Jinghao's Honors Thesis Presentation
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  • Alba and Nee (1997),“the decline, and at its endpoint the disappearance, of an ethnic/racial distinction and the cultural and social differences that express it” Waters and Jiménez (2005) suggest assimilation can be measured on socioeconomic status, residential patterns, linguistic patterns, and intermarriage. Chinese Assimilation1) identify themselves as ethnic Chinese and total assimilation is unlikely among overseas Chinese due to Cultural Greater China (Wang, 1993).2) Policies in the host country may play a large role in facilitating assimilation of the Chinese. Lima's social institution SE Asia's regulation
  • Over 10 yrs. --- merchants
  • 1. Could not be used to contradict Waters and Jiménez’s (2005). Resonate with some research about the assimilation of overseas Chinese.2. Chinese SOE workers and traders tend to have very low interests in knowing about Ghanaian culture and making Ghanaian friends, whereas the workers and owners of private companies, especially the restaurants, show better understanding and appreciation of the Ghanaian culture and people. 3.Language: an obstacleLiving Context: Scattered and enclosedWork Context: Higher wages but with long work hours or heavy workloadsRecreational Options: Not much choices; not interactive with GhanaiansHealth Care Options: Prefer Chinese clinics and doctorsSocial Organizations: 1) Weak connections; 2) Chambers of commerce; 3)Online community
  • 1. This may be because of the nature of the context in which they encountered Ghanaians, for example, the employer/supervisor positions of Chinese and lower level positions of Ghanaian within a Chinese company. A feeling of superiority further made Chinese discriminate against Ghanaians. When misunderstanding occurs due to cultural difference, Chinese may attribute the responsibility to the Ghanaian workers.It seems ambiguous to conclude what factors led Chinese to have negative versus positive perceptions and attitudes towards Ghanaians. Generally speaking, having more interaction with Ghanaians other than subordinates might increase possibilities for Chinese to obtain a more balanced view about Ghanaians. Hence, whether assimilation may relate to the perceptions and attitudes towards Ghanaians is uncertain.Tensions and ConflictsIn employment contextsIn local marketsWith the Ghanaians officials and government workersChinese’ Discrimination to “the black” The recent Chinese immigrants and the tensionsBoth sides are trying to facilitate the mutual understandingNot very effective


    Jinghao Lu
    April 28, 2010
    Photo from http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/images/Hu%20in%20Liberia%20cropped.jpg
  • 2. Introduction
    Importance of studying Chinese Migrants in Africa
    Increasing Chinese involvement in Africa
    A new trend: lack of research, especially about the life and assimilation of the immigrants
    Partial media depictions from both sides
    Source: Park, Y. (2009).Chinese migration in Africa. South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) Occasional Paper Number 24.
  • 3. Chinese Temporary Labor Migrants
    From 1949-1979: China’s ideological aid to Africa
    Since 1979, increasing economic relationships between China and Africa
    2000, 2006 Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)
    In Ghana: a series of projects, including a hydroelectric dam, two stadia, buildings, roads and fiber-optic cable
    A large influx of the temporary labor migrants
    Employees of State-owned enterprises (SOEs)
    Government sent workers
    Increasing contract workers for the Chinese private companies
  • 4. Chinese Entrepreneurial Migrants
    China’s Open Door Policy (1979) and Go Out Policy (1999)
    Entrepreneurial Migrants
    Traders: wholesalers and retailers of Chinese goods
    Other types of businesses: Chinese clinics, restaurants, manufacturing, etc.
    Family networks and chain migration
  • 5. General Characteristics of the Chinese immigrants in Africa
    A lack of reliable data
    Money as a major incentive for the decision of migration or stay
    Do not form Chinese community; keep themselves
    Do not seek integration with the local society
  • 6. Theoretical Framework
    Assimilation Theories
    Alba and Nee (1997).
    Waters and Jiménez (2005).
    The assimilation of overseas Chinese in different countries
    My Research Questions:
    Do assimilation patterns vary among different groups of Chinese immigrants in Accra?
    How assimilation of Chinese explains their positive versus negative perceptions and attitudes towards Ghanaian locals?
    How does assimilation affect the relationship between Chinese and Ghanaians?
    Research Model
  • 7. Research Methods
    Site Selection: Accra, Ghana
    Sampling Methods: Convenience Sampling
    Data Collection: In-depth interviews Observation
    Number of Interviewees: 29 Chinese
    12 Ghanaians
    Length of Interviews: 0.5 to 2 hours
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10. Demographic Characteristics
    Estimated Number: 30,000
    From various Origin
    Two major occupations:
    SOE employees
    Private Company owner/workers
    Wholesalers/ Individual traders
    Money as a main reason of migration
    Many migrants age from 20-30
    Interaction with Ghanaians depends on occupations.
  • 11. Results
    Overall degree of assimilation of the Chinese immigrants in Ghana are very low.
    Language, living and work context, recreational and health options and social organizationsare good indicators of assimilation
    Assimilation patterns are different among different occupational groups.
    Living and work contexts appear to influence the willingness of assimilation
    Positive Indicators: longer length of stay, ambition to improve English and company policies on encouraging intergroup interactions
    Negative Indicators: tough workload, short-term labor contract, good health care provision, minimum opportunities to go out and frequency in use of internet for entertainment
    With obvious indication: younger age, language ability and frequent contact with Ghanaians; English (?)
  • 12. Results (continue)
    Overall attitudes and perceptions to Ghanaians are negative more than positive.
    Generally speaking, Chinese immigrants tend to think Ghanaians are not diligent, not honesty, greedy and simple-minded.
    whether assimilation may relate to the perceptions and attitudes towards Ghanaians is uncertain.
    The relationship between Chinese immigrants and Ghanaians
    Only a small number of Ghanaians have interactions with Chinese.
    Friendship and brotherhood do exist.
    Tension also exists:
    Bad labor practices of Chinese
    Unfair competition in markets
    Conflicts with the government workers
    Discrimination from Chinese towards Blacks in general
    Conflict escalation due to recent Chinese immigrants
    Efforts to improve the situation are sporadic.
  • 13. Conclusions
    This research is only explorative. More research should be encouraged in the future.
    The Chinese immigration to Ghana will continue.
    At least among the immigrant generation, Chinese tend not to assimilate in Ghana, but some occupations have relatively higher degree of assimilation.
    The perception from Chinese to Ghanaians are generally negative.
    There are both good and bad relationships between Chinese and Ghanaians. Generally, it tends to deteriorate.
    Both Chinese and Ghanaian government should be responsible to change the situation.
  • 14. Question and Comments?
    Please contact Jinghao Lu (jxl5106@psu.edu) if you are interested in reading the thesis.