chapter  8
16 Pages

Voluntary associations and ethnic boundaries

According to a 1979 estimate by Willmott (1980), there were 10 million Chinese in various countries of South-east Asia and about two million in the region of Indochina. With more than a million in Vietnam, they accounted for only 3 per cent of the countryʼs total population, and the vast majority of them lived in southern Vietnam, mostly in Saigon. Numbering more than 400,000 in 1970 (Duiker 1983), the Chinese represented 6.8 per cent of the total population of Cambodia, and they were descendants of settlers who came to South-east Asia from the southern coastal provinces of China several centuries ago. Owing to factors such as slow economic and commercial development, lack of seaboard and the inconvenience of internal communications, Laos had the smallest population of Chinese, estimated at 30,000 in 1958 (Purcell 1965).