20 there are many reasons accounting for such a

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20There are many reasons accounting for such ahistorical phenomena in Fujian. Unlike places where the victims are, in the majority,poor, the Fujian case has been somewhat different. According to a 2000Newsweekarticle, smuggled Fujianese were ‘seldom poor and desperate’, but they simplyfollowed the tradition of being ‘eager to get rich’.21There was a myth or tradition to17.Ibid., p. 5.18.Ibid., p. 9.19.Ibid.20.Melinda Liu and Leslie Pappas, ‘Bound for “paradise”; Fujian’s emigration culture is deeply ingrained. Itsmigrants aren’t poor, just eager to get rich’,Newsweek(International Edition), (3 July 2000), p. 21.21.Ibid.HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND SMUGGLING IN CHINA43Downloaded By: [Hong Kong University of Science & Tech] At: 03:18 10 December 2010
go abroad, to earn money and send it back home, and then to become rich amongFujianese peers. There has been pressure from families and society to earn enoughoverseas, to return, and then to become bosses at home. A former glass-factoryworker said, ‘If you don’t have someone who’s found work overseas, you have no“face”’.22Therefore, prestige in the neighborhood has contributed to the illegalsmuggling, which has turned out to be very risky. People have died on route or beendetained in overseas prisons; but deaths have not stopped the smuggling business.Smuggling has been on the international agenda for quite some time. In 1993,human smuggling became a world news item ‘when the Golden Venture, a decrepitfreighter stuffed with 286 Chinese, most from the Changle area in southern China, ranaground off Queens, New York’.23In that incident, ten people died and ‘GoldenVenture’ revealed the prolonged crimes involving an uncountable number ofvictims.24In the early 1990s, the American Immigration and Naturalization Servicereported that 90% of the illegal immigrants in the United States were from Fujian.25Such an overwhelming influx of smuggled persons from one single area had not beenseen before. The ‘snakeheads’ were those in Taiwan and New York City, who hadclose relations with the Fujianese communities in the United States. Also, thesmuggled persons usually enjoyed better living standards at home and could afford topay to go to the United States. They were mostly young and unmarried men.Ten years later, in 2003, the trade still continued, and the cost was US$60,000per head.26By the turn of the twenty-first century, New York’s Chinatown hadwitnessed a significant growth of the Fujianese population. Fujianese opened andworked in shops, restaurants, and employment agencies. They were the ‘new blood’of Chinatown.27A combination of factors enabled the smuggling of Fujianese to theUnitedStates.Thesefactorsincludedeconomicmotivation,thesuccessfulcoordination between smugglers, the work of local recruiters in Fujian, and thegrowth of international transportation networks.

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