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The Chinatown in Peru and the Changing Peruvian Chinese Community(ies)1

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image of Journal of Chinese Overseas

The Chinese quarter established in Lima shortly after the arrival in 1849 of Chinese indentured laborers, mainly from the Guangdong province, has gone through significant changes during its long history. Perhaps the more significant of these have occurred since the last two decades with a new influx of Chinese immigrants mostly of Fujian origin. Instead of reinforcing the Chinese community the coexistence of the old and new Chinese has led to fragmentation, competition and increasing social tension in the Chinese community in Peru, not least in redefining the Huiguan’s role. Competition has intensified not only in terms of pricing but also looking for commercial space (stores and warehouses). Wholesale importers of Chinese manufactured goods, restaurateurs, hoteliers and spa managers have extended their businesses beyond the old limits of Lima’s Chinatown. Does this spell the end of Chinatown or the beginning of multiple Chinese quarters?


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