Koreans in China
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Koreans in China
Koreans in China

Total population
2,489,076 (2009)[1]
1,923,842 are ethnic Koreans with Chinese citizenship (2005 statistics); almost all the rest are expatriates from North or South Korea
Regions with significant populations
Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, provinces, Beijing Koreatown and other Chinese cities
Korean (Hamgy?ng and Pyongan dialects)
Chinese (Northeastern Mandarin and Jiaoliao Mandarin)
Mahayana Buddhism[2] · Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Dialects of the Korean language. Note the extent of Korean speakers living in China.

The population of Koreans in China include millions of descendants of Korean immigrants with citizenship of the People's Republic of China, as well as smaller groups of South and North Korean expatriates, with a total of roughly 2.3 million people as of 2009,[1] making it the largest ethnic Korean population living outside the Korean Peninsula.

Chaoxianzu (Chinese: ), Joseonjok or Chos?njok (Chos?n'g?l) form one of the 56 ethnicities officially recognized by the Chinese government. Their total population was estimated at 1,923,842 as of 2005[2] and 1,830,929 according to the 2010 Chinese census. High levels of emigration to South Korea, which has conversely reported a large increase in Chos?njok, are the likely cause of the drop. Most of them live in Northeast China, especially in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, which had 854,000 ethnic Koreans living there as of 2000.


The South Korean media of the 1990s referred to Koreans in China as jungguk-in (Hangul; Hanja, "Chinese people"). Government regulations in 2004 forced the use of the term jaeoe dongpo (Hangul?; Hanja?, "brothers and sisters who live abroad"). Similarly friendly terms include hanguk gye jungguk-in (Hangul ; Hanja; "Chinese people of Korean descent") or jungguk dongpo (Hangul?; Hanja?, brothers and sisters in China).

However, the common term in South Korea is joseon-jok (Hangul; Hanja, "Joseon person"), which Koreans from China criticised for being a less friendly term than those for other overseas Koreans like Korean Americans (jaemi gyopo, ? "Brothers and sisters in America") or Koreans in Japan (jaeil gyopo, ? "Brothers and sisters in Japan").[3]


Due to the proximity of borders between China and the Korean Peninsula, population migration of some kind had often occurred throughout history. However, most of early ethnic Koreans in China had been assimilated by the Han Chinese, Manchus, Mongols etc.[4][5] Thus, the overwhelming majority of today's ethnic Korean population in China are descendants of Korean emigrants since the late Qing dynasty.[4]

Early history

After the conclusion of the Goguryeo-Tang War, over 200,000 Korean prisoners from Goguryeo were transported by the victorious Tang Dynasty forces to Xi'an.[6] The largely unique Korean genetic marker Y haplogorup O2b has been detected in 1/34 of the Han Chinese population in Xi'an, possibly due to the assimilation of these previously mentioned Korean prisoners in the city.[7]

During the 8th and 9th centuries, ethnic Koreans from Silla made overseas communities in China on the Shandong Peninsula and the mouth of the Yangtze River.[8][9][10][11]

Liao to early Qing era

According to records of History of Liao (Chinese: ), Khitans set up a Samhan county, in Zhongjing Circuit (), one of the Liao's 5 "circuits", after Goryeo-Khitan War to settle prisoners of wars.[12] In the Yuan dynasty, Koreans were included along with Northern Chinese, Khitan and Jurchen in the third class, as "Han people".[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20] Korean settlements in the Yuan Dynasty were mostly war-related. In 1233, former Goryeo commander Hong Bok-won and his followers moved to the current-day Liaoyang and Shenyang areas of Liaoning Province in Northeast China after his surrender to the Mongols during the Mongol invasions of Korea and was offered an administrator position to take charge of Korean population there. In the next years, another ten thousand Goryeo households was brought under his administration. In 1266, Wang Jun (Chinese: ), a member of the Goryeo royal family, was sent to the Mongol Empire as a hostage. There were 2,000 Goryeo households accompanying him and settled down in current-day Shenyang city in Northeast China.[5]

The Korean population in China has increased during the Ming Dynasty. Per the Chronicles of Liaodong (Chinese: ), Koreans and Manchus accounted for 30% of the total local population in Northeast China.[21] In 1386, the Ming government set up the Dongningwei (Chinese: ) and Guangningwei (Chinese: ) to manage the increasing Korean population settlement in Northeast China[5].Between the mid-15th century and the early 16th century, the Liaodong Peninsula experienced a peaceful and prosperous development time period and favorable policies were implemented towards ethnic minority in areas such as Dongningwei (Chinese: ). Many Koreans moved from the Korean Peninsula to Northeast China to enjoy such favorable policies.[22] However, as the rising power of Jianzhou Jurchens grew stronger and stronger, ethnic Koreans began to move out of Dongningwei (Chinese: ). In 1537, Korean population in Dongningwei (Chinese: ) had decreased by 60%.[22]

As Jurchens established the Later Jin (Chinese: ), military clashed between Jurchens and Koreans increased. During the two Jurchen invasions of the Korean Peninsula, they plundered large amount of Korean people with them. Most of these Koreans captured by Jurchens were drafted as soldiers in the Eight Banners or sold to rich Jurchens as farm laborers or servants. Most of the captured Koreans in the early Qing dynasty were forcefully converted to Manchu or other ethnic, and lost their ethnic identities. But about 2000 descendants from these captured Koreans in Qinglong Manchu Autonomous County Hebei province, Gaizhou and Benxi County (zh) in Liaoning Province have still kept their Korean ethnic identity[a] In 1982, during the third national population census of China, these 2,000 Korean descendants were restored their Korean ethnicity per their requests in accordance to then newly issued Chinese government policy.[4][5][22]

Late Qing era

In 1677, Manchus sealed the area north of Paektu Mountain, Yalu River and Tumen River as a conservation area of their ancestors' birthplace, and prohibited Koreans and other non-Manchu ethnic people to enter the area. The Joseon rulers were also forced by the Qing government to implement harsh penalties to prevent Koreans from entering the sealed areas. As a result, the areas became obsolete with no human settlements.[4][22] But there were still Koreans living nearby that took the risk to enter the prohibited area to collect ginger, hunt animals, or cultivate agricultural products.[4][22] In 1740, the Qing government extended the ban to the whole Northeast China region.[22]

During the second half of the nineteenth century, Northeast China increasingly became obsolete after 200 years of Manchus' closure to the region. The Russian Empire meanwhile seized the opportunity to encroach this region. In 1860, the Qing government was forced to sign the Convention of Peking and ceded more than 1 million square kilometres to the Russians. [22] Pressed by the situation, the Qing government lifted the ban on Northeast China in 1860, and lifted the ban on the Yalu River and Tumen River area in 1875 and 1881 respectively.[22] During the years between 1860 and 1870, several unprecedented natural disasters struck the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. Meanwhile, peasant revolts in the south spread to the north. Large numbers of Korean refugees moved to the north banks of the Tumen and Yalu rivers during those turbulent times. In 1879, there were 8722 Korean households living in 28 villages in Tonghua, Huairen, Kuandian, Xingjing areas, with a total population of more than 37,000.[4][22] In 1881, the Qing government established a special bureau to recruit farmers to cultivate the land and allocated the 700 by 45-square-kilometre area north of the Tumen River as the special farming areas for Korean farmers. The Qing government strengthened the management of Korean emigrants during the start of the 20th century. Korean emigrants were able to obtain land ownership if adopting Manchu's dressing codes including the Queue hairstyle, obtaining the license from and pay taxes to the Qing government. But most of the Korean emigrants considered adopting Manchu's addressing codes a discriminatory policy of assimilation. By 1910, the number of Korean migrants in China reached about 260,000, with around 100,00 of them living in the current-day Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.[4][5][22]

Development of paddy fields in Northeast China

The development of paddy fields in Northeast China during the modern era was related to the rice cultivation by Korean emigrants. Korean emigrants attempted to cultivate rice in the Hun River valley as early as 1848. The experiment by Korean farmers in the Dandong region was successful in 1861. In 1875, Korean farmers also succeeded to cultivate rice in the wetland of Huanren region in Liaoning province. The cultivation of rice in Yanbian region began in 1877.[23][5][22] The growth of paddy fields brings the further development of irrigation projects in Northeast China by Korean farms, who built numerous watering canals to irrigate paddy fields. In June 1906, 14 Korean farmers built the earliest irrigation system in Yanbian. The total length of canals built exceeded 1.3 kilometer, irrigating 33 hectare of paddy fields.[22][23]

On 3 March 1914, the newly established Republic of China issued a decree aimed to encourage land developments in Northeast China. In the same year, the water bureau of the Mukden province began to recruit Korean emigrants to use the water from Hun River to develop paddy fields near Mukden.[22][23] In 1916, the local government of Jilin Province submitted a paddy field farming specifications document of a Korean immigrant farmer to the central Agriculture and Business Administration. After receiving the administration's approval, Jinlin Province started to promote rice production. Han Chinese farmer began to hire Korean emigrants to learn how to grow rice.[22] In 1917, Korean farmers in Muling solved the problem of how to grow rice in regions with short frost-free period. Rice farming thereafter quickly expanded to the further north region of Mudan River, Muling River and Mayi River basins.[23]

Between 1921 and 192, the total areas of paddy fields in Northeast China increased from 48,000 hectare to 125,000 hectares, more 80% of these rice fields was developed or cultivated by Korean farmers. In 1933, Korean farmers succeeded in growing rice in Aihui and Xunke area along Amur River, breaking the world record of growing rice north of the 50th parallel north. In 1934, Korean population accounted for only 3.3% of Northeast China's total population, but produced 90.1% of the rice outputs in Northeast China.[5]

During the Japanese Occupation of Korea

After the Japanese Occupation of Korea in 1910, thousands of Koreans fled to Northeast China or other regions of China to escape Japanese rule. Many Korean independent movement activists and organizations established independent movement activity basis or military training schools in Northeast China and purposely move Korean people to China. In 1919, after the cracking-down of the March 1st Movement by Japanese police, Korean political refugees moving to China reached the peak. In 1920, the total number of Koreans in Northeast China exceeded 457,400. [4]

During 1910-1934, cadastral land surveys and rice production promotion plans carried out by Governor-General of Korea forced thousands of disadvantaged Korean farmers to lose their land ownership or go to bankruptcy. Since there were no large enough urban industry to absorb these redundant rural population, the Japanese started to migrate these Korean farmers to Northeast China. [4] At the same time, the newly established Republic of China was promoting land developments in Northeast China. This offered a favorable condition for the Japanese population migration policy.[22][23] After the Chinese government issued the national wild land development decree on 3 March 1914, the water bureau of Mukden Province began to hire Korean emigrants to develop paddy fields near Mukden using the water from Hun River. Since Korean farmers had succeeded in growing rice in Northeast China in large scale and the price of rice in Japan kept climbing every year, the Japanese started to increase their paddy fields in Northeast China each year and hire Korean emigrants to grow rice.[22]

The Fengtian clique in Northeast China maintained a complicated relationship with the Japanese. They sometimes cooperated with the Japanese and sometimes were at odds with them.[22] To fight for the control of Korean emigrants, the Fengtian clique attempted to persuade or force Korean emigrants to become naturalized citizens of China. But most Korean emigrants considered such policies as Chinese authority's attempt to assimilate them into Han Chinese. In September 1930, realizing that Korean emigrants having no trust in Chinese governments, the Chairman of Jinlin Province Zhang Zuoxiang instead carried out policies to encourage Korean emigrants to become naturalized. [22] To prevent the Japanese from using Korean emigrants as a tool of infiltration into Northeast China, the Chinese government also tried to put Korean emigrants' school into its own national education system, increasing investments on Korean emigrants' schools annually to sever the Japanese influence on Korean emigrants. In 1921, Jinlin province quadrupled its annual investments on local Korean schools to repair the damages during the Japanese massacre of Koreans (?) in Oct. 1920.[22] As the Japanese often used the excuse of protecting Korean emigrants to enlarge their sphere of influence in Northeast China, the views of Chinese government and people towards Korean emigrants changed after the mid of 1920, especially after the exposure of Tanaka Memorial and the Wanpaoshan Incident. Korean emigrants used to be considered as independent activists in China, but now they were generally considered as the vanguard of Japanese invasion. Relationship between local Chinese and Korean emigrants became tense.[22] After the Chinese government signed the treaty with the Japanese government on 11 June 1925 to assist the Japanese get rid of Korean independent activists in Northeast China, the Fengtian clique began to use this treaty to expel and persecute Korean emigrants and began to take back the farm lands cultivated by non-naturalized Korean emigrants or put on more restrictions. Naturalized Korean emigrants, however, continue to have the rights to own farm lands.[22]

Under these circumstances, Korean emigrants in Northeast China began to have the consensus of becoming naturalized and striving for local autonomy. Many anti-Japanese Korean organizations took measures to protect Korean emigrants and negotiated local Chinese governments into making concessions or acquiescence.[22] In 1928, Zhang Xueliang replaced the Beiyang government flag in Northeast China with Republic of China's flag, after the Huanggutun incident. Many Korean independent organizations seized this good opportunity to encourage Korean emigrants in Northeast China to apply for Chinese citizenship.[22] On 10 September 1928, Korean emigrants in Northeast China established the Korean autonomy organization 'Korean Fellow Association' (). In April, the leader of Korean Fellow Association Cui Dongwu went to Nanjing and hold negotiations with the central Chinese government on various issues about Korean emigrants' naturalization and autonomy. These negotiations helped to facilitate the naturalization process for Korean emigrants, but didn't make success in asking for Korean autonomy.[22]

In 1931, Japan staged the Mukden Incident and invaded Northeat China by force, then established a puppet state called Manchukuo. [4] On 14 September 1936, the Japanese set up a special organization () and began to migrate Korean farmers to Northeast China in a planned systemic way.[22] In 1945, when Japan surrendered at the end of World War II, there were more than 2.16 million Korean emigrants living in Northeast China. Among them, about 700,000 returned to Korea after the end of World War II. In 1947, the number of Korean emigrants decreased to 1.4 million, most of them living in the communist party controlled areas, only less than 100,000 living in the Kuomintang-controlled areas.[22][24]

Anti-Japanese fights

On 13 March 1919 shortly after the March 1st Movement in Korea, around 300,000 Koreans in Yanbian rallied on the Ruidian meadow in Longjing to protest against the Japanese and demonstrate support for the March 1st Movement. This is the first massive grassroot anti-Japanese demonstration in Yanbian. [25][4] A declaration of independence drafted by Yanbian Koreans was read out at the rally. The crowd then marched towards the Japanese consulate in Longjing afterwards, chanting anti-Japanese slogans and carrying Taegukgi and placards. The crowd was stopped by Fengtian clique soldiers and Japanese police near the west gate of the Japanese consulate. Bullets were fired towards the demonstraters. There were 19 people dead, 48 injured and 94 arrested.[4] From 13 March to 1 May, a total of 73 anti-Japanese Korean rallies broke out in 15 counties in Northeast China. The total number of people participated in these demonstrations exceed 100,000.[4]

In June 1920, the Righteous Army led by Hong Beom-do engaged the first armed force combat with the Imperial Japanese Army in Wangqing County, killing more than 100 Japanese soldiers. This led to the "Jiandao massacre" a few months later in Yanbian. The Japanese army killed 3600 Koreans and destroyed more than 3500 houses, 95 schools, 19 churches and nearly 25,000 kg grains. Between 21 and 26 October 1920, the combined Korean Liberation Army forces led by Kim Chwa-chin, Lee Beom-seok and Hong Beom-do fought the Battle of Qingshanli against Imperial Japanese Army in Helong. Local Korean residents provided vital support for the Korean Liberation Army.[4][26]

In the 1930s, many Koreans in China joined the Anti-Japanese forces led by the Chinese Communist Party.[4] In June 1932, Korean leader Li Hongguang established one of the earliest Anti-Japanese Volunteer Armies (?) in Northeast China. Most of its members were ethnic Koreans in China. Li later became a Key member of The Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army. Among the 11 army divisions of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, Koreans accounted for half of the total number in the 1st, 2nd,3rd and 7th army division. During the 14 years of fight against the Japanese, Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army killed 183,700 enemies. [5]

During the War of Liberation (1946-1949)

After the end of Second Sino-Japanese War, Kuomintang forces took over the Northeast China from the Soviet Red Army. The Kuomintang initially implemented similar policies towards Koreans and Japanese, impounding or confiscating Korean properties and repatriated Korean emigrants. Since Korean farmers played important roles in rice production in Northeast China, Kuomintang revoked such hostile policy towards Koreans in China after the intervention of Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea and even took measures to persuade Korean farmers to stay in China to prevent possible negative impacts on rice production in Northeast China. [22]

In contrast to Kuomintang, the Chinese Communist Party had been very friendly towards Koreans in China. Koreans had a long history of friendship with the Chinese communists. Koreans participated in both the Nanchang Uprising and Guangzhou Uprising, and contributed to the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party's army and the Base of the Chinese Red Army in Jinggang Mountains. [5] The Chinese Communist Party regarded Koreans in China as one of the ethnic minorities of China as early as it established its Northeast China branch in 1927. The Chinese Communist Party considered Koreans in China as the same class of people in China who were oppressed and exploited by both the Imperial Japanese and feudal warlords in China, and a reliable source of support in the fight against the Imperial Japanese and feudal warlords. In July 1928, the Chinese Communist Party officially included Koreans in China as one of the ethnic minorities of China on its 6th National Conference. After the Japanese invasion of Northeast China, the cooperation between the communists and Koreans in China strengthened and the social status of Koreans among the communists rose to a new height. [22] After the end of Second Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese Communists let the Koreans to choose whether becoming Chinese citizen at their will and leaving them ample time and options to choose. [22] In March 1946, Northeast China started the land reform to allocate the land formerly occupied by the Japanese or rich Chinese. Korean farms in China received farm land as other Chinese farmers did. [22][5] From October 1947, the land reform was expanded to nationwide.[22]

During the War of Liberation, there were 63,000 Koreans from Northeast China joined the People's Liberation Army, more than 100,000 joined local military forces and hundreds of thousands participated logistics supports. Soldiers in the 164th, 166th and 156th of the Fourth Field Army are mostly Koreans. They participated in the Siege of Changchun, Battle of Siping, Liaoshen Campaign, then continued to fight as far as in the Hainan Island Campaign.[5]

Since 1949

After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Koreans in China became one of the official members of Zhonghua minzu. The total population of Koreans in China was 1.1 million, 47.6% of them living in Yanbian.[5] In September 1949, Zhu Dehai, the chairman and local specialist of Chinese Communist Party in Yanbian attended the first plenary session of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) as one of the 10 ethnic minorities, participated in the establishment of CPPCC as a representative of Koreans in China. He also attended the grand ceremony for the founding of the People's Republic of China.[22][5]

After the outbreak of Korean War in 1950, young Koreans in China actively joined the People's Volunteer Army in response to the Chinese Communist Party's call.[27] These bilingual soldiers provided valuable communications help to other Chinese soldiers with locals in Korea in addition to manpower. Zhao Nanqi, Li Yongtai are two of the most notable Korean figures who participated in the war. Koreans in Longjing also organized the "Yanji Jet" donation campaign. Donations from Koreans in Yanbian reached the equivalent value of 6.5 jet fighters. [23]

On 3 March 1952, Yanbian was officially designated as a Korean Autonomous Region and Zhu Dehai was appointed as the first Chairman. On 20 July 1954, the first session of People's Congress was held in Yanbian. In April 1955, "Yanbian Korean Autonomous Region" was renamed as "Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture" per the stipulation of the first Constitution of People's Republic of China and Zhu Dehai was appointed as the first Chairman.[23][5][3] On 29 May 1958, the State Council of the People's Republic of China approved the decision to designate Changbai County as "Changbai Korean Autonomous County".[23][28]

During the Cultural Revolution, many Korean cadres including Zhu Dehai were prosecuted as capitalist roaders, local nationalists or counterrevolutionists. Many faculty members of Yanbian University were also prosecuted. The number of Yanbian University's faculty and staff decreased to 23.7% of that in 1966. Even Korean Language was criticized as Four Olds. After the Cultural Revolution ended, things gradually restored to normal. [23][29][30]

On 24 April 1985, the eighth session of the People's Congress of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture passed the "Autonomy Regulations of Korean Autonomous Prefecture", which was later approved by the sixth session of Jinlin Province People's Congress as law. The Yanbian Autonomy Regulations consist of 7 chapters and 75 clauses. It stipulated political, economic, cultural, educational, and social rights of and policies for Korean and other ethnic people in Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture in the form of law. It is the first autonomy regulations in China's history.[5]

In September 1994, Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture was selected by the State Council of the People's Republic of China as a "Model Autonomous Prefecture". Yanbian was the first autonomous prefecture in China to receive this title and it had continuously received this title five times.[5][31]


Most ethnic Koreans in China speak Mandarin Chinese and many also speak fluent Korean as their mother tongue.[2] Most Chinese of Korean descent have ancestral roots and family ties in the Hamgyong region of North Korea and speak the Hamgy?ng dialect of Korean according to North Korean conventions.[28] However, since South Korea has been more prolific in exporting its entertainment culture, more Korean Chinese broadcasters have been using Seoul dialect. The so-called Korean Wave (Hallyu) has influenced fashion styles and increased the popularity of plastic surgery.[3]

Most of the ethnic Koreans in China are Buddhists,[2] but there is also a large proportion following Christianity and saying mass in Korean.[32]

In recent years, there have been cases of "international marriage" between ethnic Koreans from China hailing from the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture marrying South Korean men.[33] This trend has been argued by some as having resulted in an acceleration of the reduction of fertility among the Korean population in China.[33]


Chinese people of Korean descent are comfortable regarding themselves as part of the Chinese nation and see no contradiction between their Korean ethnicity and Chinese nationality.[34] However, this dual identity has come into conflict with the Korean ethnic nationalism of South Koreans. In a 2002 poll of 393 South Korean and Korean Chinese university students by Im Gyesun, 86 percent of Korean Chinese answered that they would reject Korean citizenship and would support China in a soccer game between China and South Korea. South Koreans expressed frustration and confusion at the Chaoxianzu's conception of China, rather than Korea, as their joguk (Hangul; Hanja, motherland).[3]

Yet Korean cultural identity has been strengthened in China since the 1990s, and the Chaoxianzu are "at the forefront of insisting on the use of their own language in the education system."[35] Despite the Chaoxianzu's strong assertion of their cultural identity in recent years, the Chaoxianzu are relatively free of tensions with the majority Han Chinese and harbor no secessionist aspirations. Reasons that have been put forth for this harmony include the destitution of North Korea, a shared Confucianism, and a lack of a religious cleavage between the Koreans and the Han.[36]

Although Chaoxianzu's intermarriage with other ethnic groups was rare in the past, it is increasing nowadays.[37] Li Dexiu (), the ethnic Korean head of the Ethnic Affairs Commission, has publicly mused a change of China's official ethnic policy from one that respected differences to one that encouraged assimilation.[38] Despite such a situation, Chaoxianzu people often see a common cultural heritage between them and the Koreans in the Korean Peninsula but view themselves separately as one of the Chinese minorities. Common Korean culture such as Korean food, Korean dance, and Hanbok are often explained as part of the many minority Chinese cultures by the Chaoxianzu.[39]

Furthermore, some Chaoxianzu scholars were involved in advocating a more pro-Chinese view of the Goguryeo controversies over ancient Sino-Korean history, which has been a cause of diplomatic protest between the Chinese and South Korean governments.[40] Aside from that, some Chaoxianzu students studying in Korea were accused of violence towards South Korean demonstrators who were conducting anti-PRC protests at the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay.[41] In South Korea, Chaoxianzu living as migrant workers are sometimes viewed with distrust and are perceived by South Korean nationals as criminals.[42] Such sentiments were refreshed in 2012 following a murder case in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do.[43][44][45] perpetrated by an ethnic Korean of Chinese origin.[46][47][48][49]

The South Korean government gives some legal acknowledgments to overseas Koreans despite their citizenship.

North Koreans

North Korean defectors often pass through China. Some of them settle there while others continue to South Korea.

China has a large number of North Korean refugees, estimated at anywhere in between 20,000 and 400,000 as of 2006. Some North Korean refugees who are unable to obtain transport to South Korea instead marry chaoxianzu and settle down in China, blending into the community; however, they are still subject to deportation if discovered by the authorities.[50]

As of 2011, there are an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 North Koreans residing as legal resident aliens in China. An increasing number are applying for naturalisation as Chinese citizens; this requires a certificate of loss of North Korean nationality, which North Korean authorities have recently become more reluctant to issue.[51] Major North Korean universities, such as the Kim Il-sung University and the Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies send a few dozen exchange students to Peking University and other top-ranked Chinese universities each year.[52]

In June 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that Beijing and Pyongyang had signed an agreement to grant as many as 40,000 industrial trainee visas to North Koreans to permit them to work in China; the first batch of workers arrived earlier in the year in the city of Tumen in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.[53]

South Koreans

After the 1992 normalisation of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea, many citizens of South Korea started to settle in China. Large new communities of South Koreans have formed in Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian and Qingdao.[54] The South Korean government officially recognises seven Korean international schools in China (in Yanbian, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Yantai, Qingdao, and Dalian), all founded between 1997 and 2003.[55] Most of the population of Koreans in Hong Kong consists of South Korea expatriates.[]

Typically, they come to China as employees of South Korean corporations on short-term international assignments; when their assignments are completed, many prefer to stay on in China, using the contacts they have made to start their own consulting businesses or import/export firms. Other South Koreans moved to China on their own after becoming unemployed during the 1997 financial crisis; they used funds they had saved up for retirement to open small restaurants or shops.[56] The low cost of living compared to Seoul, especially the cheap tuition at international schools teaching English and Chinese, is another pull factor for South Korean migration to Mainland China.[54]

The number of South Koreans in China was estimated to be 300,000 to 400,000 as of 2006; at the 2006 rate of growth, their population had been expected to reach one million by 2008.[54] By 2007, the South Korean Embassy in Beijing stated their population had reached 700,000. However, due to the global economic downturn in 2008 and the depreciation of the Korean won, large numbers of those returned to South Korea. A Bloomberg News article initially stated the proportion as 20% (roughly 140,000 people).[57] Between 2008 and 2009, South Korean government figures show that the number of Koreans in China dropped by 433,000.[1] The Sixth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China reported 120,750 South Koreans in Mainland China, the largest single foreign group.[58]

Notable people

Historical figures

Contemporary Chaoxianzu/Joseonjok

Expatriates of other nationalities and their descendants

See also


  1. ^ The ancestors of the Koreans in Qinglong Manchu Autonomous County, Hebei province were drafted into the "Bordered White Banner (zh)" after captured by Jurchens in early Qing Dynasty during war, and then followed the Manchus to move to Beijing. They were banished to Changli County after their participation in a coup during Shunzhi Emperor's rule and then exiled. Their descendants later moved to current location. The ancestors of the Koreans in Gaizhou Liaoning Province were forced to become farm laborers on Nurhaci's farm, and then Prince Zhuang's farm. The ancestors of the Koreans in  (zh) in Liaoning Province became Nurhaci's first son Cuyen's farm labor after captured by Jurchens during wars.[4]



  1. ^ a b c Current Status of Overseas Compatriots, South Korea: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2009, archived from the original on 2010-10-23, retrieved  
  2. ^ a b c d "The Korean Ethnic Group", China.org.cn, 2005-06-21, retrieved  
  3. ^ a b c d Kim, Hyejin (2010). International Ethnic Networks and Intra-Ethnic Conflict: Koreans in China. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 42, 47-48, 50, 58. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p (2009). ?. ?. ISBN 978-7-105-10152-8. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p ; (2011). . : . ISBN 978-7-5660-0096-5. 
  6. ^ Lewis 2009, 154.
  7. ^ Soon-Hee Kim 2011, High frequencies of Y-chromosome haplogroup O2b-SRY465 lineages in Korea: a genetic perspective on the peopling of Korea
  8. ^ Gernet, Jacques. A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge University Press. p. 291. ISBN 9780521497817. Retrieved 2016. 
  9. ^ Reischauer, Edwin Oldfather. Ennins Travels in Tang China. John Wiley & Sons Canada, Limited. pp. 276-283. ISBN 9780471070535. Retrieved 2016. From what Ennin tells us, it seems that commerce between East China, Korea and Japan was, for the most part, in the hands of men from Silla. Here in the relatively dangerous waters on the eastern fringes of the world, they performed the same functions as did the traders of the placid Mediterranean on the western fringes. This is a historical fact of considerable significance but one which has received virtually no attention in the standard historical compilations of that period or in the modern books based on these sources. . . . While there were limits to the influence of the Koreans along the eastern coast of China, there can be no doubt of their dominance over the waters off these shores. . . . The days of Korean maritime dominance in the Far East actually were numbered, but in Ennin's time the men of Silla were still the masters of the seas in their part of the world. 
  10. ^ Kim, Djun Kil. The History of Korea, 2nd Edition. ABC-CLIO. p. 3. ISBN 9781610695824. Retrieved 2016. 
  11. ^ Seth, Michael J. A Concise History of Korea: From the Neolithic Period Through the Nineteenth Century. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 65. ISBN 9780742540057. Retrieved 2016. 
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  13. ^ Frederick W. Mote (2003). Imperial China 900-1800. Harvard University Press. pp. 490-. ISBN 978-0-674-01212-7. 
  14. ^ Harold Miles Tanner (12 March 2010). China: A History: Volume 1: From Neolithic cultures through the Great Qing Empire 10,000 BCE-1799 CE. Hackett Publishing Company. pp. 257-. ISBN 978-1-60384-564-9. 
  15. ^ Harold Miles Tanner (13 March 2009). China: A History. Hackett Publishing. pp. 257-. ISBN 0-87220-915-6. 
  16. ^ Peter Kupfer (2008). Youtai - Presence and Perception of Jews and Judaism in China. Peter Lang. pp. 189-. ISBN 978-3-631-57533-8. 
  17. ^ Young Kyun Oh (24 May 2013). Engraving Virtue: The Printing History of a Premodern Korean Moral Primer. BRILL. pp. 50-. ISBN 90-04-25196-0. 
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