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The bond between China and Peru


11-22-2016 14:23 BJT

Full coverage: Xi Visits Ecuador, Peru and Chile, Attends APEC Summit

Of thirty million people living in Peru, one-tenth have Chinese bloodlines.  Exchanges between China and Peru go back 400 years. As the lives of Chinese in Peru change through time, the bond between the two countries grows closer.

Peru is the first land in the Americas that Chinese set foot on. Records show Chinese had been living in Lima in the 17th Century. In the mid-19th Century, the first group of Chinese workers arrived from China's Southeast coastal regions, to dig mines and build a railway.

"The first group of Chinese workers came to Peru for hard labor. They arrived in 1849 on a five-year contract, which was extended for another eight years. It wasn't until 1874 when the Qing administration signed a trade deal with Peru, that they didn't have to work in farms or railways, and were free to start a business or be self-employed," said Isabelle Herrera from Peruvian National Academy of Science.

Chinese merchants started entering various sectors of society. They set up schools, clinics, newspapers, and even social organizations and charity groups. During World War Two, the donations from Chinese community in Peru topped a million US dollars in one year.

A new chapter began with the People's Republic of China, which was founded in 1949.  He Lianxiang found herself expectedly playing a key role.

"I was  running a newspaper and the president then give me a mission to form a formal relationship with China. I brought his letter to the Chinese Embassy in Chile. And soon after that, China and Peru established formal relationship on November 2nd, 1971," said He Lianxiang, general manager of China-Peru Chamber of Commerce.

Chinese who moved to Peru brought more changes to society and industrial production

"Chinese brought agricultural techniques such as rice growing technology, which increased the local output," said Xiao Xiaoquan, honorary president of the Chinese Benevolent Association in Peru.

The new generation of Chinese descendants now play more roles, from doctors to teachers as well as government employees in Peru.

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