Chinese Surinamese

Chinese Surinamese
Chinese Surinamese
Chinees uithangbord - Paramaribo4.png
Chinese sign in Paramaribo (1947).
Total population
about 40,000 (2011)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Paramaribo · Wanica

Hakka Chinese

Related ethnic groups

Chinese Caribbean

Chinese Surinamese are residents of Suriname with a Chinese background. Chinese Surinamese are a small part of the Surinamese people. The majority of the Chinese Surinamese consider Hakka, Dongguan or Meixian as their ancestral homes.

Many Chinese Surinamese are active in the retail and business community. Six percent of the Chinese in the Netherlands are from Suriname.


Contract Workers

In 1853 planters in Suriname feared a labor shortage when slavery was abolished. They asked the government to recruit other workers from abroad.

The government of Java recruited a group of 18 Chinese for contract labor in the Catharina Sophia plantation in Saramacca. Because of the high acquisition costs it was decided to get a second group, not from Java, but from China instead. In 1858, 500 Chinese laborers were recruited by the Dutch consul in Macau. They arrived in Suriname in April, but it turned out that no one wanted to hire slaves for as long as nothing would work.

This was concluded contract outside the Chinese to change by Governor Charles Pierre Schimpf in favor of the tenants. The Chinese were totally treated like slaves. When they were revolts were, without due process, contrary to existing regulations, the police cane strokes punished, an unlawful act that is repeated again and again.

An interpellation (formal request for information) to the Minister of Colonies Jan Jacob Rochussen did not help.

In the 1850s and 1860s, about 2,500 Chinese people went to Suriname. Most were employed as contract laborers on the plantations. After their contracts were trading in many, mostly in food retail.

Later immigrants

Others came to Suriname as free laborers, traders and shop assistants, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. Further large numbers came in the 1990s. In 2007 there were over 70,000 Chinese in Suriname, and the immigration is still continuing. The rapidly growing demand from China to Suriname as wood and minerals is very attractive to Chinese businesses. The new Chinese migrants from northern China are known in Suriname as "salt-Chinese".

Since the 1960s, thousands of Chinese have emigrated to the Netherlands from Suriname.

The Chinese names in medium-sized long a prominent position and their mostly well-educated offspring of mixed blood or Chinese blood in various social sectors. Also, the Surinamese people accepted various applications of Chinese origin.

Notable people

Surinamese of Chinese origin

  • Anton Jie Sam Foek, first broadcast on Hilversum correspondent in Latin America
  • Roy Ho-Ten-Sung, the first foreign mayor of the Netherlands

Dutch people of Chinese-Surinamese origin


  1. ^ Romero, Simon (April 10, 2011). "With Aid and Migrants, China Expands Its Presence in a South American Nation". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  • Ankum-Houwink, J.C., De migratie van Chinezen naar Suriname, (z.p. ca. 1972).
  • Ankum-Houwink, J.C., Chinese kontraktarbeiders in Suriname in de 19e eeuw, OSO, 4 (2), 1985, 181-186.
  • Groenfelt, E., Impressies van de Chinese gemeenschap in Suriname: enkele culturele aspecten van Chinezen in Suriname, (z.p. 1995).
  • Kom, Anton de, Wij slaven van Suriname, 1934
  • Lamur, H.E., en J.A. Vriezen, Chinese kontraktanten in Suriname, OSO, 4 (2), 1985, 169-179.
  • Man A Hing, W.L., The Hakkas in Surinam, in: The proceedings of the international conference on Hakkaology, (Hong Kong 1994), 189-195.
  • Tseng, F., De grote oversteek: het lot van de Surinaamse Chinezen, China Nu 16 (4), 1991, 16-18.
  • Zijlmans, G.C. en H.A. Enser, De Chinezen in Suriname. een geschiedenis van immigratie en aanpassing 1853-2000, ISBN 90-806479-3-4.

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