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Indians in China

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The Indians in China are migrants from India either British India or modern India and their descendants Historically, Indians played a major role in disseminating Buddhism in China In modern times, there is a large long-standing community of Indians living in Hong Kong, often for descendants with several generations of roots, and a growing population of students, traders, and employees in Mainland China


  • 1 History
    • 11 Antiquity and Middle Ages
    • 12 Colonial Era
    • 13 People's Republic of China
      • 131 Hong Kong
      • 132 Mainland China
        • 1321 Medical Students
  • 2 Indian culture
  • 3 Notable people
    • 31 Ancient
    • 32 Contemporary
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References


Antiquity and Middle Agesedit

In the Records of the Grand Historian, Zhang Qian d 113 BC and Sima Qian 145-90 BC make references to "Shendu", which may have been referring to the Indus Valley the Sindh province in modern Pakistan, originally known as "Sindhu" in Sanskrit When Yunnan was annexed by the Han Dynasty in the first century, Chinese authorities reported an Indian "Shendu" community living there2 After the transmission of Buddhism from India to China from the first century onwards, many Indian scholars and monks travelled to China, such as Batuo fl 464-495 AD—founder of the Shaolin Monastery—and Bodhidharma—founder of Chan/Zen Buddhism

Colonial Eraedit

Indians as well as people from elsewhere in the Portuguese colonial empire were among the crew of the Portuguese ships trading on the Chinese coast beginning in the sixteenth century For example, Galeote Pereira, one of the Portuguese smugglers captured off the Fujian coast in 1549 and exiled to Guangxi, mentions Gujarati servants among his companions3 In the same century Indians from former Portuguese Indian Colonies notably Goa settled in Macau in small numbers 4

The history of the Indians in Hong Kong could be drawn back since the day of British occupation When the Union flag of the United Kingdom was hoisted on 26 January 1841, there were around 2,7005 Indian troops participated They had played an important role for the development of Hong Kong in early days The most mentionable were the contributions of the set up of the University of Hong Kong HKU6 and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation HSBC7 Also, the Star Ferry was founded by Indians in 1888 In 1952, business leaders of the Indian community have founded The Indian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong ICCHK It aimed at promoting and improving the image of India trade in Hong Kong and southern China

In Guyana, many Indian women marry Chinese men due to the lack of Chinese women in the early days of settlement8 Creole sexual relationships and marriages with Chinese and Indians was rare,9 however, more common was Indian women and Chinese men establishing sexual relations with each other and some Chinese men took their Indian wives back with them to China10

People's Republic of Chinaedit

Hong Kongedit

Main article: Indians in Hong Kong

Most Indians stepped into the fields like international companies, banking, airlines, travel agents, medical, media and insurance sector11 The banking and financial sector had the strongest presence of Indian professionals Information technology and telecommunications have also interested highly qualified Indians In the 1950s, tailoring had become an industry that was popular with Indians and around 200 tailoring shops were owned by them at that time

Mainland Chinaedit

The number in the Mainland is growing rapidly with the Sixth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China recording 15,051 Indian nationals living in mainland China as of 20101 Other sources report more with a columnist for the Economic Times stating that the number of Indians in China was 45-48,000 in 201512 Many Indians in China are students, traders and professionals employed with MNCs, Indian companies and banks

There are three Indian community associations in the country13

Medical Studentsedit

There are a total 13,000 Indian students in China as of 201512 Many of them study medicine; a wave of Indian students at Chinese medical universities started in 2003 after reforms made it possible for Chinese credentials to be accepted for qualification in India14 Students from Andhra Pradesh are particularly well represented with 5,000 medical students from that state in China in 20111516

Indian cultureedit

The Indian Embassy has been organising the Festival of India in China over the years An important component of it has been the food festivals held in Indian restaurants, spread over nearly 45 Chinese cities Indian fashion is also very popular among Chinese youths There is a growing awareness about India's ancient civilisation, its religions, languages and culture in Chinese universities

The Chinese government has invited the Swaminarayan Trust that runs the Akshardham temples in Delhi and in Gandhinagar, to build an Akshardham temple A huge piece of land has been earmarked in the Guangdong province, which will not only house the temple but also an Indian cultural centre which will include a traditional Indian music learning centre and also various Indian language teaching centres on this temple premises17

Notable peopleedit


  • Amoghavajra - One of the most politically powerful Buddhist monks in Chinese history
  • Bodhidharma - Buddhist monk credited as the transmitter of Zen to China
  • Bodhiruci - Buddhist monk and esoteric master from India
  • Batuo - First abbot of Shaolin Monastery
  • Kumārajīva - Kuchean Buddhist monk
  • Huili - Indian Buddhist monk and founder of the Lingyin temple
  • Gautama Siddha - Chinese translator, astronomer, astrologer and compiler


  • Dwarkanath Kotnis - One of five Indian physicians dispatched to China during the Second Sino-Japanese War
  • Roy Sagnik - China based Indian-Canadian businessman

See alsoedit

  • Chindian
  • Chinese community in India
  • Hinduism in China
  • Pakistanis in China
  • Sino-Indian relations


  1. ^ a b "Major Figures on Residents from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and Foreigners Covered by 2010 Population Census" National Bureau of Statistics of China April 29, 2011 Archived from the original on May 14, 2011 Retrieved May 3, 2011 
  2. ^ Tan Chung 1998 A Sino-Indian Perspective for India-China Understanding
  3. ^ Boxer, Charles Ralph; Pereira, Galeote; Cruz, Gaspar da; Rada, Martín de 1953, South China in the sixteenth century: being the narratives of Galeote Pereira, Fr Gaspar da Cruz, OP and Fr Martín de Rada, OESA 1550-1575, Issue 106 of Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, Printed for the Hakluyt Society, p 37 
  4. ^ Countries and Their Cultures
  5. ^ Kwok S T, Narain, K 2003Co-Prosperity in Cross-Culturalism: Indians in Hong KongP18
  6. ^ Kwok S T, Narain, K 2003Co-Prosperity in Cross-Culturalism: Indians in Hong KongP32
  7. ^ Kwok S T, Narain, K 2003Co-Prosperity in Cross-Culturalism: Indians in Hong KongP22
  8. ^ Brian L Moore 1995 Cultural Power, Resistance, and Pluralism: Colonial Guyana, 1838-1900 Volume 22 of McGill-Queen's studies in ethnic history illustrated ed McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP pp 272–273 ISBN 077351354X ISSN 0846-8869 Retrieved June 1, 2015 
  9. ^ Brian L Moore 1987 Race, Power, and Social Segmentation in Colonial Society: Guyana After Slavery, 1838-1891 Volume 4 of Caribbean studies illustrated ed Gordon & Breach Science Publishers p 181 ISBN 0677219806 ISSN 0275-5793 Retrieved June 1, 2015 
  10. ^ Brian L Moore 1987 Race, Power, and Social Segmentation in Colonial Society: Guyana After Slavery, 1838-1891 Volume 4 of Caribbean studies illustrated ed Gordon & Breach Science Publishers p 182 ISBN 0677219806 ISSN 0275-5793 Retrieved June 1, 2015 
  11. ^ Kwok S T, Narain, K 2003Co-Prosperity in Cross-Culturalism: Indians in Hong KongP60
  12. ^ a b "India and China need a push to encourage more people to live across the borde" Economic Times May 12, 2015 
  13. ^ : India Times - India is hot in China
  14. ^ http://opinionglobaltimescn/foreign-view/2010-08/558310html
  15. ^ "Indian doctors, made abroad" The Hindu Chennai, India 31 August 2009 
  16. ^ "Medical student from Andhra Pradesh commits suicide in China university" The Hindu Chennai, India 21 May 2011 
  17. ^ First Hindu Temple to be Built in China

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