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Members of the Chinese community in India, gather at the 'city gates' as they perform a dragon dance during the celebration of the Lunar New Year in Chinatown in Kolkata, India, on Feb. 2, 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)

Chinatowns: A Little Bit Of Beijing, Wherever You Are

by Krishnadev Calamur
Oct 19, 2013

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A girl watches the Spring Festival celebration in the Chinatown section of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Feb. 16. A girl watches the Spring Festival celebration in the Chinatown of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Feb. 16. An unidentified Chinese man walks past a Cuban bicycle taxi and the main entrance of the Cuban Wushu Association of Havana's Chinatown on May 23, 2006. Fewer than 150 elderly Chinese immigrants remain in Havana. The Chinese presence in Cuba dates back to 1847, when a group of 200 immigrants from Canton province arrived on a Spanish ship to work on the island's sugarcane plantations. A worker burns large incense sticks during the celebration of the Lunar New Year of the Tiger at a temple in the Chinatown in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Feb. 14, 2010. Performers participate in the "Kaleidoscope of Lanterns" light-up ceremony held at Singapore's Chinatown on Sept. 7.

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Krishnadev Calamur

This story about the once-thriving Chinatown in Kolkata, India, caught our eye. Chinese migrants arrived in the area in the 19th century. As recently as 2000, there were 10,000 Chinese living there. That number is now 2,000.

But as Deutsche Welle reports that there is an effort to reverse the trend.

"Earlier this year, following representations by some eminent citizens and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, a proposal was sent to restore and renovate Chinatown and promote tourism there," the report said. "The local government has also agreed to partner in the project."

It's still not clear how this will play out, but it made us want to check in on some other places with Chinatowns.

There is, of course, the Chinatown in Lagos, Nigeria, that NPR's Frank Langfitt reported on in 2011. But many of the Chinatowns in unlikely places have seen better days — such as this one in Havana.

But others are thriving, such as this one in Jakarta, Indonesia...

... and this one in Johannesburg, South Africa...

... and the one in Singapore.

Do you have a favorite Chinatown? Let us know in the comments below.

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