A human drama unfolds while growing up economic crisis and relentless political repression pushed the Chinese to make the perilous journey to the United States border in search of asylum.
At the center of this odyssey is Deng Guangsena 28-year-old, who traveled thousands of miles from Guangdong, China, facing obstacles that included seven countries and the inhospitable jungle of the Darien Gap in Panama.
Deng was just one of many Chinese who chose this route to seek refuge. In the first nine months of 2023, they became the fourth nationality to cross the Darien Gap, after Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Haitians.
Chinese asylum seekers, as well as observers, point out that the motivation behind this exodus lies in a repressive political climate and a bleak economic outlook in his homeland. They became desperate to find a way to escape.
China’s economic crisis, marked by a struggling recovery and high youth unemployment, has added to the desperation of its citizens. the United Nations They project that China will lose 310,000 people due to migration by 2023, compared to 120,000 in 2012.
This wave of migration became a phenomenon known as “runxue”, a term that originated as a way to avoid censorship in China. Now, it has become an internet meme, reflecting the hopelessness of the country’s future.
In this search for a new beginning, the Chinese turned to dangerous and expensive routes. The most common route is through Ecuador, which does not require a visa for Chinese citizens. From there, they joined the Latin Americans in traveling north, facing the inhospitable forest of Darien and passing through several Central American countries before reaching the border of the United States.
The number of Chinese migrants crossing the Darien is increasing, and the numbers recorded are staggering. In the first nine months In 2023, Panamanian immigration authorities documented 15,567 Chinese citizens crossing the jungle, compared to 376 total between 2010 and 2021.
The exodus of Chinese to the United States has become a frightening reality, driven by desperation and the search for a better future. Despite the risks and challenges, these migrants see their journey as the only option to escape the dark horizon of their homeland.