The integration of ethnic Koreans in Yanbian Prefecture (China), ca. 1890‒present

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In this chapter we look at five measures of ethnic Korean integration in Yanbian 延邊 prefecture (China) over the past century. First, we find that the number and socio-economic background of new migrants have varied little over time. Yet, partly due to Chinese policy, return migration was much higher at the end of the twentieth century than at the beginning. Second, even though ethnic mixing, e.g., through intermarriage increased, rates remained low. Third, throughout the twentieth century Koreans had on average higher levels of education than Han Chinese. Fourth, their occupational position converged with that of Han Chinese in the second half of the twentieth century. Fifth, we find that their position was strengthened by geo-politics, closeness to Korea, and the clustering of Koreans in Yanbian. Overall, the conclusion is that the long-term settlement process produced mixed results, with structural (socio-economic) integration being well advanced, whereas identificational integration was limited.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNortheast Asia in Focus: Life, work and industry between the steppe and the metropoles, 1900-2020
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in commemoration of Flemming Christiansen's retirement
PublisherIN-EAST Institute of East Asian Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • China
  • Yanbian
  • migration
  • Korea


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