Chinese People in Latin America – Discrimination?

Photo by David Berkowitz

On May 27, 2010, the Federal Court issued its decision in Jiang v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2010 FC 580. (“Jiang“). Jiang involved an application for permanent residence in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.  There were numerous aspects to the claim.  The one that I wish to focus on was the applicant’s claim that she faced discriminated in Peru because she was Chinese.

The judgment states:

[5]                B and H owned and operated a restaurant in Peru.  They stated that they were subjected to extortion and harassment.  They also alleged that when they complained to the police, they were told to go back to China.  As a result, the Applicants… closed down their business in 2004, and accompanied their eldest daughter .. to Canada where she had obtained a student visa.  Their son remained in Peru, while their youngest daughter came with them to Canada.

[7]               Moreover, the Board found that the documentary evidence failed to show that Chinese nationals living in Peru faced persecution, torture or cruel or unusual treatment or punishment because of their race.  It was the Board’s conclusion that the Applicants’ allegations of repeated victimization was, on a balance of probability, a product of their status as business owners, and as such, could be remedied by a change in occupation.

[8]               The Board also found that there was no persuasive evidence that the principal Applicant’s daughter, Xie Moy Ly Jiang, who is a citizen of Peru, faced a well-founded fear of persecution in Peru, or that she was a person in need of protection.  It was the tribunal’s conclusion that the Applicants’ allegation, that she would be targeted in the future by criminals because of her race, was speculative and not grounded in facts or in any of the documentary evidence.

[37]           The Applicants also alleged that the officer selectively used the documentary evidence, by taking information out of context and by ignoring contradictory evidence.  The Applicants explained that the officer cited out of context the 2008 U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices, Peru, dated February 25, 2009 (the “Report”) by stating that “there were no reports of societal abuses, or discrimination”.  It is true that this exact same wording exists in the Report in the section dealing with freedom of religion and anti-Semitic acts.  However, there is no indication that the officer quoted this passage verbatim from the Report.  Despite a general statement that although the law prohibits discrimination, discrimination persisted, found under the heading “Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons”, the Report notes that the only incidents of discrimination against national, racial or ethnic minorities pertain to Afro-Peruvians and indigenous people.  There is no report of discrimination or societal abuses against people of Chinese ethnicity or of Asian descent. In this light, I do not believe the officer selectively used the Report.

If you’ve been to Latin America, or if you know any Asians living in Latin America, I am curious to hear your anecdotal stories.  How are overseas Chinese treated in Latin America?


One thought on “Chinese People in Latin America – Discrimination?

  1. I ate at a few Chinese restaurants in Peru. They were delicious! I can’t speak to the treatment or nationality of the owners, or what was actually in the ‘beef chow mein’, but those guys sure made a tasty meal.

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