Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year! It's the Year of the Snake

Chinese New Year is Finally here! 2013 is the Year of the Snake! This means anyone born in the year of the snake will wear something red (bracelet, necklace, underwear and whatnot) all year round to attract good luck.

This festival will be celebrated over 15days and will be concluded with the lantern festival. I will be taking part in the festivities in Toronto. Hmm I if the shops in China town will be closed during the entire celebration.

If you happen to be in China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and other countries where the Lunar New Year is celebrated, please do make sure you take in as much of the festivities as you can!

Congratulations! Gōngxǐ gōngxǐ (恭喜恭喜)
Happy New Year! Xīnnián kuàilè (新年快乐)

To read about what I wrote last year about the few things I learned about Chinese New Year, please visit my blog post here

Friday, February 08, 2013

Are there a lot of Black People in China?

Yes! a lot, a whole lot! I mean there are so many Black people in China that a major commercial city in the country is referred to as "Chocolate City" due to it's large population of Africans in the city. The Canton city of Guangzhou is considered to have the largest population of Africans in Asia.
About how many Black people are there in China?
Truth be told, no one knows. In Guangzhou alone, there are about 20,000 registered Africans living in the city, but then when you add the majority who have overstayed their visas and are stuck in the country, the numbers quickly add up to well over 200,000.
 Now, lets add up the entire black population in the country, which includes students, diplomats, business men and women, children and tourists. But wait, there's an important cohort we almost left out, which is sadly, Black men and women in Prison. There are sadly tens of thousands (again, the exact number is unknown) of Black people who were locked behind bars for one reason or the other.

So if we include our locked up brothers and sisters, the combined population of Blacks in the city can be as close to half a million.

This is not to say that you'll see Black people on every street corner when you go to China. China is a huge country with almost 2billion people, so half a million is a small fraction of 2billion, which means that many Chinese are still yet to see one of us face to face or even come close to us. Even though I lived in Beijing, I still had locals, including my neighbors point and giggle each time I walked past them. Sometimes I felt like I was living in a small village where I was the only minority.

By Blacks, I mean anyone with an African descent, including those with mixed ethnicity.

Now, how are Blacks perceived and treated in China is a completely different story which will be discussed in a later post.

So, If you have been thinking of visiting or living in China but haven't gone because you're afraid there might not be a lot of  people like you around and even worry you might be treated like an Alien. Well, let me just tell you that there are loads and loads of people like you there, as long as you're in a metropolitan city.