Woman looking for couple in Prato

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In the introduction to the pioneering work on Chinese in Europe published inhistorian Frank Pieke comments on the relative invisibility of Chinese migrants. The presence of Chinese in certain parts of Europe has become not only highly visible but also increasingly contentious.

Our new edited volume, Chinese Migration to Europe: Prato, Italy and beyondfocuses on one of the most extraordinary places in terms of Chinese migration in Europe: the city of Prato, just 20 km from Florence, in central Italy. Prato is now home to one of the largest populations of Chinese residents in Europe, when measured as a proportion of the population. It is a phenomenon that is remarkable for its magnitude, and the speed at which it has developed: In there were just Chinese in Prato, increasing around eight times up to the turn of the century.

By there were almost 12, Chinese in Prato. And yet a recent European Union report refers to estimates that put the actual Chinese population in Prato at between 30, and 40,[ii] more than double the official figure. In the past couple of decades, this group of mainly Chinese entrepreneurial migrants to Italy, mostly from the city of Wenzhou, has turned traditional economic, manufacturing and cultural relationships on their he.

The Pratesi in Italy had little say in becoming one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse provinces in Italy as their proud city has become a microcosm of wider transformations.

Woman looking for couple in Prato

However, not being in possession of one did not automatically make one a criminal. If indeed it ever existed, any substantive tolerance towards undocumented immigrants changed dramatically with this law. For Prato, was also the year of a major change in local politics, with the election of a centre-right party, after over six decades of government by the centre-left.

Woman looking for couple in Prato

This political feat was achieved largely on an overtly anti-Chinese political commentary that fuelled a climate of growing concern for the performance of the local economy, propelling public opinion into ever deeper prejudiced and openly xenophobic rhetoric. As already noted, this time period also coincides with a rapid increase in emigration from Wenzhou.

Woman looking for couple in Prato

Not surprisingly, there is international interest in the Prato experience, and it has become a focus of many and varied international research and media analyses. In his international bestseller, China Shakes the Worldjournalist James Kynge uses Prato as a central case study for his analysis of the new China and its implications for the international community. In addition to worldwide attention from journalists, the effects of Chinese migration have been studied intently by concerned professional service providers in Italy itself, and have aroused emotive political responses about how to manage the inexorable forces of global change that the cohort represents.

The generally ad hoc approach to immigration policy shown by Italian authorities at all levels of government and administration has been unhelpful and was further compounded by the global financial crisis, starting in By this time Chinese migrants had begun to invest much personal and financial capital in the industrial district of Via Pistoiese in Prato.

Families grew as Chinese women doubled the local birthrate. Second-generation children had to be integrated into the education system, with at least one public school recording a greater of Chinese enrolments than Italian. The resultant language and cultural needs in the social service sector in particular has been overwhelming.

Both Chinese which refuses to grant dual citizenship and Italian citizenship law with its powerful rhetoric of blood ties make integration and the fostering of notions of mixed identity highly contentious. A telling symbolic act of the newly elected Prato municipal government in was to forbid the procession of the Chinese Dragon through the historic centre of the city, a route the community had been using for Chinese New Year celebrations for a of years.

To interpret this action as purely and simply xenophobic is to overlook the importance of deeply held concerns about the need to control and preserve the boundaries of belonging. In the recent New Year celebrations this year, the dragon once again returned to the inner city streets, evidencing the multiple, complex and contrapuntal processes of identity formation.

Chinese people have a long history of migration to Europe, but their current larger s, speed of growth, economic prowess, commercial vigour, and contentious presence in the current political climate make the recent arrivals different from their predecessors. Unsurprisingly, in the face of rapid social, economic and political change, rumours misrepresentation and misinformation are rife, and there is a pressing need for wide discussion about the causes of racial tension and economic confrontation to better understand underlying influences Woman looking for couple in Prato Europe in the hope of recommending responses which are collaborative, equitable and lasting, and long-term mitigating strategies.

Pieke Eds. London: Palgrave Macmillan, p. Chinese immigration into the EU: New trends, dynamics and implications. Notify me of follow-up comments by. Notify me of new posts by. Chinese Diaspora: Prato and beyond. Diaspora March 17, Postgraduate MA Travel Bursaries.

Woman looking for couple in Prato

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Prato: The Italian town turning rags into new clothes