Cuba marks 170 years of Chinese presence

By on May 31, 2017

Havana, Cuba's Chinatown. (Photo: tomcensani/Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)
Havana, Cuba’s Chinatown. (Photo: tomcensani/Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

HAVANA, May 31 — Celebrations marking 170 years of Chinese presence in Cuba kicked off on Tuesday at Havana’s Chinatown with a Wushu martial arts demonstration.

Wushu enthusiasts displayed their skills at the gateway to Chinatown, home to Chinese cultural centers and social clubs.

The week-long celebration marks the arrival of Cuba’s first Chinese immigrants in June 1847, with a ship from Guangzhou, the capital of south China’s Guangdong province.

“For Cubans, the Chinese and their descendants, this 170th anniversary is a very important date,” said Gustavo Chui, a retired army general of Chinese descent.

“Since 1847, we have been celebrating the arrival in Cuba of the first Chinese, who came as slaves, like thousands of deceived blacks from Africa,” added Chui.

Cuba’s Chinese community has had a role in the country’s history, joining in the struggle for independence and later championing revolutionary goals.

“Several generations of Chinese who emigrated to the island participated in Cuba’s independence movement and wars and never betrayed their second homeland,” said Chui.

Events have been scheduled throughout the week, including book presentations, conferences, art expositions and workshops.

On Saturday, a cultural gala, titled “Beautiful Tianjin,” will take place at Cuba’s National Theater, featuring a delegation of artists from China’s city of Tianjin.

Havana’s Chinatown, which covers some 40 blocks in the city’s central area, is one of the largest in Latin America, and has undergone a process of restoration and renovation since 1999. (Xinhua)