GoKunming Forums

How many foreigners are left?

JR305 (5 posts) • +1

I lived in Kunming for a few years and left in August of 2020. Just curious what percentage of foreigners are still left from pre-pandemic times (of course there aren't official statistics but just a rough estimate would do). For those of you that are still there, what made you stay?

livinginchina (232 posts) • 0

When I went to get my vaccine shot, there was a bunch of foreigners. 20-30. How many are left? Who knows. I'm still here because airlines tickets are too expensive for my wife (Kunming native) and I. We are planning to go to America next year if things improve.

JanJal (1243 posts) • +2

Indeed nobody (except PSB) would know exactly, but probably won't have public data until next national census?

Should probably factor in that beside CoVid-19 there may be other reasons (for-profit education crackdown for example) that contributes to some foreigners choosing to leave, while the pandemic simultaneously making some unable to leave despite wanting - as demonstrated in above comment.

So even if there were solid figures, interpreting those might be non-trivial. If looking for reasons at all that is.

tigertigerathome (172 posts) • +1

I saw a recent news report that said that an estimated 50% of expats have left China since the outbreak of Covid, which is believable.

Personally, I know people who went home for Christmas 2019 and could not re-enter China due to covid restrictions. One friend was lucky in that both his Chinese wife and son were with him at the time and they are still together making a new life in the UK, even though that was not their immediate plan at the time. Others were separated from family in China at the time.
Then there are those would-be students of Chinese who could not come here to study; students were a noticable part of the expat community around town.
Then there is the normal churn of teachers etc. who finished their contracts and went home, but were not replaced by new recruits due to visa and border restrictions related to Covid.
There is also the clamp down and new regulations on private schools mentioned by another poster. There are language mills, tutors for core subjects, and I also know of missionaries who could not get visa renewals for thier 'teaching' businesses.
There may also be people in the F&B industry, which was very badly hit by Covid, who could not get their contracts renewed (effectively laid off) and so could not get a visa.
I am also guessing that some people returned home to be with loved ones, either because of a family illness or that the families just wanted them home.
In short, there are many reasons why there are a lot less foriegners in Kunming, and China in general.

lemon lover (1006 posts) • +1

In this whole discussion a classical mistake is made. Yes a lot of foreigners with a western origin left. But most of the foreigners in Yunnan are not western but of East Asian origin and even ethnical Chinese. A lot of western expats left because their jobs are no longer available (education) and a lot of them had no intention to stay long time in China anyway so given the present day conditions they left and didn’t return.
Most foreigners in Yunnan live in the border area and are from Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. I presume that most of them are still there.
So the change caused by Covid and the restrictions related to jobs in education mainly effected western foreigners. It effected the inflow of people to do education here as well so a significant drop in students.
Therefor statistically the drop in “foreigners” will be only minimal while the drop in those that stand out as “foreigners” like western teachers and African students might be considerable.

livinginchina (232 posts) • 0

@lemon lover. That's true. When I went for my vaccine shots, there were Koreans and Japanese getting the shots too. I'm sure Filipinos too.

hehehe (27 posts) • -7
Comment hidden by user downvote Click to expand

I guess with "foreigners" you're mainly talking about westerners? Coz 95% of all the long-term foreigners living in China are not westerners, and most of them are still here. They couldn't afford fancy beach holidays in Thailand pre-covid either, so post-covid restrictions doesn't really affect their incentives in any way.

bucko (695 posts) • +1

We have been locked out and can't return o Kunming since Jan 2020 when we had to return to the US because of my Dad's passing. Still waiting to return to our home in Kunming when we are allowed.

MrPink (25 posts) • 0

If you walk down the street and some Chinese kid (or adult) points at you and says 'foreigner', then you are a foreigner. If not, then you are just another face in the crowd. Sorry to be so blunt.

CaeruleusCaeruleus (51 posts) • 0

@lemon lover even the Myanmar migrant workers in the border regions have been locked out of the country. Most are on temporary labourer visas and have been completely shut out since all this began.

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