Venezuela: Situation and treatment of individuals of Chinese descent by the authorities and society; ability to access housing, employment, education, and healthcare; state protection (2020–January 2022) [VEN200882.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

1. Overview

According to an article written by two Venezuelan journalists and published in SupChina, a New York-based investigative news website that focuses on political, business, cultural, and societal issues in China (SupChina n.d.a), an immigrant population of 60,000 Chinese nationals lived in Venezuela in 2000 at the time of a new economic development partnership between the governments of both countries that included various investment projects in Venezuela (SupChina 28 Jan. 2019). The same source adds that while the Venezuelan government estimates that [as of 2018], 500,000 Chinese citizens were living in Venezuela, the article's authors explain that this includes approximately 60,000 Chinese citizens and 400,000 residents of Chinese descent, representing the "fourth-largest [Chinese population] in the Americas, behind the U.S., Canada, and Peru" (SupChina 28 Jan. 2019).

In an interview conducted by the Sinica podcast, a podcast produced by SupChina that focuses on discussions of current affairs in China (SupChina n.d.b), Parsifal D'Sola Alvarado, a co-founder of the Andrés Bello Foundation – China-Latin American Research Center [1] and a foreign policy advisor to Venezuelan political opposition figure Juan Guaidó, stated that Venezuela's Chinese population arrived in two main groups (SupChina 16 Apr. 2020, 18:26–19:56). D'Sola Alvarado explains that the first group was composed of lower-income migrants from southern China, notably the province of Guangdong, and numbered approximately 200,000 by the late 1990s, followed by the second group especially made up of young Chinese professionals arriving around 2005–2006, many of whom accompanied the establishment of major Chinese companies like Huawei in the country; the Chinese population in Venzuela peaked at approximately 600,000 in 2011–2012 (SupChina 16 Apr. 2020, 18:26–19:56). D'Sola Alvarado noted that since then, "most" Chinese migrants from this second group, or approximately 400,000 people, have left Venezuela, "a lot" of whom have gone on to other Latin American countries, such as Chile, rather than return to China (SupChina 16 Apr. 2020, 19:57–21:16). South China Morning Post (SCMP), an English-language newspaper based in Hong Kong, reported in December 2020 that 30,000 Venezuelans of Chinese descent had left the country and returned to China, notably to the county-level city of Enping, in Guangdong province, "in recent years," in the wake of "social upheaval and hyperinflation" in Venezuela (SCMP 16 Dec. 2020).

According to the SCMP, new restrictions implemented by the Chinese government on 30 November 2020 ended the extension of Chinese visas issued to Venezuelans with expired passports, a previous accommodation that the Chinese authorities had made "after Venezuela stopped issuing new passport booklets to its citizens in late 2017, citing a lack of materials needed to create them" (SCMP 16 Dec. 2020). The same source adds that as a result, according to an interview with a Chinese-Venezuelan returnee in Guangdong, "'30,000 of us will either have to overstay illegally or leave China to return to a shattered Venezuela'" (SCMP 16 Dec. 2020).

2. Treatment

Information on the treatment of individuals of Chinese descent in Venezuela was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

The information in the following paragraph was provided in the article published by SupChina in January 2019:

"[H]undreds" of Chinese nationals have left the country due to "recent protests and violence" in Venezuela, prompting the deputy director of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to call for protecting Chinese citizens in the wake of "several attacks on Chinese shops and businesses." While the violence against Chinese shops and businesses has since "g[iven] way," protests in the country continue to take place (SupChina 28 Jan. 2019).

3. Ability to Access Housing, Employment, Education, and Healthcare

Information on the ability of individuals of Chinese descent to access housing, employment, education, and healthcare in Venezuela could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

4. State Protection

Information on state protection for individuals of Chinese descent could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


[1] The Andrés Bello Foundation – China Latin American Research Center is an "independent non-profit organization" based in Bogotá that studies China's impact on Latin America and the Caribbean (Fundación Andrés Bello n.d.).


Fundación Andrés Bello – Centro de Investigación Chino Latinoamericano. N.d. Homepage. [Accessed 11 Jan. 2022]

South China Morning Post (SCMP). 16 December 2020. He Huifeng. "Chinese-Venezuelans Desperate to Extend China Stay as Authorities Tighten Rules on Visa Extensions." [Accessed 3 Dec. 2021]

SupChina. 16 April 2020. Sinica Podcast. Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn interviewing Parsifal D'Sola Alvarado in "China's Venezuelan Vicissitudes." [Accessed 11 Jan. 2022]

SupChina. 28 January 2019. Jesús Hermoso and María Victoria Fermín. "Venezuela-China, Explained: How Will Venezuela's Political Crisis Affect China?" [Accessed 3 Dec. 2021]

SupChina. N.d.a. "About SupChina." [Accessed 11 Jan. 2022]

SupChina. N.d.b. "Sinica." [Accessed 11 Jan. 2022]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Acceso a la Justicia; assistant professor at a university in the US whose research focuses on democracy, labour, and social movements in cities across Venezuela; assistant professor at a university in the US whose research focuses on political and human rights issues in Venezuela; Atlantic Council – Digital Forensic Research Lab; Cáritas de Venezuela; Creemos Alianza Ciudadana; Fundación Andrés Bello – Centro de Investigación Chino Latinoamericano; political and social change, race and ethnicity reporter who works for a Hong Kong publication; professor at a university in the US whose research focuses on the sociology of immigration, issues of race and ethnicity, and the role of refugee populations, notably in the Venezuelan revolution; research director at a university in France whose research focuses on the socioeconomic and spatial mobility of migrant populations, notably the Chinese diaspora; senior fellow at a US-based think tank and professor at a US-based university, whose research focuses on human rights, culture and social movements in Venezuela; Wilson Center.

Internet sites, including: Al Jazeera; Amnesty International;; Atlantic Council; Australia – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; BBC; Bertelsmann Stiftung – Bertelsmann Stiftung's Transformation Index; Caixin Global; Centre for Research on Globalization; Chile – Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional; China – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Immigration Administration; City Population; Columbia University – Latin American Center for Investigative Journalism; Crítica; Diálogo Chino;; The Economist; El Comercio; El Mercurio; El Nuevo Herald; El Periódico; El Sumario; El Tiempo; El Universal; Encyclopaedia Britannica; Foreign Policy; France – Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides; Freedom House; The Guardian; Human Rights Watch; Inter-American Dialogue; International Crisis Group; Journal of Refugee Studies; Miami Herald; Minority Rights Group International; The New Humanitarian; Political Handbook of the World; Reuters; ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America; Taiwan – Noticias de Taiwan; teleSur; UK – Home Office; UN – International Organization for Migration, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Refworld, ReliefWeb, UNHCR; US – CIA World Factbook, Department of State; Venezolana de Televisión; Venezuela – Instituto Nacional de Estadística;; Voice of America; Washington Office on Latin America; The Washington Post; Wilson Center; WorldAtlas; Worldometer; World Population Review.

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