Chinese Migrants in Italy: Positive Integration Experience or a Challenging Factor?

Ksenia G. Muratshina – PhD, Associate Professor at the Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Ural Federal University. 620000, Yekaterinburg, Lenina ave, 51. E-mail:
Ksenia M. Tabarintseva-Romanova – PhD, Associate Professor at the Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Ural Federal University. 620000, Yekaterinburg, Lenina ave, 51. E-mail:
Yana I. Mukhamadiyeva – 4th year student at the Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Ural Federal University. 620000, Yekaterinburg, Lenina ave, 51. E-mail:
Вся статья: 

DOI 10.24833/2071-8160-2018-3-60-89-103 (Read the article in PDF)

This paper analyses the situation, caused by the growing labour migration from China to Italy. In the beginning of the paper, the authors give a short outline of multiculturalism policy and its specific features in Italy. In spite of sustainable ethno-religious tolerance of Italian society (conditioned by the historical and geographical factors, such as longterm fragmentation of Italian state, the presence of a large number of ethnic minorities in a rather small area, intensive North-South internal migration), the multiculturalism policy, imposed by the European Union, has not been accustomed in this country. The reasons for it were the growth of unemployment rate, economic crisis, migration crisis, that started after 2008. The latter showed the disrespect, demonstrated by migrants to basic human rights and freedoms, and contempt to European culture and traditions, which induced the increasing discontent among Italian citizens.

Then, the paper provides an overview on Italian-Chinese relations and a detailed analysis of problems, related to Chinese migration in Italy. Chinese migrants form a considerable diaspora in this country, living in isolated, almost self-governed communities, claiming for their rights and participating in a variety of criminal activities. The authors define the reasons for the formation of this trend and analyse the way, how the problem is being dealt with.

Key words: Italy, China, labour migrants, migration policy, social tensions.

1. Glazunov O. N. Kitaiskaia razvedka [Chinese intelligence]. Moscow, Algortim – EKSMO Publ., 2008. 256 p. (in Russian).
2. Govorova N. V. Migranty na rynke truda Evropeiskogo soiuza [Migrants in the labour market of the European Union]. Sovremennaia Evropa – Modern Europe, 2015, no. 4 (64), pp. 41–46. DOI: 10.15211/soveurope420154146 (in Russian).
3. Maslova E. A. Italija: obrazovanie i jekonomicheskoe razvitie [Italy: education and economic development]. Sovremennaia Evropa – Modern Europe, 2014, no. 4 (60), pp. 61–69. DOI: 10.15211/soveurope420146169 (in Russian).
4. Mikhailenko V. I., Tabarintseva-Romanova K. M. Itogi predsedatel’stva Italii v ES: vtoroi semestr 2014 [Results of the Italian presidency of the EU: the second semester of 2014]. Sovremennaia Evropa – Modern Europe, 2015, no. 5 (65), pp. 28-40 (in Russian).
5. Potemkina O. Iu. «Evropeiskaia povestka dnia po migratsii» – novyi povorot v immigratsionnoi politike ES? [“European agenda on migration” - a new turn in the EU immigration policy?]. Sovremennaia Evropa – Modern Europe, 2015, no. 4 (64), pp. 28-40 (in Russian).
6. Asian Migrants and European Labour Markets. Ed. by Spaan E., Hillmann F. and Naerssen van T. New York, Routledge Publ., 2005. 360 p.
7. Becucci S. La criminalità cinese in Italia. Quaderni di sociologia. 2011. pp. 43–65. Available at: http://journals.openedition. org/qds/610/ (accessed: 11.12.2017).
8. Bradley W. Is There a Post-Multiculturalism? Shiga, Afrasian Research Centre, 2009. 32 p.
9. Chen C. Made in Italy (by the Chinese): migration and the rebirth of textiles and apparel. Journal of Modern Italian Studies. 2015. vol. 20, no. 1. pp. 111–126. DOI: 1X.2014.973160
10. Chung H., Luciano B. The dis/locat/ ing migrant as an agent of transposition: Borensztein’s Un cuento chino and Segre’s Io sono Li. Studies in European Cinema. 2014. vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 191-211. DOI: 10.1080/17411548.2014. 972671
11. Dei Ottati G. A transnational fast fashion industrial district: an analysis of the Chinese businesses in Prato. Cambridge Journal of Economics. 2014. vol. 38. pp. 1247–1274. DOI:10.1093/cje/ beu015
12. Godement F. et al. China and the Mediterranean: Open for business? European Council on Foreign Relations, 21.06.2017. Available at: summary/china_and_the_mediterranean_ open_for_business (accessed: 14.10.2017). 13. Hatziprokopiou P., Montagna N. Contested Chinatown: Chinese migrants’ incorporation and the urban space in London and Milan. Ethnicities. 2012. vol. 12(6). pp. 706–729. DOI: 10.1177/1468796811434909
14. Hellstro¨m J. China’s Acquisitions in Europe. European Perceptions of Chinese Investments and Their Strategic Implications. Swedish Defense Research Academy Report. December 2016. № FOI-R- -4384--SE. 60 р.
15. L’emigrazione degli italiani: dai picchi del dopoguerra ai nuovi flussi[Электронный ресурс]. URL: lemigrazione-degli-italiani-dai-picchidel- dopoguerra-ai-nuovi-flussi/(/дата обращения: 02.05.2018).
16. Mazzenzana S., Motta S., Nicolini R. Quarto rapporto sulle aree settentrionali, per la presidenza della commissione parlamentare di inchiesta sul fenomeni mafioso // Osservatorio sulla criminalità organizzata. Available at: uploads/Quarto-Rapporto-sullearee- settentrionali.pdf/ (accessed: 09.02.2018).
17. Mleczko A. Identity Formation as a Contemporary Adaptation Strategy. European Education. 2010. vol. 42, no. 4. pp. 25–48. DOI 10.2753/EUE1056- 4934420402
18. Sanfilippo M. Chinese Investments in Italy: Facing Risks and Grasping Opportunities. Istituto Affari Internazionali, 2014. no. 19. 31 p. Available at: http:// pdf/ (accessed: 21.12.2017).
19. Taggart S. Italian Relations with China 1978–1992: The Long Carnival Decade – Burgeoning Trade and Diplomatic Kudos, Cahiers de la Mediterranee. 2014. No. 88. Available at: https:// (accessed: 06.01.2018).
20. Wu B., Liu H. Bringing class back in: class consciousness and solidarity among Chinese migrant workers in Italy and the UK. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 2014. vol. 37, no. 8. pp. 1391–1408, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2012.715660.