Photo: janoma.cl on flickr
Chinatowns around America have shrunk during the past decade, and Chinese immigration has declined since 2006.Why?
Because Chinese think the American Dream is dead.
(Or, more pertinently, has moved to China.)
The Atlantic’s Bonnie Tsui talked to a few people at a career centre in San Francisco’s Chinatown to get a sense of the exodus. Of course it is centered around jobs.
Lately, [Career Counselor] Yu has been seeing a shift; rather than coming, her clients have been going—in pursuit of what might be called the Chinese Dream.
“Now the American Dream is broken,” [Chinese immigrant] Shen tells me one evening at the career centre, his fingers drumming restlessly on the table; he speaks mostly in Mandarin, and Yu helps me translate. Shen has mostly been unemployed, picking up part-time work when he can find it. Back in China, he worked as a veterinarian and at a school of traditional Chinese culture. “In China, people live more comfortably: in a big house, with a good job. Life is definitely better there.” On his fingers, he counts out several people he knows who have gone back since he came to the United States. When I ask him if he thinks about returning to China, he glances at his daughter, who is sitting nearby, then looks me in the eye. “My daughter is thriving,” he says, carefully. “But I think about it every day.”
Read a full discussion of migrant flows at The Atlantic.
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