unit banner

Unit 4: Nationalism, Industrialism, and Imperialism

Lesson D: Western Trade Opens Chinese Doors

Activity 5: Chinese Diaspora

By examining the map of the people of Chinese ancestry in the world today, you should notice that there are large concentrations of those with Chinese ancestry in North America, South Africa, and Southeast Asia. In the 19th century, many Chinese left China to pursue advanced education or economic opportunities in other countries. Some were sent away by the government to learn about other cultures as part of the Self-Strengthening Movement. These Chinese returned to China and often brought their ideas of Western democracy and economics which transformed Chinese government. Others reacted against the economic and internal unrest in China and sought new opportunities in new places. In some places today, such as Singapore, almost half of the population is of Chinese ancestry while in places like the United States, the percentage is less than one percent.