Chinatowns in the Middle East
Cover of sheet music, published in 1910
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Chinese immigration to the world has traditionally been to the United States, Canada, Australasia, and Europe. However, migration to the Middle East is a recent occurrence that has very little documentation, with Dubai and Iran having some references, and more recently, northern Iraq.
The Chinese in Algeria are a group of Chinese nationals numbering an estimated 40,000 people, most of whom live in the Bab Ezzouar district of Algiers. According to the BBC, in 2009, there have been clashes between them and the local population over the high unemployment and the fact that these migrant workers would often accept low wages, fueling tensions.
Cairo and Alexandria
Chinese people in Egypt form one of the smaller groups of overseas Chinese, numbering about 6,000 - 10,000 situated mainly in Cairo and Alexandria. Many who are drawn to this country are Chinese Muslims.
Ties between China and Iraq date back only to 1958 and was only strengthened after the Persian Gulf War. After the 2003 Iraq War, China came out as the big winner with Iraq's oil contracts. After the war, the city of Baghdad had only one Chinese restaurant. As of 2011, 500 Chinese nationals live in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah.
Baghdad Chinese history
Baghdad, the capital of Iraq was home to only one authentic Chinese restaurant in 2006 when the country was getting back to a sense of "normalcy". A man by the name Chen Xianzhong opened up the restaurant near the National Theater that eventually branched out and had a hotel was the only place in the city that served authentic Chinese food, although there were Iraqi versions of the restaurants in the larger hotels. After a suicide bomber blew up a car near his restaurant and when his chefs quit after being kidnapped, he eventually fled to the northern Kurdish section of the country where it was safer. In 2008, ABC News reported that Baghdad once again got its "first" Chinese restaurant in the upscale neighborhood of the Korrada District.
According to an article from Al Jazeera, Iraq's northern city of Sulaimaniyah in Kurdistan is attracting much foreign investment. According to this article, about 500 Chinese live in Sulaimaniyah of about 750,000 population. The Chinese market is located in the Kawa Mall.
Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities
Chinese people have immigrated to Israel in several separate groups, which include Jews from China and students studying in Israeli universities, as well as guest workers. Many of these laborers face deportation due to their illegal status. According to the article, the government of Israel has contradictory policies that encourage their presence, while at the same time imposing tighter restrictions on their visas and employability.
According to the Desert Diaries, the "Chinatown Shopping Center" in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is located at Amir al Sultaan St., and features oriental styled architecture and will feature various retail and shopping.
United Arab Emirates
The Dubai Chinatown is a Chinese-themed shopping mall anchored by Dragon Mart is typically "crammed" with thousands of shoppers on Fridays, according to the Gulf News article. According to Time Out Dubai, about 5000 Chinese people live and work in Dubai's International City which is home to 3000 Chinese companies in Nasr Square.
- "China: An Emerging Destination for Economic Migration".
- "Chinese migrants in Algiers clash". BBC News. 2009-08-04.
- "伊朗国内局势稳定 人们不太相信会爆发战争/Iran's domestic situation stable; people don't really think war will break out", Xinhua News, 2007-02-08, retrieved 2009-04-27
- Smith, Craig S. (2006-01-10). "In Baghdad, Chinese is takeout only". The New York Times.
- "Dining Out on Chinese in Baghdad".
- "Northern Iraq's budding Chinatown".
- Levin, Dan (2010-07-04). "Israel Grows Uneasy Over Reliance on Migrant Labor". The New York Times.
- "Chinatown Shopping Center, Jeddah KSA".
- "It's business as usual at Dubai's 'Chinatown'".
- "Does Dubai have a China Town?".