Chinese Peruvian

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Chinese Peruvian
Total population
600.000 - 1.300.000
2-3% of the Peruvian population[1][2]
Regions with significant populations
Lima, Huacho, Ica, Piura, Huancayo, Cusco, Moyobamba, Tarapoto, Iquitos.
Spanish, Mandarin, Hakka, Cantonese, Hokkien, others
Roman Catholicism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion
Related ethnic groups
Asian Latin American, Asian Peruvian
Chinese Peruvian
Traditional Chinese 秘魯華僑華人
Simplified Chinese 秘鲁华侨华人
Chinese 土生
Literal meaning Local-born

Chinese Peruvians, also known as tusán (a loanword from Chinese 土生 pinyin: tǔ shēng, jyutping: tou2 saang1 "local born", but potentially from 台山 Cantonese: Toisan, pinyin: Táishān, jyutping: toi4 saan1, referring to the Cantonese town of Taishan in the Guangdong province of China, where much of the Chinese immigration to north and South America originated), are people of Overseas Chinese ancestry born in Peru, or who have made Peru their adopted homeland.

Most Chinese Peruvians are multilingual. In addition to Spanish or Quechua, many of them speak one or more Chinese dialects that may include Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, and Minnan (Hokkien). Since the first Chinese immigrants came from Macau, some of them also speak Portuguese. In Peru, Asian Peruvians are estimated to be at least 5% of the population.[3] One source places the number of citizens with some Chinese ancestry at 1.300.000, which equates to 2% of the country's total population.[4]


Early history[edit]

Asian slaves who were shipped from the Spanish Philippines in the Manila-Acapulco galleons to Acapulco were all called "Chino" which meant Chinese, although in reality they were of diverse origins, including Japan, Malaysia, The Phillipines, Java, Timor, and people from Bengal, India, Ceylon, Makassar, Tidore, Terenate, and China.[5][6][7][8] Filipinos made up most of their population.[9] The people in this community of diverse Asians in Mexico was called "los indios chinos" by the Spanish.[10] Most of these slaves were male and were obtained from Portuguese slave traders who obtained them from Portuguese colonial possessions and outposts of the Estado da India, which included parts of India, Bengal, Malacca, Indonesia, Nagasaki in Japan, and Macau.[11][12] Spain received some of these Chino slaves from Mexico,where owning a Chino slave showed high status.[13] Records of three Japanese slaves dating from the 16th century, named Gaspar Fernandes, Miguel and Ventura who ended up in Mexico showed that they were purchased by Portuguese slave traders in Japan, brought to Manila from where they were shipped to Mexico by their owner Perez.[14][15][16] Some of these Asian slaves were also brought to Lima in Peru, where it was recorded that in 1613 there was a small community of Asians made out of Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Malays, Cambodians and others.[17][18][19][20]

Chinese immigrants, who in the 19th century took a four-month trip from Macau (then a Portuguese territory), settled as contract laborers or "coolies". Other Chinese coolies from Guangdong followed.

One hundred thousand Chinese contract laborers, 95% of which were Cantonese and almost all of which were male, were sent mostly to the sugar plantations from 1849 to 1874 during the termination of slavery. They were to provide continuous labor for the coastal guano mines and especially for the coastal plantations where they became a major labor force (contributing greatly to the Peruvian Guano Boom) until the end of the century. While the coolies were believed to be reduced to virtual slaves, they also represented a historical transition from slave to free labor.

Another group of Chinese settlers came after the founding of Sun Yat-sen's republic in 1912 World War II, and the establishment of Communist rule in 1949.

In 1957 Cantonese speakers constituted 85 per cent of the total Chinese immigrant population, the rest of whom were Hakka speakers.[21]

Modern-day immigration[edit]

Recent Chinese immigrants settled in Peru from Hong Kong and, again, Macau because of fear of their return to Communist rule in 1997 and 1999, while others have come from other places in mainland China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asian Chinese communities, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Many Chinese Indonesians came to Peru after anti-Chinese riots and massacres in those countries in the 1960s, 1970s, and late 1990s. These recent Chinese immigrants make Peru the home of the largest ethnic Chinese community in Latin America.


Many Chinese Peruvians left Peru in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of them headed to the United States, where they were called Chinese Americans or Peruvian Americans of Chinese descent, while others went to Canada, Spain, mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, or New Zealand.[citation needed]

Role in the economy[edit]

After their contracts ended, many of them adopted the last name of their patrons (one of the reasons that many Chinese Peruvians carry Spanish last names). Some freed coolies (and later immigrants) established many small businesses. These included chifas (Chinese-Peruvian restaurants - the word is derived from Cantonese 饎飯 (Jyutping:ci3 faan6) which means "to eat rice or to have a meal." Calle Capón, Lima's Chinatown, also known as Barrio Chino de Lima, became one of the Western Hemisphere's earliest Chinatowns. The Chinese coolies married Peruvian women, and many Chinese Peruvians today are of mixed Chinese, Spanish, and African or Native American descent. Chinese Peruvians also assisted in the building of railroad and development of the Amazon Rainforest, where they tapped rubber trees, washed gold, cultivated rice, and traded with the natives. They even became the largest foreign colony in the Amazon capital of Iquitos by the end of the century.

Prominent Chinese Peruvians[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ (10/08) U.S. Department of State
  3. ^ Peru (10/08), U.S. Department of State
  4. ^
  5. ^ Walton Look Lai, Chee Beng Tan, ed. (2010). The Chinese in Latin America and the Caribbean (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 12. ISBN 9004182136.  See page 12. Retrieved 2015-02-25.
  6. ^ María Herrera-Sobek, ed. (2012). Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Cultural Traditions, Volume 1 (illustrated ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 59. ISBN 031334339X. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  7. ^ Wolfgang Binder, ed. (1993). Slavery in the Americas. Volume 4 of Studien zur "Neuen Welt" (illustrated ed.). Königshausen & Neumann. p. 100. ISBN 3884797131. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  8. ^ Arnold J. Meagher (2008). The Coolie Trade: The Traffic in Chinese Laborers to Latin America 1847-1874. Arnold J Meagher. p. 194. ISBN 1436309433. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  9. ^ James W. Russell (2009). Class and Race Formation in North America (illustrated, reprint ed.). University of Toronto Press. p. 27. ISBN 0802096786. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  10. ^ Claudia Paulina Machuca Chávez (Fall–Winter 2009). "El alcalde de los chinos en la provincia de Colima durante el siglo xvii" (PDF). Letras Históricas (in Spanish) (Ciesas Occidente) (Núm. 1): 95–116. 
  11. ^ Déborah Oropeza Keresey (July–September 2011). "La Esclavitud Asiática en El Virreinato de La Nueva España, 1565-1673" (PDF). Historia Mexicana (in Spanish) (El Colegio de México) LXI (núm. 1): 20–21. 
  12. ^ Déborah Oropeza (Fall–Winter 2009). "Ideas centrales en torno a la esclavitud asiática en la Nueva España" (PDF). Historia Mexicana (in Spanish) (Encuentro de Mexicanistas 2010 (La esclavitud asiática en el virreinato de la Nueva España, 1565-1673)) (Núm. 1): 2. 
  13. ^ Walton Look Lai, Chee Beng Tan, ed. (2010). The Chinese in Latin America and the Caribbean (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 13. ISBN 9004182136. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  14. ^ The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network (May 14, 2013). "Japanese slaves taken to Mexico in 16th century". Asiaone News. 
  15. ^ Torres, Ida (May 14, 2013). "Records show Japanese slaves crossed the Pacific to Mexico in 16th century". Japan Daily Press. 
  16. ^ Phro, Preston (May 15, 2013). "To Mexico in Chains: The Tale of Three 16th Century Japanese Slaves". Rocket News 24. 
  17. ^ Leslie Bethell (1984). Leslie Bethell, ed. The Cambridge History of Latin America. Volume 2 of The Cambridge History of Latin America: Colonial Latin America. I-II (illustrated, reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0521245168. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  18. ^ Ignacio López-Calvo (2013). The Affinity of the Eye: Writing Nikkei in Peru. Fernando Iwasaki. University of Arizona Press. p. 134. ISBN 0816599874. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  19. ^ Dirk Hoerder (2002). Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium. Andrew Gordon, Alexander Keyssar, Daniel James. Duke University Press. p. 200. ISBN 0822384078. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  20. ^ Fernando Iwasaki Cauti (2005). Extremo Oriente y el Perú en el siglo XVI. Volume 12 of Colección Orientalia (illustrated ed.). Fondo Editorial PUCP. p. 293. ISBN 9972426718. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  21. ^ Chinese in Bridge, Volume 3
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^, Las Falcas distillery homepage
  25. ^ Dirección Regional de Cultura de Ayacucho, "Nota de Prensa No. 01: Dirección Regional de Cultura de Ayacucho Celebra 35 Años de Creación" (8 Nov. 20120) (Entry retrieved 9 December 2012.)
  26. ^ Official Slain in Peru New York Times 2 December 1982. (Online, entry retrieved 9 December 2012)
  27. ^ Business, Family, and Personal Philanthropy in Peru, China, and the United States
  28. ^ The San Francisco Chronicle: Obituary - VARGAS, Isabel

Further reading[edit]

  • De Trazegnies Granda, Fernando (1994), En el país de las colinas de arena: reflexiones sobre la inmigración china en el Perú del S. XIX desde la perspectiva del derecho, Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, ISBN 978-84-89309-82-1, OCLC 31349975 
    • Translated into Chinese as 竹碧 [Zhu Bi]; 腊梅 [La Mei] (1999), 《沙国之梦:契约华工在秘鲁的命运》, 世界知识出版社 [World Affairs Press], ISBN 978-7-5012-1182-1, OCLC 237047875 
  • López-Calvo, Ignacio, Dragons in the Land of the Condor: Writing Tusán in Peru (University of Arizona Press, 2014) 
  • López-Calvo, Ignacio (Spring 2008), Hu-deHart, Evelyn; López, Kathy, eds., "Sino-Peruvian identity and community as prison: Siu Kam Wen’s rendering of self-exploitation and other survival strategies", Afro-Hispanic Review 27 (1): 73–90 
  • Lausent-Herrera, Isabelle. "The Chinese in Peru and the Changing Peruvian Chinese Community(ies)." In Journal of Chinese Overseas, 7(2011), pp. 69–113. Available online.

External links[edit]

  •, Asociación Peruano China (Web official)