Dongguan Hakka in Jamaica


Traditionally, Dongguan has remained as one of the most popular hometowns for emigrating Chinese citizens. It’s interesting that Jamaica, a country with just 2.8 million people, has a population of 30,000 Chinese, and over 5,000 of them come from Dongguan. The migrant history dates back to 1854, when 472 contracted Chinese workers from Panama were transferred to Jamaica to work on plantations. Sadly, most of them later died due to poor treatment and a difficult climate. The first uninitiated batch of Chinese who took root in Jamaica left from Macau in 1884 on a ship loaded with 680 Chinese. Most of the travelers were Hakka people from Dongguan’s Fenggang town who were brought to supplement the labor pool. Many of their descendants continued to live in Jamaica and this inspired more and more Fenggang Hakka to venture to the country where they could make a decent living during hard times on the Mainland.

In Kingston’s Chinatown, about 90 percent of the population are Dongguaners who sell daily necessities, thanks to the influence of Zhong Weiting, who arrived in Jamaica in 1976 and built his daily necessity kingdom. During the last few decades, Zhong has been importing loads of competitive commodities from Dongguan and gradually has attracted more Dongguaners to come and do the same business as him in Kingston.