Here’s a disturbing fact: "In the past five years, the number of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. has been on the decline, from a peak of 87,307 in 2006 to 70,863 in 2010," reports The Atlantic.
Why is that?
Some might not like what they have to say.
Winnie Yu, a manager of a Chinatown career center in San Francisco, says that her clients have been leaving in pursuit of “the Chinese Dream.”
“Now the American Dream is broken,” one of her clients told her.
The client, Shen Ming Fa, who immigrated to the U.S. in the Fall of 2010 has “mostly been unemployed, picking up part-time work when he can find it.”
“In China, people live more comfortably: in a big house, with a good job. Life is definitely better there,” he said to Yu, counting out how many people he personally knows that immigrated back to China.
But then why is there an average of 493 mass-protests in China every day due to “a deep-seated unhappiness with abuses of power and officials who see themselves as above the law.”
Some would argue that it is difficult to believe that "life is definitely better there."
Still, according to the data, there is a decline in immigration and permanent residency on the U.S.
Why? Apparently, it's because of a lack of jobs and “incentives."
Many Chinese immigrants who are educated overseas (often referred to as “sea turtles”) return to their home country for the promise of “financial aid, cash bonuses, tax breaks, and housing assistance.”
The Atlantic reports:
In 2008, Shi Yigong, a molecular biologist at Princeton, turned down a prestigious $10 million research grant to return to China and become the dean of life sciences at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. “My postdocs are getting great offers,” says Robert H. Austin, a physics professor at Princeton.
And this recent trend of moving back to China is not exclusive to the educated as "unskilled laborers are going back, too."
According to the report, smaller Chinatowns have been emptying out for years. The 2010 U.S. census results revealed a steady decline in San Francisco’s Chinatown as well as a 9 percent decrease in Manhattan Chinatown’s population.
The article claims that the rise of China as an economic powerhouse, along with the slowing of immigration, may guarantee the disappearance of U.S. Chinatowns. Indeed, a Chinese economic boom would explain the 14 percent decline in America's Asian population. They are simply going where there is work and money.
Furthermore, if the rise of the Chinese economy continues, writes The Atlantic's Bonnie Tsui, "Chinatowns will lose their reason for being, as vital ports of entry for working-class immigrants. These workers will have better things to do than come to America.
However, there is something odd about this whole story. Given the widespread and well-documented discontent among Chinese workers, the aforementioned "financial aid, cash bonuses, tax breaks, and housing assistance” would have to be extraordinarily enticing to lure Chinese immigrants back home.
- Since 2003, house prices in China have tripled
- There are nearly 500 million who live on less than $2 a day
Not to mention some of these problems:
- Around 140 million farmers have had their land forcibly seized by the government in the past 17 years
- 16,810 Chinese coal miners have died in accidents in the past five years
Moreover, there are numerous reports that China's elite wealthy, almost 60 percent, intend to migrate from China, with 40 percent claiming that the U.S. was their first choice, according to a report jointly released by the Hurun Report, which also publishes an annual China rich list, and the Bank of China.
"A separate study by U.S.-based Bain & Company and China Merchants Bank in April of 2,600 high-net worth individuals . . . found that about 60 percent of those interviewed had completed immigration applications to other countries or had plans to do so," reports Asia Times.
Here's a thought: perhaps Chinese immigrants in America actually believe that conditions are better in Communist China while those who are actually over there, the wealthy "leading better lives," see conditions for what they are and they are trying to get out as fast as possible.
If this is true, and conditions are indeed bad enough to spark a mass exodus of the wealthy, then who is telling Chinese immigrants in the U.S. that conditions in China are better than in America?