the Vietnamese language in Chinatowns of Paris, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Montreal as ethic Chinese from Vietnam have set up shop in them. Other countries also have idiosyncratic names for Chinatown in local languages and in Chinese; however, some local terms may not necessarily translate as Chinatown. For example, Singapore's tourist-centric Chinatown is called in local Singaporean Mandarin Niúchēshǔi (牛车水), which literally means "Ox-cart water" from the Malay 'Kreta Ayer' in reference to the water carts that used to ply the area. Some languages have adopted the English-language term, such as Dutch, German, and Bahasa Malaysia. In Malaysia, the term Chinatown is named under administrative reason. Instead, the name Chee Chong Kai (茨厂街）is preferred and agreed upon by the locals. Chee in Hakka means tapioca, chong means factory and kai means street. This is originated from a factory that was set up by Yap Ah Loy, a rich Kapitan (a Chinese immigrant who had administrative and political power under the British rule) that made tapioca. Chee Chong Kai is also called jalan Petaling or "Petaling Street".
There are three noteworthy Chinatowns in Africa located in the coastal African nations of Madagascar, Mauritius, and South Africa. South Africa has the largest Chinatown and the largest Chinese population of any African country and remains a popular destination for Chinese immigrants coming to Africa. The Chinatown on Derrick Avenue in Cyrildene, Johannesburg is South Africa's largest Chinatown.
Chinatowns in Asia are widespread with a large concentration of overseas Chinese in East Asia and Southeast Asia and ethnic Chinese whose ancestors came from southern China – particularly the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, and Hainan – and settled in countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam centuries ago—starting as early as the Tang Dynasty, but mostly notably in the 17th through the 19th centuries (during the reign of the Qing Dynasty), and well into the 20th century.
Many cities in Australia have Chinatowns, including Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney to name a few. The Chinatown of Adelaide in Australia was originally built in the 1960s and was renovated in the 1980s. It is located near Adelaide Central Market and the Adelaide Bus Station. The Chinatown of Melbourne in Australia lies within the Melbourne Central Business District and centres around the eastern end of Little Bourke St. It extends between the corners of Swanston and Exhibition Streets. Melbourne's Chinatown originated during the Victorian gold rush in 1851 when Chinese prospectors joined the rush in search of gold. It is notable as the oldest Chinatown in Australia. It is also the second-longest continuously running Chinese community outside of Asia, only because the 1906 San Francisco earthquake all but destroyed the chinatown in San Francisco in California. Sydney's main Chinatown centres around Sussex St in the Sydney CBD, Sydney. It stretches from Central Station in the east to Darling Harbour in the west. It is Australia's largest Chinatown. There are additional Chinatowns in Brisbane and Perth.
Canada is home to several major Chinatowns. Chinatown, Toronto is an ethnic enclave in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with a high concentration of ethnic Chinese residents and businesses extending along Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue. First developed in the late 19th century, it is as of 2012[update] one of the largest Chinatowns in North America and one of several major Chinese-Canadian communities in the Greater Toronto Area. Vancouver's Chinatown is the largest in Canada. Dating back to the late 19th century, the main center of the older Chinatown is Pender Street and Main Street in downtown Vancouver, which is also, along with Victoria's Chinatown, one of the oldest surviving Chinatowns in North America, and has been the setting for a variety of modern Chinese Canadian culture and literature. Vancouver's Chinatown contains numerous galleries, shops, restaurants, and markets, in addition to the Chinese Cultural Centre and the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden and park; the garden is the first and one of the largest Ming era-style Chinese gardens outside China. Although only one neighbourhood is designated as Chinatown in modern Greater Vancouver, the high proportion of Chinese people living in the region (the highest in North America) has created many commercial and residential areas that while Chinese-dominated are not called "Chinatown", as in Greater Vancouver that refers only to the historic Chinatown in the city core. There is an abundance of Chinese- and Asian-themed malls in the region, with the highest concentration in the Golden Village district of Richmond. Additional Chinatowns exist in Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa , Victoria, and Winnipeg.
Several urban Chinatowns exist in major European capital cities. There is Chinatown, London, England as well as a major Chinatown in Manchester, and several Chinatowns in Paris France: Mainly in the XIIIe arrondissement where many Vietnamese – specifically ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam – have settled and in Belleville in the northeast of Paris as well as in Lyon. In 2002 and 2003, Berlin, Germany was considering establishing a Chinatown. Antwerp, Belgium has also seen an upstart Chinese community, that has recently been recognised by the local authorities. The city council of Cardiff has plans to recognise the Chinese Diaspora in the city.
The Chinatown in Paris is located in the 13th arrondissement. In Italy, there are Chinatowns in Milan at Via Luigi canonica and Via Paolo Sarpi and also in Rome and Prato. In the Netherlands, Chinatowns exist in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the Hague.
In the United Kingdom, several exist in Birmingham, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne. The Chinatown in Liverpool is the oldest Chinese community in Europe. The Chinatown in London was established in the Limehouse district in the late 19th century. And the Chinatown in Manchester is located in east central Manchester.
Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London
Chinatowns in Latin America developed with the rise of Chinese immigration in the 19th century to various countries in in the region. Chinese people took work as contract laborers in the agricultural and fishing industries. Most came from Guangdong Province. The oldest Chinatown in the Latin America is in Mexico City which dates back to at least the early 17th century. Since the 1970s, new arrivals have typically hailed from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Latin American Chinatowns may include the descendants of original migrants – often of mixed Chinese and Latino parentage – and more recent immigrants from East Asia. Most Asian Latin Americans are of Cantonese and Hakka origin. Estimates widely vary on the number of Chinese Descendants in Latin America. Two notable Chinatowns exist in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Lima, Peru.
The United States is home to many Chinatowns, with the two largest in New York and San Francisco. New York City is home to several Chinatowns in Manhattan, Flushing, and Brooklyn. There is also a Little Fuzhou.
The New York City Metropolitan Area contains the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, enumerating 682,265 individuals as of the 2010 United States Census, including at least 9 Chinatowns - six (or seven, including the emerging Chinatown in Corona, Queens) in New York City proper, and one each in Edison, New Jersey and Nassau County, Long Island, not to mention fledgling ethnic Chinese enclaves emerging throughout the New York City metropolitan area. Chinese Americans, as a whole, have had a (relatively) long tenure in New York City. The first Chinese immigrants came to Lower Manhattan around 1870, looking for the "gold" America had to offer. By 1880, the enclave around Five Points was estimated to have from 200 to as many as 1,100 members. However, the Chinese Exclusion Act, which went into effect in 1882, caused an abrupt decline in the number of Chinese who immigrated to New York and the rest of the United States. Later, in 1943, the Chinese were given a small quota, and the community's population gradually increased until 1968, when the quota was lifted and the Chinese American population skyrocketed. In the past few years, the Cantonese dialect that has dominated Chinatown for decades is being rapidly swept aside by Mandarin Chinese, the national language of China and the lingua franca of most of the latest Chinese immigrants.
A Pacific port city, San Francisco has the oldest and longest continuous running Chinatown in the Western Hemisphere. It originated circa 1848 and served as a gateway for incoming immigrants who arrived during the California gold rush and the construction of the North American transcontinental railroads. Chinatown was later reconceptualized as a tourist attraction in the 1910s. Contrary to the beliefs of some, San Francisco's Chinatown was nearly, but not completely destroyed by the 1906 earthquake, nor did all of its inhabitants relocate elsewhere. Looming large were proposals by real estate speculators and politicians to expand the Financial District's influence into the area, and moving the Chinese community to the southern part of the city. In response, many of Chinatown's residents and landlords stayed behind to stake their neighborhood's claim, sleeping out in the open and makeshift tents. Numerous businesses and housing based in brick buildings survived with moderate damage and continued functioning, if only in a limited capacity. In just 2 short years after the earthquake, the landmark Sing Fat and Sing Chong buildings were completed as a statement of the Chinese community's resolve to remain in the area. As a result of this action, Chinatown remains the longest, continuous running Chinese community outside of Asia. Still a community of predominantly Taishanese-speaking inhabitants, San Francisco's Chinatown became one of the most important Chinese centers in the United States. Additional Chinatowns also exist in Avenue U, Brooklyn; Bensonhurst, Brooklyn; Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Elmhurst, Queens; Honolulu; Houston; Los Angeles; Oakland; Philadelphia; Portland Oregon; Seattle; Washington DC; and Atlanta.
The Manhattan Chinatown.
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