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JanJal (1237 posts) • 0

Interesting how high Yunnan ranks in number of foreigners. I'd guess it's due to land border with neighboring countries, and arrivals from there.

BoJoke (34 posts) • 0

Agreed. Our province bordering Vietnam, Maynmar, and Laos would in fact increase foreigners count here in Yunnan. Yet, they've always shared land borders with Yunnan, so why now? It would be interesting to see the composition of nationalities, which the latest census has yet to release.

According to Caixin Global, China's first national 10-year census started in 1953. However, only the previous census ten years ago began covering overseas residents in China.

So some context may be useful:

"The number of overseas residents in Beijing dropped from more than 107,000 in 2010 to around 62,000, while those in Shanghai fell from 208,000 to about 164,000. Guangdong, which hosted more than 316,000 overseas residents in 2010, is now home to more than 418,000 such people."


Since the latest door-to-door census was tabulated during this pandemic period, I wonder how the great exodus of foreigners from high volume expat communities of Beijing and Shanghai factored in to their sharp decline.

For Yunnan, overseas resident increased from 79,000 in 2010, to more than 379,000. An enormous 300,000 increase. This growth rate is visibly much higher than that of first place Guangdong. A steeper rate of increase compared to the rate of decline of foreign residents for both Beijing and Shanghai.

This begs the question, why the sudden draw to Yunnan over the past decade? I suspect Yunnan's relative lower cost of living, agreeable clime, and positive word of mouth from GoKunming ;)

tigertigerathome (170 posts) • 0

The increase in places like Yunnan might also be the result of more effective surveying. In our area we have had two additional household surveys, as well as the census, and I had the local PSB phone me to see if I still lived at the same address as my residence certificate. There may or may not be a connection, but there does seem to be a focus on data collection.

JanJal (1237 posts) • 0

When the census people came to our apartment, they ignored me completely, and only registered my wife, our son, and the grandmother. They didn't ask for my passport, name, or anything.

Therefore I think they got the data for foreigners (legal residents at least) readily from other systems, and only check the accuracy of that information on some occasions like Tiger described.

lemon lover (1006 posts) • 0

The explanation for the high number in Yunnan is simple. The fast majority of them are people from across the southern and western border that entered Yunnan to escape the violence in Myanmar and people from across these borders that look for better economic prospects then the ones prevailing in their area of origin.
The number of westerners in Yunnan has gone up as well in the last 10 years but is still only a small percentage of the total.

BoJoke (34 posts) • 0

Would be helpful to get hold of the composition of nationalities in Yunnan to see if lemon's theory holds true.

My limited understanding of the Myanmar situation is that Rohingya Muslims mostly fled Myanmar's ethnic cleansing in '17 to Bangladesh. During the crisis, China mostly acted as mediator advocating repatriation. Did (and would) China officially grant a safe haven in Yunnan for these Rohingya Muslims? My assumption is had these war refugees crossed into the Chinese side, for example to Ruili, the border crossing would've likely been illegal in nature, thus their foreign residency may have been off the books.

As for the more recent army coup. Rumors were Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement actually blamed China of conspiring with the military junta. Chinese factories in Myanmar's biggest city Yangon were attacked for this reason. If hearsay were true, would the Chinese government counterintuintively harbor these pro-democracy civilians with visa? This is assuming pro-military coup civilians would contently stay put in Myanmar.

lemon lover (1006 posts) • 0

Very unlikely Rohingya Muslims would be here. But there are many more groups at odds with the powers that be in Myanmar. This includes nearly all groups living near the Chinese border and include the Rakin, Shan, Wa, Lisu and ethnic Chinese that have lived for centuries in the region just across the border and as well the Kuomintang soldiers that moved to there after the communist takeover of Yunnan. Many of these groups are spread out on both side of the border and therefor it is easier.

Same applies for the border with Laos and Vietnam.

I don’t think many involved in protest against the military coup in Myanmar have left for China. Anyway the census was before the coup.

bilingualexpat (219 posts) • 0

Your assessment may be correct, lemon.

The crisis involving Rohingya refugees have dominated so much of the news headlines, many may have overlooked the plight of other ethnicity groups entrenched in Myanmar's Kachin conflicts resulting in tens of thousands of Burmese asylum seeking refugees to traverse into Yunnan in years past. If the case, the influx of Kachin refugees in Yunnan may have been included in the 2020 census, notwithstanding their obscure, legal status.

lemon lover (1006 posts) • 0

Just realised that I mixed up Rakhine and Kachin. Sorry for that. Kachin is of course the Burmese state right across the Chinese border.

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