Monday, May 8, 2017

Douglas Todd: Vancouver is the most 'Chinese' city outside China


Douglas Todd: Vancouver is the most 'Chinese' city outside China



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Image result for chinese overcrowding Vancouver
Image result for chinese overcrowding Vancouver
Related imageWhat is the significance of Metro Vancouver becoming the most “Asian” city outside Asia?
Image result for chinese overcrowding Vancouver markets
Related image
Image result for chinese overcrowding Vancouver markets



Image result for chinese crowding Vancouver
Image result for chinese crowding Vancouver
Related image
Forty-three per cent of Metro Vancouver residents have Chinese heritage, which is a much higher proportion than any other major city outside the continent of Asia.
Based on Statistics Canada reports, the number of those with Chinese roots in Metro Vancouver will continue to grow at a faster rate than the non-Chinese population.
Around the globe, the only major cities outside China {*with more than 1.2 million residents} that come close to Metro Vancouver for their portion of residents with Chinese backgrounds are San Francisco (33 per cent Asian), London, England (21 per cent), Metro Toronto (35 per cent), Calgary (23 per cent) and Sydney, Australia (19 per cent).
Observers from China and non-Asian backgrounds predict that as a result of Metro Vancouver’s unique demographics, residents should expect more changes; adjustments that will create challenges, as well as tension and difficulties.
These cultural analysts foresee an accelerating rise of Asian-oriented restaurants, retail outlets, artistic events, religions, community service organizations, schools, neighbourhood enclaves, family-reunification programs, signage, international business partnerships, corporate customs and Asian-language newspapers and TV stations.
The loosely associated Asian cohort in Metro Vancouver consists of  people rooted in South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Vietnam, Singapore, Afghanistan, Lebanon and elsewhere.

immigrant growth metro 9 of 10
Nine out of 10 newcomers to Metro Vancouver between 2001 and 2011 were born outside the country. In addition, Statistics Canada reports that 70 per cent of all recent immigrants to Metro Vancouver have origins in Asia.

The other large cities of the Pacific Northwest do not come close to Metro Vancouver for the proportion of people with backgrounds in Asia.
In Victoria, just 11 per cent of the population has Asian heritage. In Seattle, the proportion is 13 per cent and in Portland it’s eight per cent.
An analysis of Statistics Canada reports show the percentage of those with Asian heritages will continue to grow rapidly across Metro Vancouver, a region that has doubled in population in just 30 years.
One Statistics Canada report, released in February, shows Metro was the third fastest-growing city behind Toronto and Montreal in Canada between 2001 and 2011.
Another report reveals the lion’s share of Metro’s population expansion is new immigrants.
Nine out of 10 newcomers to Metro Vancouver between 2001 and 2011 were born outside the country. In addition, Statistics Canada reports that 70 per cent of all recent immigrants to Metro Vancouver have origins in Asia.
Meanwhile, 19 per cent of new immigrants in the city have European ethnic heritage, while small portions have roots in Latin America or Africa.
What does this rising influence of people with Asian backgrounds — speaking a variety of languages and following many different national customs — mean for Metro?
I posed that question to three veteran observers of immigration and cultural trends.
Farid Rohani, who leads the Vancouver-based Laurier Institute, an organization devoted to exploring the pros and cons of multiculturalism, believes there should be economic benefits to high immigration from Asia, and he hopes the city will become more dynamic as it also adopts a “pan-Asian culture.”

Farid Rohani, born in Iran, believes many immigrants must put more effort into integrating into Metro Vancouver culture, since for the most part they have been able to leave behind Asian countries buffetted by instability, pollution and often low wages.
Farid Rohani, of the Laurier Institution, believes many immigrants must put more effort into integrating into Metro Vancouver culture, since for the most part they have benefited from leaving behind Asian countries buffeted by instability, pollution and low wages.

Rohani, however, believes many immigrants must put more effort into integrating into Metro Vancouver culture, since for the most part they have been able to leave behind Asian countries with distressed “political conditions, pollution, instability, security, ethnic issues and economic matters, including low wages.”
Iranian-born Rohani, a successful importer-exporter specializing in Asian goods, worries members of some large Asian ethnic groups isolate themselves by forming cultural, language and moral silos, which work against the principles of liberal democracy.
“The abuse of the multiculturalism act and misunderstanding of its intentions have led to the creation of silos,” said Rohani. “This must change and it must be led by (religious organizations) and settlement agencies explaining what it means to be a Canadian and the need to integrate and not keep separate.”
Regent College professor Edwin Hui, who came to Vancouver from Hong Kong 43 years ago, say high Asian immigration has brought gains and challenges to the city.
Hui, who specializes in ethics and culture, imagines the city developing an eclectic new Asian Town that would showcase the Asian products and customs of countries such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and elsewhere.
On the down side of the demographic transformation, Hui said he has noted tensions between the formerly European-oriented host culture of Metro Vancouver and some Asian newcomers, particularly the wealthy. There has also been conflict, he says, among Asian ethno-cultural groups themselves.
Even though some ethnic Chinese people in Metro Vancouver are debating Canada’s century-old head tax on temporary migrant workers, Hui said: “On the other hand, in the ’80s many Hong Kong newcomers cut down all the cedar trees in their front yards and more recently the newcomers from Mainland China (have included) young members driving BMWs … while their parents spend most of their waking hours buying high-end real estate online.”

Edwin Hui
The most “fascinating” inter-Asian tension for Edwin Hui in Metro Vancouver is the ‘one between mainland Chinese and Hong Kong Chinese. These divisions exist everywhere: from within the Christian church to ping-pong tournaments in community centres in Vancouver.”

Saying tensions among new Asian ethnic groups are to be expected, Hui said: “In a way, new immigrants bring their rivalries with them: Chinese versus Korean; Chinese versus Japanese; Chinese-plus-Korean versus Japanese; Hong Kong versus Filipino; Chinese versus Vietnamese, and so on.
“The most fascinating tension, for me anyway, is the one between mainland Chinese and Hong Kong Chinese. These divisions exist everywhere: from within the Christian church to ping-pong tournaments in community centres in Vancouver.”
Canadian scholar Ludovic Rheault, an expert in politics and immigration, echoes Rohani’s concern that the difficulty many Asian newcomers have learning English could set back economic and cultural integration in Metro Vancouver.
More than 30 per cent of immigrants to B.C. do not speak English, says Rheault. And many come without recognized skills. In 2012, B.C. had the largest proportion of permanent residents admitted solely through family reunification (33 per cent to 25 per cent for Canada as a whole).
“The impact of Asian immigrants on Vancouver’s economy depends on the mix of skills they introduce into the city’s labour force,” said Rheault, who obtained his PhD from the University of Montreal. He’s not yet convinced Metro Vancouver has found the best blend.
On the optimistic side, however, Rheault wonders if the recent influx of highly educated immigrants from Asia could contribute to Metro Vancouver developing high-income jobs, especially in technology.
“This sort of pattern has been observed in the Bay area’s technology hub, the Silicon Valley” around San Francisco.
Overall, Rheault joins Rohani and Hui in holding onto hope there will ultimately be benefits from Metro Vancouver being the most Asian city outside Asia. Yet Rheault says “nothing guarantees that the economic and cultural integration of Vancouver’s Asian communities will go smoothly.”
Despite his concerns, Hui believes any cultural tensions that exist in Metro Vancouver because of high Asian immigration are the understandable “growing pains in the development of a great city.”
While Rohani acknowledges high immigration rates place burdens on the city’s infrastructure, he holds onto his dream that the strong “Asian population will in the end make Vancouver a much more cosmopolitan and culturally rich city.”