• Manhattan’s Chinese Street Signs Are Disappearing

    As with many neighborhoods in New York City, Chinatown has a history that is legible in layers. Here in Lower Manhattan, Republic of China flags still flutter above the offices of family associations that were founded before the Communist Revolution. Job posting boards covered in slips of paper cater to recent immigrants. Instagrammable dessert shops serve young locals and tourists alike. “For Rent / 出租” signs are everywhere, alluding to the shrinking number of Chinese businesses and residents.

    And above a dwindling number of intersections hang signs declaring the names of the street in English and in Chinese.

    Bilingual street signs have hung over the bustling streets of the city’s oldest Chinatown for more than 50 years. They are the product of a program from the 1960s aimed at making navigating the neighborhood easier for those Chinese New Yorkers who might not read English.

    These signs represented a formal recognition of the growing influence of a neighborhood that for more than a century had largely been relegated to the margins of the city’s attention. But as the prominence of Manhattan’s Chinatown as the singular Chinese cultural center of the city has waned in the 21st century, this unique piece of infrastructure has begun to slowly disappear.


    #toponymie #bilinguisme #Manhattan #Chinatown #USA #Etats-Unis #New_York #chinois #dialectes #panneau #cartographie #cartographie_narrative #NYC #visualisation #cartographie #langue #anglais

    via @fil

  • (COVID-19) Chine : le Gansu signale 10 nouveaux cas importés
    Tous ces dix cas importés sont des ressortissants chinois qui ont quitté Riyad, en Arabie Saoudite, par le vol MU7792 le 14 juin et sont arrivés à Lanzhou, capitale provinciale du Gansu, le 15 juin.

  • (COVID-19) Chine : le Gansu signale 10 nouveaux cas importés
    Tous ces dix cas importés sont des ressortissants chinois qui ont quitté Riyad, en Arabie Saoudite, par le vol MU7792 le 14 juin et sont arrivés à Lanzhou, capitale provinciale du Gansu, le 15 juin.

  • China offers flights to evacuate citizens from coronavirus-hit India, as border tensions rise | South China Morning Post


    The Chinese embassy is arranging five chartered flights to repatriate citizens, as Covid-19 cases in India surge and a strict lockdown is eased
    Move comes amid reports of rising border tensions between the two Asian giants and clashes along the Line of Actual Control

  • Coming out of the shadows: what it means to be French and Chinese

    People of Chinese descent have long faced prejudice and violence in France. But today a new generation is staking out its rightful place in society.

    On 7 August 2016, #Zhang_Chaolin, a 49-year-old tailor, was savagely beaten by a group of youths in Aubervilliers, a deprived suburb on the northern outskirts of Paris – the latest in a string of violent aggressions against ethnic Chinese. Like the other victims, he had been targeted because of the widely held belief that members of the Chinese community habitually carry large amounts of cash (and that they are docile and unlikely to fight back; that they are reluctant to report crimes because they are in the country illegally, or cannot express themselves properly in French; and even if they do, the police do not take them seriously; or, simply, that the Chinese “keep themselves to themselves”). As it turned out, Zhang only had a packet of cigarettes and some sweets on him. He died five days later as a result of his injuries.

    The following year, on 26 March, 56-year-old Liu Shaoyo was preparing dinner for his children in his apartment in the 19th arrondissement in Paris when the police arrived at his home following a call from neighbours (the nature of the complaint remains unclear). The precise sequence of events is disputed: his family insist firmly that he had merely been gutting fish and had answered the door while still holding a pair of kitchen scissors; the police claim that they had acted in self-defence. Either way, they opened fire, killing Liu.

    In the aftermath of each man’s death, huge demonstrations were held by France’s ethnic Chinese, a community traditionally invisible in national discourse and under-represented in public life.

    I was transfixed by video footage of a crowd of more than 15,000 in the Place de la République in 2016 shortly after Zhang’s death on 12 August, protesting against continuing attacks on ethnic Chinese in Paris. Much of what I heard in the speeches that day, as well as in newspaper reports and on social media, felt tragically familiar to me: the cries of a people who felt that they had been ignored by the state.

    We work hard, we keep out of trouble, no one gives a damn about us, we have to struggle all by ourselves. These were the sentiments I grew up with in my ethnic Chinese family in Malaysia – a sense of frustration and suppressed pain that informed my view of the world.

    But there was also something totally foreign to me about these protests: the open dissent. Pushing back against hierarchy and authority. The protesters were overwhelmingly young, incredibly vocal and, in some instances, willing to resort to violent action – the very opposite of how overseas Chinese communities, the centuries-old immigrants known as huaqiao – have traditionally behaved. In short, the demonstrations seemed to be distinctly French.

    I had been as surprised as most people to learn that France has the largest ethnic-Chinese population in Europe. In a country where race-based statistics sit uneasily with the notion of égalité and French citizenship, it is often difficult to find accurate figures, although most estimates suggest a population of at least 600,000–700,000, more than double that in the UK.

    There were other surprises, too. In France, where I have travelled and lived on and off for more than 15 years, I have always taken the French habit of calling anyone of east Asian or south-east Asian appearance “chinois” as a laziness bordering on casual racism, particularly since France is home to large Vietnamese and Cambodian communities who arrived in the country in great numbers following the wars in the former French colonies in the 1970s. But as I got to know members of the various Asian communities in Paris, I discovered that I had been guilty of overlooking a fact that should have been obvious to me, of all people: that the overwhelming majority of Cambodians and Vietnamese in France are of Chinese descent. That is to say, like me, they come from south-east Asian Chinese families – families who had already been immigrants in their home countries before moving to Europe, and for whom being an outsider is integral to their sense of identity. Their languages – Cantonese and Teochew – are those I have lived with my whole life.

    I learned, too, of the vast distinctions within the Chinese community, principally between the south-east Asians and the huge numbers of newer immigrants from the mainland, overwhelmingly from the factory port city of Wenzhou.

    I met the people who had organised the most visible of the demonstrations. They have since mobilised themselves into a group that promotes not just political but social and cultural change – the Association of Young Chinese of France, one of the most notable of the many Asian action groups that are being established in the country. Over the course of many months, we have walked through the Asian neighbourhoods of Paris, shared meals and become friends over the messy issue of mixed identity. They have spoken about what it means to be French and Chinese.

    The suburbs of Aubervilliers and Pantin lie just beyond the north-eastern corner of the Boulevard Périphérique, part of the département of Seine-Saint-Denis, notorious in the French public imagination for its perceived levels of crime and deprivation, and known colloquially as “le neuf-trois” after its departmental number. At Quatre Chemins, the crossroads that forms the heart of the neighbourhood, the first building I see when I emerge from the Métro bears a sign that reads “hotel la journe / €53 la nuit”. People hurry along the streets, as if to and from work, in contrast to the more bourgeois districts of Paris, which are already empty now that the summer holidays are here.

    Rui, aged 32: “I arrived in France in 1995, when I was seven and a half. My parents had already been here for some years, having arrived in Europe from Wenzhou, in the south of China. They had papers for Italy but had come to France illegally, so when I arrived I was an illegal, too. One of my earliest memories of my childhood in France was of my father not returning home one night, and my mother telling me that he’d been arrested by the police for not having the right papers. He didn’t come home for three days. Eventually he was released – they couldn’t prove anything, so he was free to come home, but we lived with that fear all the time. It was exhausting.

    “Before we got our papers, I lived constantly with my father’s shame – the shame of being a poor clandestine. We lived entirely within the Chinese community – that is to say, entirely within the Wenzhou community. Some had papers, many didn’t. There was a very distinct hierarchy, a division between those who were legal and those who weren’t. In those early days, not so many of us had a passport, and if you got married to a French citizen it was like getting married to Bill Gates or Hillary Clinton – the most privileged thing in the world!

    “My father was the opposite end of this spectrum. He worked in the lowest of shitty jobs, as a plongeur (a dishwasher) in Chinese restaurants – that sort of thing. I could feel his shame at being an illegal immigrant every time he talked to anyone. I could hear it in his voice – he felt crushed by the world. Why? I asked myself. Why do we have to live with this shame? I would go home at night and cry myself to sleep. Because they were illegals, my parents were forced to accept their position at the bottom of the ladder, and their inferiority complex coloured my experience of life, even at that age.

    “Every single time they went out, my parents would take me along with them. ‘In France the police won’t arrest us if we have a child with us,’ they used to say. Even at that age, I knew that I was being used as a human shield. I’d be playing or reading quietly at home and suddenly my parents would say: ‘We need to go out.’ I never had any time for myself. Sometimes I feel as though I had my childhood taken away from me, confiscated against my will.

    “People don’t stay in Quatre Chemins long. As soon as they have a decent job and some money, they move to a better neighbourhood. Those who stay aren’t so lucky. We were here for many years, just up the road on the Pantin side of the crossroads. Down there, just a couple of hundred metres away, was where Zhang Chaolin was attacked. There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the violence in Aubervilliers and Pantin, but in truth, it’s always been difficult here, there’s always been aggressions, robberies, fights.

    “This is where the Chinese community live, but they mostly work on the other side of Aubervilliers, where they run wholesale businesses, mainly of clothes, shoes and bags. It’s a barren area, very harsh, and it’s on the way to and from work that they’ve been getting attacked and robbed. What you hear about Chinese people feeling scared and not wanting to go out unless they’re in groups – it’s true. But look around you: you can see we also have ordinary lives in a very mixed community.

    “It looked as if our lives were condemned to forever being lived in the shadows, and my parents were ready to abandon their French dream and return to Italy. But then, in 1997, in a coup de théâtre, suddenly our fortunes were transformed. Jacques Chirac, who was president at the time, decided to call fresh legislative elections because he believed they would reinforce the right and destroy the left. But the plan backfired and instead it was the left who won the elections, and proceeded to put in place a programme of regularisation for people who’d lived without papers for many years in the country. All of a sudden, we became normal members of society, and that changed everything for us: the kinds of jobs my parents were suddenly eligible for, the way they could hold their heads up in public, even my behaviour at school. I felt confident, I felt the same as everyone else. It’s not as if we became rich or anything, but almost overnight, we felt as if life held possibilities for us. I remember the day we got our papers, my mother took me to a restaurant for the first time – a simple Vietnamese place where we had pho. It felt like such a luxury.

    “Now that I have a good job – I work in real estate, I have a decent income and I own a nice apartment – I sometimes think back to those days of poverty, when we were illegal and my family had no money, no possibility of earning money or of getting any social security. And I realise that a large part of the shame was what we were going to tell our family back in China. We had left to build better lives for ourselves in France, but here we were, worse off than before. We were trapped in a sort of double prison: by poverty in Europe, and by China and its expectations of us.

    “After I became a full French citizen at the age of 18, I started to think more deeply about my identity – about what it meant to be French, and also Chinese. By that time, I and all my cousins and friends, people who’d been brought up or even born in France, had experienced racism in France – casual insults, people mocking our accents, or more serious incidents like being robbed because we were seen as weak and docile. And then, during the Beijing Olympics, we saw how the French media talked about China and the Chinese, as if we were one kind of people, who acted in the same way, always in the image of the Communist party. That got me really mad, so together with other friends like me – young Chinese people who considered France their only home – I formed the Association of Young Chinese of France. I was at university at the time, at Paris Dauphine, and reading Marx and Bourdieu – people who helped me make sense of my childhood, of the way my parents’ experience conditioned mine. I wanted to change things – for me and also for them.

    “When Zhang Chaolin was in hospital and everyone knew he was going to die, I knew I had to do something. Together with a few other young people, we made plans for a huge demonstration that we would put into action the moment he died. When I saw all those people gathered for the demonstration outside the town hall, I felt elated – as if change was finally happening.

    “What happened at the demonstration to mark Liu Shaoyo’s death was even more remarkable. The elders of the Chinese community had organised a formal event, full of boring speeches that tried to appease everyone. Everything was expressed in neutral language, with typical Chinese politesse. Not that many people were present.


    Then, not long before proceedings were due to wrap up, a huge swathe of protesters dressed in black descended towards the Place de la République, shouting slogans against the establishment. All of them were young Chinese people, angry with the inaction of the older generation. They wanted change, they wanted it urgently. All of it was calculated to make the elders lose face, to show how powerless and pointless they were. It was exhilarating to see that mass of young people trying to wrest control from their elders.

    “For me, the demonstrations were a form of revenge. For the humiliation that my parents experienced. That I’ve experienced. The humiliation of being rendered invisible, of not being listened to. The humiliation that Chinese people go through every time they are aggressed in the street, which is a continuation of the marginalisation my parents lived through.

    “But above all, these protests, this spirit of revolution – this is what makes me French. In Chinese culture, as you and I both know all too well, we’re trained to be obedient, to respect your elders and hierarchy in general. In France it’s the reverse. You became integrated from the moment you feel able to criticise, especially if you criticise the state and the government. It’s a particularly French quality, almost a disease, I would say! In this country, we are French, we are required to be French, and this requires a very special mentality. For Chinese-French people, it’s not the same as Chinese-Italians or Chinese-Spanish, who are always thinking they will never be fully integrated and will probably go back to China in 10 years’ time. We think of our children and grandchildren living normal lives in this country, so we need to change things. I have a way of thinking which I feel defines a French person: I believe that the government can always, always, be changed. I believe in the power of revolution to change our lives.”

    The southern end of Paris’s 13th arrondissement is home to the city’s largest and longest-established Asian community, composed principally of families who fled the civil wars in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, arriving in France in large numbers after the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh in 1975. The heart of Chinatown is concentrated around the famous residential towers blocks known as Les Olympiades, which were completed in the mid-1970s – the first homes to be occupied by the families arriving from south-east Asia.

    Laëtitia, age 25: “One of the things my parents often used to say in reprimanding me was ‘tu es devenue trop Française’ – you’ve become too French. Whenever they were angry they also used the term ‘ang mo kia’, which was not intended as a compliment. [It means “white kid” in many of the dialects of southern China, shorthand for rude, rebellious behaviour – western values being of course the antithesis of harmony, both within the family and in society.] I think it came from a frustration that we, their children, had very little idea of what they went through so that we could grow up with an idea of being French, and only French. But then again, they never spoke of their lives before coming to France, or their difficult journeys here, so it’s no surprise that most of us only have a single French identity.

    “My parents are Sino-Cambodian, that is to say, ethnic Chinese Teochews from Chaozhou who were born or grew up in Cambodia with a dual identity, both Chinese and Cambodian. During the war, just before the country fell to the Khmer Rouge, they were forced to flee, abandoning everything they had and, in some cases, even members of their own family. They spent the whole of the war trapped in camps on the Thai border. During that time, who knows what kind of horrors they witnessed? I can understand why they wouldn’t want to talk about it. Like many Cambodians, their lives had been all right over there – they ran shops and small businesses. Then, almost overnight: the war, the nightmare of departure, and finally France. Despite my parents’ silence, I knew that they survived unspeakable brutality in Cambodia, and this knowledge is something unspoken that I carry within me, affecting the way I feel about France.

    “Intellectually, I can understand why the gilets jaunes are protesting – I’m French after all, I have the tendency to question the way other French people do. But when you know that your parents have survived one of the greatest genocides the world has ever seen, everything becomes relative. When people talk of life’s great problems being the price of petrol and only being able to go to a restaurant once a week, or only having one holiday a year, we can’t feel fully invested in these arguments, even if we understand them. My parents ran a restaurant when I was a child, and I can’t remember them ever taking a holiday. That’s why they pushed me to have a life where I could make choices and have greater agency than them.

    “As a rule, I don’t think you’ll find many French people from south-east Asian Chinese families, that is to say Cambodian or Vietnamese, who are passionate about the right to take to the streets. We don’t take the attitude that ‘the government has to do everything for me’. Even back in Cambodia and Vietnam, our families were already outsiders.

    “We didn’t benefit from any structural help then, we didn’t come from the dominant class in those countries, we didn’t feel we had the right to demand anything. We knew we had to fend for ourselves. Even though the overwhelming majority of Asians of my generation would consider themselves French and only French, I don’t know anyone who relies on state subsidies to live – two generations of French citizenship are not enough to change the embedded mentality of self-sufficiency.

    “French identity is an incredibly powerful idea. Being French is a notion that is inculcated within us from the earliest days at primary school, and it’s a really attractive principle: a project of assimilation to push aside cultural origins to create one single nationality, one people. But the problem is that differences persist, and as my teenage years went by I suddenly began to think there’s something missing, some part of myself that is not acknowledged, and that’s when I began to interrogate the Chinese part of myself, and learn how to be culturally Chinese as well as French.


    “You can see the problems in the unacknowledged differences in culture and race when you look at the aggression against Chinese people in certain parts of Paris. Asian and north African communities live in tough conditions and have come to think about each other in negative stereotypes. We can’t speak about it along racial lines because to do so is taboo, totally contrary to the ideas of the republic, of égalité and so on. But the problems exist.

    “The rise of China has been complicated for us. Before that, no one really noticed Asian people – we just got on with our lives in a nearly invisible way. Then I began to hear overtly racist comments – the Chinese spit everywhere, they’re filthy, they’re money launderers. The most negative phase was in 2008-9, during the Beijing Olympics, when suddenly the old ‘Yellow Peril’ fears were everywhere. All the time, we had newspaper stories headlined “China: conquering the world”. There were TV programmes like Envoyé Special, which killed Chinese delicatessens almost overnight by screening ‘exposés’ on hygiene standards. My parents ran one of those delis, so I should know.

    “I guess that’s why many people from my community say that they are Cambodian, or Vietnamese, to distance themselves from associations with the mainland, and from the newer immigrants from Wenzhou, who’ve only been in France for 20 years or so.

    “We’ve been here since the 1970s, and already there’s a sense within our communities of being more French than they are, more part of the community, which gives us a sense of superiority. The things we say about them echo what the rest of France say about us: that they work really hard, they’re prepared to work very long hours for next to nothing, they keep themselves to themselves, and so on. We’re used to being the model immigrants, but there are newer versions of ourselves, and we pass judgments on them. Maybe that’s a sign of belonging to French society.’

    Daniel, aged 27: “I would say that among all my Asian friends, I’m in the minority of those who are comfortable with being both Asian and French. A very small number, I guess those who’ve been victims of consistent racism, choose to reject their French identity, but the vast majority are more comfortable inhabiting only a French identity and are prepared to reject any sense of Asian-ness if it clashes with feeling French.

    “From what I see in my circle of friends, ethnic Chinese are far more likely to reject their Chineseness than a Maghrebine their Arabness. I’m not sure why – maybe it’s to do with the silence that exists within many families, particularly those from Vietnam and Cambodia, the lack of knowledge about our histories. We’re not connected to our non-French past the way Arabs and Africans are. They tend to have extended families back in Ivory Coast or Morocco or Algeria who provide them with a link to their cultures, their languages. We don’t have that – there’s no one back in Vietnam who can give me that sense of belonging to another culture. In any case, there’s a complication, because my family are ethnic Chinese who speak Cantonese, so which is my ‘other’ culture?

    “There’s a question of visibility, too. Black Africans and north Africans are represented in public life – in sports, music and pop culture in general – whereas we are almost totally absent. That means that it’s more difficult for us to identify role models.

    “Another pressure is that our parents often live life through us. Their aspirations, all the things they weren’t able to achieve because they arrived in France too late in life, traumatised and with very little money, they invest in us. Part of that means figuring out how to live in France. Many of us have experience of being interpreters for our parents even when we were very small. So, of course, it’s natural we end up behaving like models of French society.

    “We don’t recognise ourselves in French history, which is one of the most important subjects at school, because this is a country that has a long and rich history. We absorb all the lessons on French heroes such as Jeanne d’Arc, Charlemagne, Clovis. It’s one single version of history, one story, which everyone, even children of immigrant families are obliged to accept as their own. Even though I tried to feel that it was my story, I couldn’t help feeling a bit detached from it. To accept that version of history as my only heritage felt false – it was a story that rendered us invisible. Coupled with the misleading stereotypes elsewhere, it felt to me that our fate in society was either not to be talked about, or to be talked about inaccurately.

    “We were taught next to nothing about Vietnam, which was after all one of France’s most important colonies for 100 years. Colonial history – France’s relationship with countries that would provide large numbers of its minority populations – wasn’t taught much at school, which was a shame. I remember the kids of Algerian origin being very interested in lessons on the war in Algeria. They felt as if it spoke of them – that the whole class was learning about them and their past, where their parents came from, why they were French, how they were French. There was nothing for us, but in some ways that’s natural. Algeria represents a greater presence in the French imagination than Vietnam, even if that relationship is problematic.

    “You have to understand, we grow up with the notion that all of us are French – that is the whole point of our history lessons, to give us one single shared identity. I get that. But isn’t it more important to learn why we are so diverse? We’re all French, but these days there are so many different ways of being French. I’d have loved to have learned more about the histories of the different communities in France – their music, art, language. I’d also have liked to learn about the history of racism, rather than have to figure it all out myself.”

    Boulevard Voltaire is just a 15-minute walk from the Place de la Bastille and its concentration of hip bars and restaurants, yet it feels much more down at heel. Most of the shops sell clothing, but there are no customers in them; they have names such as Veti Style, Lucky Men and Bella. Many other shops are closed and available to rent.

    Emma, aged 19: “Until I was in my mid-teens, I never had any Chinese friends. In fact, I made a point not to hang out with other Chinese kids. I only had white, Arab or black friends – I was born here and wanted to show how French I was. But about 16, 17, I started to change. I’d had conversations with my parents, who’d come to France from Wenzhou when they were young. ‘No matter how you feel inside,’ my father told me, ‘when the world looks at you, they see a Chinese person.’ It was around that time too that I began to realise that all the things I’d accepted as normal – people mocking Chinese accents to my face, even though I speak just like any other French person, casual comments sexualising Asian women and desexualising Asian men – were micro-aggressions, and that I had to embrace my culture, instead of reject it.

    “My parents ran a bar-tabac towards the Oberkampf side of the 11th arrondissement. I wanted to do what bourgeois white French kids do, so I applied to Sciences Po, one of the most prestigious of the country’s grandes écoles. Few people in my community thought it was worth it – they couldn’t imagine it possible for me to pursue a career in human or social sciences, and definitely not in politics. There aren’t any statistics on how many Asians there are at Sciences Po, but just from my own observations, there are fewer than 10 per year, which means 30 in the entire school. It’s not like in the US, where Asians are a very visible presence on every major college campus – our elite schools still feel quite foreign to us. Maybe in the more science-based schools there might be more Asians, but personally I really don’t know any. If you look at schools like École normale supérieure, which require you to have amassed great cultural knowledge by the time you’re 18 or 20, the figure is probably zero.

    “Whatever the real situation, the general impression within the Chinese community is that the most exclusive schools are bastions that we’d have difficulty gaining access to, so when I got in, it was a really, really big achievement. Things are changing now, but not as fast as you’d imagine. In the French imagination, Asians are studious and conscientious, but if that were true, we would be much more visible in the grandes écoles, which are, after all, the standard-bearers of French education.”

    #chinois #France #migrants_chinois #identité #violence #préjugés #migrations

    ping @isskein

  • Se l’operaio alle dipendenze del cinese è pachistano

    Che ci fa un piccolo imprenditore cinese in ginocchio? Perché solleva davanti alle telecamere e ai giornalisti un artigianalissimo cartello che recita “Cobas Comanda #Prato, Aiuto Istituzioni”? Perché alcuni operai pachistani vengono picchiati e finiscono in ospedale insieme a un sindacalista?

    Benvenuti a Prato, città di frontiera, ieri come oggi, città dove il nuovo lavorativo e imprenditoriale si presenta prima che altrove. Nei decenni del “piccolo è bello” era stato il distretto industriale per eccellenza; dagli anni Novanta è stato il distretto che ha prima accolto e poi criminalizzato l’imprenditoria dei migranti cinesi; dal 2014 è stato il luogo dove la Regione ha introdotto controlli serrati sul lavoro in maniera esplicitamente discriminante: solo le ditte cinesi sarebbero state controllate a tappeto; negli ultimi tempi, gli imprenditori cinesi di Prato – adeguandosi a un modello già in uso tra gli italiani – sono stati i primi imprenditori migranti ad impiegare massicciamente manodopera immigrata non cinese.

    Oggi Prato è la nuova frontiera di quello che si sarebbe tentati di considerare un conflitto tutto etnico: la contrapposizione tra datori di lavoro cinesi e operai pachistani nell’industria tessile e dell’abbigliamento.

    Nel distretto di Prato i cinesi erano arrivati in sordina, alla fine degli anni Ottanta, proponendosi come terzisti nell’abbigliamento per ditte finali dislocate in diverse città del Centro Nord Italia. Come operai impiegavano solo connazionali, introducendo quindi un modello di etnicizzazione del lavoro che, anche grazie al laboratorio usato come luogo di vita e di lavoro insieme, ha permesso di ristrutturare gli spazi e i tempi del lavoro: gli operai cinesi pagati a cottimo, infatti, si spostavano da un laboratorio cinese all’altro seguendo le commesse in arrivo e il bisogno di evaderle urgentemente. A poco a poco una parte dei terzisti cinesi è riuscita a fare il grande balzo imprenditoriale e ad aprire le proprie ditte finali nel “pronto moda”. Nel frattempo e con gradualità, i cinesi sono riusciti anche ad acquisire da imprenditori pratesi le tintorie che tingono per il pronto moda, ricavandosi quindi uno spazio crescente anche nel settore tessile, appannaggio tradizionale dell’imprenditoria autoctona. Oggi ci sono a Prato circa 3.700 imprese cinesi nelle confezioni e 400 nel tessile.

    Negli ultimi anni, l’organizzazione del lavoro sta cambiando drasticamente nelle imprese cinesi. Gli operai non sono più solo cinesi, ma anche pachistani, bangladesi e africani, sia nelle tintorie che nei laboratori di confezioni. A spiegare questa evoluzione contribuisce la difficoltà crescente per gli imprenditori cinesi di trovare e trattenere presso di loro operai cinesi. Questo a sua volta scaturisce dalla fine degli arrivi di manodopera a basso costo dalla Cina, e dal fatto che i cinesi che vivono in Italia da decenni, se possono, cercano impiego fuori dal manifatturiero.

    Ma il processo di multi-etnicizzazione del lavoro non è solo una reazione a questo. Scaturisce anche dalla concreta possibilità per gli imprenditori di accrescere i propri profitti, impiegando una manodopera ancor più vantaggiosa di quella cinese. Se poi sono rifugiati – come lo sono buona parte dei migranti arrivati negli ultimi anni – gli operai diventano ancora più interessanti perché maggiormente vulnerabili.

    Già qualche anno fa, nelle fasi iniziali del processo di multietnicizzazione, la stampa locale aveva mostrato come vi fosse una sorta di gerarchia degli stipendi dei diversi gruppi di immigrati: gli operai cinesi erano al top, con stipendi (perlopiù a cottimo) di circa 1.300 euro, quelli pachistani e bangladesi avevano salari più bassi di circa 300-400 euro, e gli africani guadagnavano ancora meno. Invece, i pochi italiani che lavoravano nelle tintorie cinesi – operai specializzati o consulenti, a volte ex proprietari – ricevevano compensi ben diversi. Differenze nei salari di operai cinesi e altri immigrati non cinesi sono emerse anche da uno studio che ha analizzato l’impiego di manodopera immigrata non cinese nei centri ingrosso gestiti da cinesi nel Veneto (G. D’Odorico e D. Sacchetto, Il commercio all’ingrosso cinese in Italia: prospettive storiche e presenti in un’ottica globale, in Cinesi tra le maglie del lavoro).

    La differenza fondamentale tra gli operai cinesi e gli altri operai immigrati non sta però principalmente nei divari salariali, quanto nel fatto che i gli operai cinesi, a differenza degli altri immigrati, godono di benefit tradizionalmente garantiti agli operai cinesi nelle imprese cinesi: vitto e alloggio a costo zero. Nelle interviste che abbiamo raccolto nel corso dell’estate, gli operai pachistani protestavano per questo trattamento differenziato a parità di mansioni e di ore lavorate, e facevano i calcoli su quanto si alzerebbero le loro entrate mensili se come i cinesi non dovessero pagarsi l’appartamento e il cibo.

    Inoltre, dal nostro recente lavoro sul campo, così come da una ricerca sullo sfruttamento lavorativo finanziata dal Comune di Prato (A. Cagione e G. Coccoloni, Forme di sfruttamento lavorativo a Prato), emerge il potere assoluto dei datori di lavoro cinesi che lasciano a casa all’istante gli operai pachistani o africani quando, da mesi privi di un solo giorno libero, decidono di rimanere a casa per un giorno e quando chiedono di avere un contratto di lavoro, indispensabile per ottenere il permesso di soggiorno per lavoro. Non era mai stata registrata prima tanta rigidità nei rapporti lavorativi; al contrario, un vantaggio molto apprezzato dagli operai cinesi negli ultimi anni era la maggior flessibilità dell’orario di lavoro garantita dai datori di lavoro cinesi rispetto a quelli italiani – seppur in un contesto di forte sfruttamento e auto-sfruttamento. Inoltre, mentre i contratti di lavoro degli operai cinesi sono perlopiù a tempo indeterminato o si adeguano alle esigenze dei lavoratori cinesi di rinnovare il permesso di soggiorno per lavoro o di accedere al ricongiungimento con i familiari, i contratti dei lavoratori immigrati non cinesi sono di breve durata, quando ci sono.

    Il processo di etnicizzazione gerarchizzata in atto permette di fare luce su alcuni importanti mutamenti nel mondo del lavoro. L’idea che gli immigranti facciano i lavori che gli italiani non vogliono fare è in un certo senso superata. Oggi, e sempre di più, sono i datori di lavoro stessi a cercare attivamente gli operai immigrati preferendoli ai cosiddetti autoctoni. Detto altrimenti, il processo di etnicizzazione del lavoro scaturisce (anche) da volontà imprenditoriali di sfruttare al meglio il lavoro dipendente, giocando su tutte le forme di vulnerabilità possibili. E secondo molti il processo di precarizzazione intacca prima le categorie più vulnerabili, come i migranti e i giovani, per poi estendersi a fasce sempre più vaste di lavoratori, inclusi quelli cosiddetti “di concetto”. Allo stesso tempo, questo processo di sfruttamento rapace risponde all’esigenza di contenere sempre più il costo del lavoro in settori dove la concorrenza è serrata e i margini di profitto per i terzisti sono in continuo ribasso.

    Oggi, guidati dai sindacalisti autoctoni di Si Cobas – il sindacato di base che ha condotto lotte di successo tra gli immigrati che lavorano nella logistica – i pachistani impiegati in alcune aziende tessili pratesi gestite da cinesi scendono in sciopero e bloccano la produzione. Chiedono di non lavorare 12 ore al giorno 7 giorni su 7; chiedono di non avere contratti da 2, 4 o 6, ore ma contratti adeguati al numero di ore effettivamente svolte. Gli imprenditori cinesi reagiscono male agli scioperi dei lavoratori. I sindacalisti ci raccontano di imprenditori cinesi increduli, che non sanno spiegarsi come mai gli operai possano scendere in sciopero e addirittura possano bloccare la produzione, ostacolando l’entrata e l’uscita delle merci. A fine giugno, alcuni operai pachistani in sciopero sono stati portati in ospedale perché picchiati da cinesi durante un picchetto davanti alla tintoria dove lavoravano.

    Se pensiamo alle repressioni degli scioperi in Cina e all’irregimentazione del lavoro in Asia, viene da chiedersi se questo sia un modello tutto cinese di gestione della conflittualità con gli operai.

    Ma pensare che si tratti di un modello cinese è una foglia di fico. Oggi a Prato c’è una manciata di imprenditori pachistani nel settore delle confezioni che dà lavoro a connazionali. I loro operai ci raccontano che non c’è differenza tra i datori di lavoro cinesi e quelli pachistani: i livelli di sfruttamento sono gli stessi. Inoltre, i laboratori terzisti pachistani cuciono vestiti per ditte finali cinesi e italiane. Questo permette di capire che quello che è in atto non è uno scontro etnico, ma un’evoluzione nello sfruttamento del lavoro dove ogni imprenditore sfrutta ogni occasione per massimizzare il profitto. Pensare che si tratti di un modello cinese, inoltre, serve solo a non vedere come nel nostro Paese, da anni ormai, la difesa dei diritti dei lavoratori abbia finito per essere inusuale, inaspettata e perfino demonizzata. Diverse ricerche hanno mostrato come un costante processo di normalizzazione del lavoro precario – con la giustificazione che avrebbe favorito la ripresa dell’occupazione – ha portato a una proliferazione del lavoro povero e sfruttato. Contratti finti, che dichiarano orari di lavoro ridicoli rispetto a quelli effettivi non sono tipicamente cinesi. Paghe sempre più basse, lontane da quelle contrattuali sono la regola anche tra i giovani e meno giovani autoctoni, e ferie, malattia, e maternità sono diventati vocaboli sempre più desueti nel nostro Paese in generale, e non solo tra i lavoratori migranti.

    I cinesi hanno imparato cosa si può fare in questo Paese, lo hanno imparato così bene da dire oggi a chiare lettere – con quel cartello “Istituzioni aiuto!” – che si aspettano che il governo (locale) faccia rispettare il patto (nazionale) secondo cui i sindacati devono restare immobili e gli operai devono essere grati per avere il lavoro, non importa quanto grave sia lo sfruttamento. La cartina tornasole di questo stato di cose sta in un’azione istituzionale preoccupante: il foglio di via che la questura di Prato ha presentato ai due sindacalisti di Si Cobas che mobilitano i lavoratori pachistani in sciopero per avere un lavoro (più) dignitoso.

    #guerre_entre_pauvres #travail #exploitation #Italie #migrations #pakistanais #chinois #industrie_textile #ethnicisation_du_travail #textile #vulnérabilité #inégalités #salaire #ouvriers #précarisation #permis_de_séjour #etnicizzazione_gerarchizzata (#ethnicisation_hiéarchisée) #ethnicisation_du_travail #capitalisme #modèle_chinois #droits_des_travailleurs #working_poors #déportabilité

    ping @albertocampiphoto @wizo

  • Des millions de Chinoises abandonnées veulent retrouver leurs parents Michael Peuker/lan - 2 Décembre 2018 - RTS

    En 30 ans, des millions de petites filles chinoises ont été abandonnées, conséquence de la politique de l’enfant unique. Beaucoup d’entre elles veulent aujourd’hui retrouver leurs racines. Reportage dans le village de Zhouning, où une association tente de les réunir avec leurs parents.

    Des centaines de personnes se sont réunies un matin d’octobre dans cette petite bourgade de montagne de la province de Fujian pour tenter de retrouver un proche. 

    Entre des parents en pleurs, des volontaires distribuent des photos de jeunes femmes comportant diverses données : âge, domicile et lieu d’adoption.

    Beaucoup sont venus dans l’espoir de retrouver une fille à l’occasion de la manifestation organisée par « les filles de Changle », une association visant à réunifier les familles.

    Et parfois, cela fonctionne : sur une estrade flanquée de deux énormes haut-parleurs, un couple âgé, hagard, fait face à une jeune femme en pleurs. Tremblante et émue, Zheng Qiuqing remercie l’association. Elle vient de retrouver ses parents qu’elle a recherchés des années.

    D’autres n’ont pas cette chance. Yuan Shulan espère : « je ne sais pas si ma fille va venir ou non aujourd’hui. On me l’a enlevée à 23 jours à cause du contrôle des naissances ».

    Chen Xuxiong n’a pas non plus retrouvé ses parents. Elle sait que ses parents sont là, mais ils ne se sont pas manifestés : « J’ai envie de leur dire que je ne leur en veux pas et que j’aimerais les accompagner le reste de leur vie. Rien de plus. S’ils ont peur de se faire connaître et de me rencontrer, c’est pas grave, j’attendrai qu’ils soient prêts ». 

    Tests ADN
    A l’écart de l’estrade, des hommes grisonnants font la queue devant une petite tente. Ye Sunxiao en ressort en rabattant la manche de sa chemise : « J’ai donné mon ADN pour retrouver ma fille. Ils m’enverront un rapport sous peu. Je la cherche depuis longtemps et je vois dans ce test une vraie opportunité. Ça coûte presque 100 francs. Si ça me permet de la retrouver, c’est rien du tout. Si on ne la trouve pas, c’est une grosse perte ».

    Mr Chen a aussi fait le test : "La politique de l’enfant unique marque des années très sombres en Chine. Quelqu’un est venu prendre ma fille. L’officiel du village a menacé de démolir ma maison si je ne la donnais pas. A l’époque c’était comme ça. Ils démolissaient ta maison et t’envoyaient en prison. Ils ont aussi tenté de stériliser de force. Mais il me fallait des fils pour faire le travail. Les filles qu’on a eues, on les a abandonnées pour pouvoir continuer d’essayer d’avoir un garçon

    Contrôle des naissances
    Trafic d’être humains, avortements ou stérilisations forcées sont quelques-unes des conséquences liées au contrôle des naissances.

    Cette politique ayant été assouplie en 2015, le gouvernement tente aujourd’hui de tourner la page et soutient diverses plate-formes de recherche des familles, dont celle que préside He Zhincong : « A Zhouning, dans les années 70, 80 et 90, 6000 fillettes ont été mises en adoption. A l’époque, les gens ici étaient très pauvres. La vie était difficile. Et pour être honnête il y a aussi le poids des traditions : ici les familles valorisent les garçons, alors les filles étaient abandonnées ».

    #Chinoise #enfants #Fillettes #Femmes #Chine #enfant_unique #ADN

  • #Moose_Jaw_tunnels reveal dark tales of Canada’s past

    One of the strangest stories in 20th-century Canadian history is coming to light thanks to excavations under the streets of Moose Jaw.

    For more than 75 years, city officials denied rumours of a network of tunnels located under this sleepy city, once one of the wildest frontier towns in the Canadian West.

    Now part of the network has been restored and is open to tourists. Promoted as The Tunnels of Little Chicago, the underground maze has become the city’s most popular tourist attraction, with more than 100,000 visitors to date.

    Local researchers have interviewed many of the city’s senior citizens to get at the long-hidden truth.

    “All of the accounts agreed on the main points,” said Penny Eberle, who has been closely involved in the restoration project.

    Eberle says work on the tunnels began in about 1908 after several Chinese railway workers were savagely beaten at the CPR railyards by whites who believed the Chinese were taking their jobs.

    This was the time when Western Canada was gripped by hysteria about the “yellow peril,” and Ottawa imposed its infamous head tax on Chinese would-be immigrants.

    Terrified and unable to pay the head tax, the Chinese workers literally went underground, digging secret tunnels where they could hide until the situation improved.

    Evidence suggests the tunnels were used for many years. The railway workers managed to bring women to live with them and even raised children in rat-infested darkness.

    Access to the tunnels was gained from the basements of buildings owned by legal Chinese immigrants. The underground residents would do work for above-ground laundries and restaurants and would obtain food and other supplies in payment.

    Because the tunnels were built adjacent to heated basements, they were livable in winter.

    The tunnels acquired a whole new purpose in the 1920s, when the United States and much of Canada embarked on Prohibition.

    As a major CPR terminus linked to the United States by the Soo Line, Moose Jaw was ideally situated to become a bootlegging hub. The city’s remote location also made it a good place to escape U.S. police.

    Moose Jaw became something of a gangsters’ resort, with regular visitors from the Chicago mob.

    “They came to lay in the sun,” says Laurence (Moon) Mullin, an 89-year-old Moose Jaw resident, who worked as a messenger in the tunnels as an 11-year-old boy.

    It didn’t hurt that the entire local police force, including Chief Walter Johnson, was in cahoots with the bootleggers. Local historians say Johnson ran Moose Jaw like a personal fiefdom for 20 years, and even the mayor dared not interfere.

    Mullin liked the bootleggers who frequently paid five cents rather than four, the official price, for the newspapers he sold on a downtown corner.

    The tunnels were used for gambling, prostitution and warehousing illegal booze. Mullin says one tunnel went right under the CPR station and opened into a shed in the rail yards. It was possible to load and unload rail cars without any risk of being seen by unfriendly eyes.

    Mullin says that Chief Johnson would occasionally stop by his newspaper stand. As Johnson paid his nickel he would whisper into Mullin’s ear: “There’s going to be a big storm tonight.”

    Mullin knew what those words meant: an imminent raid by Allen Hawkes of the Saskatchewan Liquor Commission, who did not share Johnson’s tolerant attitudes.

    The boy would rush to a hidden door under the Exchange Cafe, give a secret knock, run down a tunnel to a second door, and knock again. There he would be admitted to a room full of gamblers.

    “The smoke was so thick you could have cut it with a sharp knife and brought it out in squares,” he says, chuckling. “But everyone seemed quite comfortable.”

    Some say the bootleggers strong-armed the Chinese to take over the tunnels, but Mullin denies this. He says the Chinese and bootleggers worked together.

    There are anecdotes about Al Capone himself. Moose Jaw resident Nancy Gray has written that her late father Bill Beamish, a barber, was called to the tunnels several times to cut Capone’s hair.

    Mullin says he never saw Capone but did meet Diamond Jim Brady, whom he describes as Capone’s right-hand man.

    He says Brady was always impeccably dressed in a grey suit and liked to show off the gun he wore under his armpit; the diamonds embedded in his front teeth sparkled when he smiled.

    Mullin says he and the other messenger boys got 20 cents for every errand. The gangsters didn’t allow them to touch booze but taught them how to play poker.

    “The best teachers I had in this world were those men that weren’t supposed to be any good.”

    The boys held Brady in special awe: “He’d always tell us to stay on the straight and narrow. He had eyes just like a reptile and when he looked at you he almost paralysed you. I think he was absolutely fearless.”

    Mullin says some rotgut whisky was made in Saskatchewan but all the good stuff came from the Bronfman distillery in Montreal.

    As recently as the 1970s local officials denied the existence of the tunnels, but the denials became difficult to maintain when part of Main Street collapsed, leaving an unsuspecting motorist planted in a deep hole.

    “I always said some day a truck is going to break through, and it did,” Mullin says. Guided tours of the tunnels begin daily at the Souvenir Shop, 108 Main St. N. in downtown Moose Jaw. Tours last 45 minutes and cost $7 for adults. Senior, student and child rates, as well as group rates, also offered. Wheelchair access not available. Information: (306) 693-5261

    #migrations #chinois #Canada #souterrain #sous-terre #histoire #tunnels #tourisme #dark_tourism

  • Pays longtemps fermé, la Chine est désormais ouverte malgré la persistance d’un système politique autoritaire. Elle est en outre devenue un des moteurs de l’économie mondiale.


    #chine, #chinois, #mutations, #croissance, #urbanisation, #industrialisation, #développement, #émergent, #pauvreté, #histoire, #communisme, #économie, #société, #totalitarisme, #globalisation, #ouverture, #modèle, #réforme