Chinese immigrants helped give reggae its start in Kingston, Jamaica. They brought chowmein to Calcutta, India, “became black” in South Africa, and are remaking fast fashion in Prato, Italy.
Today 40 million people of Chinese descent live outside China. Collectively, they represent the largest diaspora in the world.
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Would Claudia and Silvia come to love Italy? Would they think of Italy as their home?
On Via Pistoiese, Wenzhounese is the language most commonly heard, while Mandarin is second and Italian a distant third. Say the name “Prato” in Italy, one Pratese told me, and it’s now synonymous with Chinatown.
"My grandparents on my father's side emigrated from Taiwan to Italy in the 1960s. We were one of the first Taiwanese families in Milano..."
True or False: “The Chinese are very clever. They’re not like other immigrants, who can be pretty thick." Q&A with a Chinese Italian about the conflict in Prato.
If I had any questions about whether Francisco and Bai were more European or more Chinese, their two-cheek kiss-hellos gave me my answer.
Prato, Italy. It's a classic Chinese immigrant story in many ways. Except for the whole mafia / sweatshop labor / human trafficking / prostitution / tax evasion thing.