Chinese & Indian Tamil Diaspora : Which immigrants cause more trouble
Posted on April 17th, 2016

Shenali D Waduge

Over the years Indians and Chinese have migrated or were forcibly taken to work on foreign shores during colonial rule. Millions of these transported Indians and Chinese live in all corners of the world and are now treated as natives of these nations though their roots return to India or China. Tamils are today dispersed across 50 countries of the world including Sri Lanka. However, it is curious that most of the troubles created over the years come from Indians and in particular the Tamils who are living overseas.

Chinese in US

There are approximately 3.79million Chinese living in the US of which 2.2million were born in China (source UN Dept of Economic & Social Affairs). More than half of Chinese immigrants (53 percent) arrived prior to 2000, followed by 30 percent who arrived between 2000 and 2009, and 17 percent in 2010 or later.The 3 metropolitan areas where these Chinese are most found are Greater New York with 735,019 people, San Jose-San Francisco with 629,243 people and Greater Los Angelese with 566,968 people. Since 2000, unauthorized immigration from Asia has grown at rates much faster than from Mexico and Central America.

The first wave of Chinese to US came in 1850s (some 300,000 entered during this period) until 30 years later the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 restricted arrivals. This law was repealed in 1943. The next wave of Chinese came in late 1970s. Chinese immigrants are the 3rd largest foreign-born group in the US after Mexicans and Indians.

Chinese immigrants had much higher incomes compared to the total foreign- and native-born populations. The Chinese diaspora population in the United States is comprised of approximately 4.4 million individuals who were either born in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan, or reported Chinese or Taiwanese ancestry or race, according to tabulations from the U.S. Census Bureau. Global remittances sent to China via formal channels equaled nearly $60 billion in 2013.

Chinese in other parts of the world

The estimated Chinese population in Europe is about 2.15 million

  • 630,000 in UK
  • Australia 866,200
  • Canada 1,487,580
  • South Africa 350,000
  • France 700,000
  • Africa 1million
  • 156,170 Chinese people living in Central America

The first noteworthy Chinese migration was to Japan, Cambodia, and Vietnam as a result of China’s conquest by the Mongols in 1276.

An estimated 1.5 million of the 11.5 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States in 2013 were from Asian countries, with India accounting for the fastest growing group of undocumented Asian immigrants. The most recent Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners found that Asian immigrants owned 1.5 million businesses, which had total sales and receipts of $506 billion and employed 208 million people in 2007.

The Chinese Diaspora which numbers 55 million contributes almost 60% of China’s total foreign direct investment, while Indians with 20 million contribute less than 10 %. India receives almost $14 billion a year in official remittances and this money has played a significant role in-India’s $80 billion foreign reserve. There are 200,000 Indian millionaires in the US (Merrill Lynch figures).

It is said that by 1800 India’s population was 185million. From 1834 to the end of the WWI, Britain had transported over 3 million Indian indentured workers to 19 colonies. The calculated emigration of Dalits from India is very much similar to the manner the British got rid of its convicts by sending them to America and Australia and will be no different if the road/rail connection to Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu materializes. The early settlement patterns of the Tamils could be traced to the sugar cane plantations of Mauritius, Reunion in the Indian Ocean; Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean; Guyana and Suriname in South America; plantations in South Africa; Rubber estates and the Railways in the Federated Malay States – FMS – (Malaysia); Coffee and Tea estates in Ceylon (Sri Lanka); and to coal mines of New Caledonia off Australia in the Pacific Ocean.

None of the countries to which these Tamils were transported during colonial rule wanted them or even asked for them. Britain as invading occupiers of lands that were not their own were doling out land to these Tamil laborers as if the lands belonged to them. The British have much to answer for and it is the British that should be solving the problems the British have created without forcing other nations to be saddled with the problem.  

That is how Indians came to be part of the demography in the West Indies, South Africa and parts of Asia to which the British transported them so the British could become rich and leave behind trouble for the natives to sort out and the Brits could fan these issues into further chaos.

Some 22m ethnic Indians are scattered across every continent.

USA is the home for more than 300,000 Tamils both from Tamil Nadu and Srilanka.

CANADA has a large concentration of Sri Lankan Tamils, almost 90% of the Tamil population – amounting to 300,000.

Indians in Caribbean

Indians were transported by the British to the Caribbean after slave trade ended in 1800s.

Indians in UK

There are 1.6 million Britons of Indian origin. 300,000 Tamils out of whom about 200,000 are from Srilanka.

FRANCE has more than 60,000 Tamils from Pondicherry and a substantial number of Srilankan Tamils who went there as refugees.

GERMANY has well over 50,000 Tamils and more than half of them went as refugees from Sri Lanka.

ITALY has about 25,000 Tamils, most of whom went as refugees during the last few years.

SWITZERLAND has about 40,000 Tamils the majority of whom are from Sri Lanka who went as refugees.

NETHERLANDS has more than 20,000 Tamils the majority of whom are refugees from Sri Lanka

NORWAY has about 10,000 Tamils most of whom are Sri Lankan refugees.

Tamils in Malaysia – 1,060,000 Tamil population

Singapore – 200,000 Tamils

Mauritius – 115,000 Tamils since 1727 to work in the sugar cane plantations.

REUNION is an Indian Ocean island 120,000 Tamils

South Africa – Tamil migration started as from 1860 more than 250,000 Tamils spread over in many cities, the concentration being in Natal and Durban.

Australia – 30,000 Tamils

With so many Tamils originally from India living overseas there have been calls for a separate homeland for Tamils.

Tamils in India want a Tamil homeland, Tamils in Malaysia are also voicing similar sentiments, the LTTE Diaspora and TNA in Sri Lanka want a Tamil homeland probably with time Tamils in Canada and Tamils in the UK may also start joining in the chorus. Tamils the world over are angry that they remain the single significant ethnic group without a homeland to call their own which is why Tamil Nadu began the first quest for a homeland. It is why Tamil Nadu politicians are speaking openly on behalf of Tamils living in other countries. Diversionary tactics strategically shifted the quest to Sri Lanka. When Tamil Nadu’s M Karunanidhi came to the rescue” of the Malaysian Tamils the Malaysian Government clearly indicated to India and to the Tamil Nadu state that India should keep away from internal matters in Malaysia.

According to the Aliran journal Indians commit 40% of crimes in Malaysia, Indians were the highest detained under emergency regulations, 14% of squatters in its capital were Indian and had the highest suicide rates, 41% of beggars were Indian Tamils, 20% of child abusers and juvenile delinquents were also Indian Tamil.

In Tamil Nadu close to 20% of its population are Dalits and 80% of this number live in villages where illiteracy is over 60%. 62% of these Dalits suffer from some type of abuse ranging from physical assault, sexual harassment, verbal abuse to even rape. This is how Tamils appear to be treating their own in India where the Indian Government is telling Sri Lanka to treat Tamils with dignity and respect”.

With so many Chinese diaspora living overseas have they become a nuisance as the Indian Tamils have become? In Canada they have not shown to integrate to Canadian culture – some shops openly have photos of terrorist leader Prabakaran, they have blocked roads causing public nuisance. Many of these Tamil Diaspora have been linked to terrorism, arrests have been made too and the Sri Lankan Government in April 2014 proscribed 16 LTTE fronts operating from overseas and 424 individuals as well. Most of these entities function as tax-free charities and funds collected go towards non-charity work as was seen immediately after the war ended in May 2009 when even Canadian MPs visiting Sri Lanka were shocked that none of the monies collected in Canada had been spent when these monies were supposed to have built tsunami homes. The scale of lies and rackets have never been properly exposed.

The crux of the matter however is that while Chinese immigrants are located globally they don’t sing for a homeland because they already have China. Indian Tamils on the other hand are using whatever tactic and ploy possible to ensure that 76million world Tamils have a homeland to call their own. That non-Tamils are spearheading Tamil Nadu Eelam calls makes matters complicated as is the irony that a small area in the north of Sri Lanka is temporarily used as eelam struggle. This is only a diversionary tactic giving India enough time to annex Sri Lanka before the country is divided along ethnic/linguistic lines but with India controlling Tamil Nadu, it is a piece of cake for India to nullify the eelam call as they did with the We Tamil Movement that sprang up in the 1970s in India’s South.

What needs to be said is that there is so much more than the themes and wailing calls for self-determination and homelands. These tags are perfect political tools to advance bigger agendas of not Tamils but others and Tamils are the proxies used. The British used them as sepoys, indentured laborers and now the ‘minority’ card works perfectly.

The immigrant problem has become a global problem but as with all problems it is a windfall for others and most times problems have been created, manufactured or fanned because of the windfalls that they entail.



Shenali D Waduge

6 Responses to “Chinese & Indian Tamil Diaspora : Which immigrants cause more trouble”

  1. Christie Says:

    Thanks Shenali.

    1. The so called British Empire since the abolition of slavery is in fact a British-Indian Empire.

    2. These Indian Sepoys (soldiers and soldier assistants) Peons (Administrators) and Coolies (Laborers) went to British dominions of their own. They were not forced by the British.

    3. The best example is the worlds’ most celebrated Indian Colonial Parasite Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahathma Gandhi)

    4. British are gone but Indian colonial parasites remain enjoying their imperial privileges.

    Time to understand this and unite and stand up to the Indian Empire and Indian colonial parasites.

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Despite colourful language, I agree with Christie. Unfortunately due to the proximity, Ceylon ended getting most of these slaves. A comparison of decadal population change in coastal and other districts of Tamil Nadu, it is obvious what happened. Almost all coastal districts of Tamil Nadu facing Sri Lanka had a negative population movement in early 1900s whereas inland districts had a massive population increase.

    Tamils and Sudanese have been preferred pawns of western colonials since the 16th century until this day. However, they made sure both these communities landed in their own countries from 16 to 20 century adapted to the majority’s language, culture and religion. This linguistic and cultural imposition was not seen in Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and Guyana. A grave mistake.

  3. Kumari Says:

    Without batting an eyelid it is anybody with an Indian background is the trouble maker. Even my family and friends working in foreign countries say they have to be vigilant if an Indian is in the department.

    Countries or companies haven’t complained about Chinese. They have worked for the betterment. Example is Singapore.

  4. anura seneviratna Says:

    When looked at the main cause of Tamil as a problem the world over, it is because their indigenous Tamil land of Tamil Nadu is not free and independent country of the Tamil Nation. In all fairness, Tamils as a major population of the world with 70+ million in Tami Nadu plus 35+ in other countries of the world totalling 105+ million Tamils; surely its natural justice for the Tamils to have their Tamil Nadu as a free country. India is an artificial country fashioned after British intrusion when it is really a subcontinent with numerous separate nations and their indigenous lands. Every nation within the Indian subcontinent should call for independence!

  5. mjaya Says:

    ** This linguistic and cultural imposition was not seen in Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and Guyana. A grave mistake. **

    Exactly Dilrook, but it is never too late. We have to do whatever we can in our capacity to remove Tamil as an official language in Sri Lanka starting now!

  6. Nimal Says:

    We just can’t generalize and say Indians are bad or Chinese are good in the newly settled countries.
    Indians chased out of Africa are doing very well and the Africans want them back. I know several gone back to places like Kenya,Tanzania and Uganda. Africans now realized their value and contribution to their economies.
    In south Africa an Indian family seems to be in a position decide on their country’s politicians.
    With respect to the Tamil population, they seem to do well in most countries,achived high enough to be for Cameron to invite them to No 10 Downing street and go out of his way to visit Jaffna.
    There are so many millionaires among them in every country, money talks in the real world, so we must get real and accept the reality and achieve our selves so that world will respect us.
    Talking hog wash about our history, culture and even religion will not get us noticed or progressive countries respect us.
    Thanks to the hardworking private sector in SL which I too have a stake, the country is surviving on the taxed income from us and the foreign exchange earned by our slave(sadly) working in the gulf states but all that income is squandered by the cruel politicians.
    World economies want all countries to excel and in future they might even intervene to stop the rot and in our case for SL,they might even encourage division where the minorities will have their own space to develop even further, without the majority Sinhalese breathing down on them.
    In Kandy I tried to reach up to the politicians to stop disrupting life among the people where people have get to work, shops have to function and the people that were disturbed or interrupted was when the Prez visit the city that lead to disruption of the daily life there.This won’t happen in a progressive country but in a fail state.
    IC will respect and fight for the progressive minority and how many these days could carry the flag for the Sinhalese people? How many Sinhalese have achieved in business like minorities and their achievements are even much more in the Western countries.
    We must blame our selves for our sorry situation and only people who profited out are the thieving politicians and their days will be coming to an end, developments in Brazil against elected leader will be a pointer to the future.
    I say get our country in order without pointing fingers which is a defeatist policy.

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