Migration and Diasporas
The number of Chinese migrants and their descendants in France rises continuously in France and especially in the Parisian area. Their diversity is striking as these persons arrived in France from different regions, during different periods, for different motives and have now achieved different social, economic or legal status (ranking from well-established and wealthy entrepreneurs to undocumented migrants, from recently arrived migrants to offspring of migrant with French citizenship). Nevertheless, French administrations and many locals largely consider them as members of a unique and homogenous community, which also represents the fifth largest group of immigrants in France.
In the recent years, different actors have undertaken some public protests in order to give more visibility to their experiences or to defend their rights. In 2010, 2011 and 2016, important demonstrations denounced the insecurity of Chinese or Asian persons in some Paris working class areas and some workers went on strike to protest against forms of exploitation in their workplaces. Their claims range from individual working conditions to the denunciation of a new form of racism targeting Asians. These initiatives break with the taken for granted image of Chinese as hardworking, quiet and low profile ethnic group and with the idea of a model minority, imported from the United States. On the contrary, while denouncing different forms of vulnerability, it puts forward a more unconventional idea of assertive and claiming Chinese actors or community.
Some French or Chinese Medias immediately focused on these mobilizations, reporting some damages and misbehaviors during public protests as new interethnic tensions opposing Chinese to Black and Arab origin populations. Political authorities in France as well as the Chinese embassy have also reacted to these initiatives, trying to propose a specific interpretation and sometime to take advantage of these public mobilizations.
Based on five empirical case studies, this panel aims to provide insights into these new forms of public and political mobilizations on behalf of the Chinese in France. The confrontation of anthropological, sociological and political science perspectives will create a simulating space to understand how these new and plural ethnic voices may reach the public debate.