Chinese people in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Chinese
斯里蘭卡的華人
ශ්රී ලාංකික චීන
இலங்கை சீனர்கள்
Total population
~3,500
(less than 0.20% of the population) (2001)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Majority: Colombo
Minority: Negombo, Kandy, Kurunegala, Matugama, Galle and Trincomalee[2]
Languages
Sinhalese, Tamil and English
and historically Hakka, Cantonese and other varieties of Chinese
Religion
Theravada Buddhism[3]
Related ethnic groups
Chinese people in India and Southeast Asia and Sinhalese people

Chinese people in Sri Lanka or Sri Lankan Chinese[4] (Sinhalese: ශ්රී ලාංකික චීන), (Tamil: இலங்கை சீனர்கள்) are Sri Lankans of full or partial Chinese descent born or raised in Sri Lanka. They trace their origins to Hakka and Cantonese migrants from the southern coastal regions of China and other Han migrants from Hubei and Shandong who migrated to Sri Lanka in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.[5] Their population is small and is estimated to be around 3500.

Intermarriage between indigenous Sri Lankan, mostly Sinhalese women, and ethnic Chinese men is very common and they have adopted the culture, language and integrated into broader Sri Lankan society.[6][7][4] Approximately 80% of Sri Lankan Chinese live in Colombo and are mainly involved in the dental trade, textile retail, hotel and restaurant industry.[8] In the past, some younger generations of Sri Lankan Chinese left the country due to political instability.[7] Additionally, a fair amount of Sri Lankan Chinese have at times migrated to other countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.[4]


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