Citizens of Chinese descent; attitudes and treatment by police and general population; the availability of state protection (2002-November 2003) [VEN42217.E]

The following information was provided in 25 November 2003 correspondence from the Executive Director of the Venezuelan human rights organization Committee of Family Members of the Victims of the Unrest (Comite de Familias de las Victimas de los Sucesos de Febrero y Marzo de 1989, COFAVIC). The Director stated that she was unaware of any cases of [translation] "persecution or harassment" by the police or any other security force for reason of nationality. Specifically, she noted that up until the date of her correspondence, COFAVIC had never received any information about acts of discrimination or intolerance towards Venezuelan citizens of Chinese descent. Moreover, the Director also emphasized that all Venezuelans enjoy the same judicial guarantees and protection of rights outlined in the Constitution.

For general information about state protection in Venezuela, please refer to VEN41967.E of 7 November 2003.

Sources reporting on population statistics about Chinese-Venezuelans vary. According to the World Confederation of Institutes and Libraries for Overseas Chinese Studies (WCILOCS), there are approximately 50,000 ethnic Chinese living in Venezuela (n.d.). A September 2000 article from the Taiwanese government Website reported that there were about 60,000 Chinese immigrants living in Venezuela (Republic of China (Taiwan) 29 Sept. 2000).

The Website version of Ethnologue, a reference work dedicated to researching languages around the world, estimated that 400,000 inhabitants speak Chinese in Venezuela (2000). Global Mapping International (GMI), "a Christian inter-denominational missionary research agency" (GMI 29 Aug. 2003) noted on its Website that there were 48,340 Buddhist/Chinese adherents in Venezuela representing 0.20 per cent of the country's population and growing at an annual rate of 2.0 per cent (ibid. 2001)., a Southern Baptist Convention-sponsored Website, listed 25,000 Cantonese Han Chinese and 22,000 Mandarin Han Chinese inhabitants living in Venezuela (n.d.).

With regard to attitudes towards citizens of Chinese descent, a representative with the Cultural and Economic Office of Taipei in Venezuela mentioned that, in addition to establishing businesses and cultural community centres, Chinese descendants now occupy "outstanding" (destacados) positions in Venezuelan society as congresspersons, government deputies, lawyers, doctors, engineers and architects (Republic of China (Taiwan) 29 Sept. 2000). El Nacional published an article in February 2003 about Chinese culture in Venezuela, and in an interview, Enrique Chang, a Chinese-Venezuelan trained as an electrical engineer, stated that he did not feel any discrimination or racism in Venezuela (23 Feb. 2003).

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 to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Comite de Familias de las Victimas de los Sucesos de Febrero y Marzo de 1989, (COFAVIC), Caracas. 25 November 2003. Correspondence from Executive Director.

Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 2000. "Languages of Venezuela." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2003]

Global Mapping International (GMI). 29 August 2003. "GMI." [Accessed 4 Dec. 2003]

____. 2001. Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk. "Venezuela." Operation World: When We Pray God Works. [Accessed 21 Nov. 2003]

El Nacional [Caracas]. 23 February 2003. Laura Helena Castillo. "Made in china." [Accessed 28 Nov. 2003] n.d. "People Groups of Venezuela." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2003]

Republic of China (Taiwan). 29 September 2000. Government Information Office. Hilmar J. Arevalo R. "Los inmigrantes chinos en Venezuela." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2003]

World Confederation of Institutes and Libraries for Overseas Chinese Studies (WCILOCS). n.d. "Distribution of the Overseas Chinese Population." [Accessed 3 Mar. 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted

Europa World Year Book 2002

IRB databases

Unsuccessful attempts in contacting Venezuelan Programme of Action-Education in Human Rights (Programa Venezolano de Educacion-Accion en Derechos Humanos, PROVEA).

World News Connection/Dialog

Internet sites:

Amnesty International

Chinese in/from Latin America

World Factbook

Comite de Familiares de las Víctimas del 27 de Febrero (COFAVIC)

Country Reports

Human Rights Watch

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Migrant Rights International

El Nacional [Caracas]

Notitarde [Valencia, Venezuela]

Programa Venezolano de Educacion-Accion en Derechos Humanos (PROVEA)

Organizacion de Estados Iberoamericanos (OEI)

Organization of American States (OAS)

Sociedad de Chinos-Latinos

Ultimas Noticias [Caracas]

El Universal [Caracas]

UN Population Information Network

Venezuela Analitica [Caracas]

Venezuela, Instituto Nacional de Estadistica (INE)

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