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How Ecuador became an escape route for Chinese fleeing Xi Jinping's regime to the United States

How Ecuador became an escape route for Chinese fleeing Xi Jinping's regime to the United States


Chinese migrants leave Ecuador for the United States to seek refuge.  (Reuters/Adrée Latif)
Chinese migrants leave Ecuador for the United States to seek refuge. (Reuters/Adrée Latif)

Ecuador has become a key point on the migratory route of citizens chino pants to the United States. The visa waiver policy facilitates the entry of these migrants into the country. From there, the Chinese begin their dangerous journey through Colombia, to the northern border of Ecuador, passing through the Darin jungle. Political repression and harsh economic conditions in China pushed 50,000 Chinese migrants to enter Ecuador in 2023 alone. Of them, half left the country.

The journey to escape the Chinese regime, led by Xi Jinping, can last months. Those who dare to leave the country must cross the continent. The trip can cost thousands of dollars. Many choose to fly to Istanbul, Turkey, or Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, then travel to Ecuador, one of the few Latin American countries to allow visa-free entry for Chinese citizens. The dangerous and tense journey to reach the United States is made primarily by land.

In a newspaper article The Guardian It chronicles the risky and desperate journey of Xu and other Chinese citizens who emigrate to the United States through the Darin Gap, a jungle between Colombia and Panama considered one of the most dangerous areas that migrants primarily pass through Venezuelans, Haitians and Ecuadorians, although recently. The number of Chinese travelers has increased, according to reports from Panamanian authorities. Migrants are fleeing China mainly because of political repression. Difficulties in travel, including dangerous conditions and the risk of violence, are an option for those seeking opportunities away from the regime.

Chinese citizens are fleeing Xi Jinping's repression.  They are also motivated by the economic crisis and the lack of jobs (Sputnik/AlexanderRyumin/Pool).
Chinese citizens are fleeing Xi Jinping's repression. They are also motivated by the economic crisis and the lack of jobs (Sputnik/AlexanderRyumin/Pool).

As Infobae report, migrants seeking to arrive irregularly in the United States from Ecuador, travel by bus to Colombia and then to Necocl, on Colombia's northern border, with the ultimate intention of crossing the Darin Gap. From there, they will pass through at least six countries before reaching the southern border of the United States.

A report from Wilson Center mentions a significant change in immigration routes for Chinese citizens to the United States. Historically, Chinese people entered the North American country via educational programs or H1-B work visas. However, more and more Chinese citizens are coming to the United States by crossing the southern border and seeking political asylum, out of fear of Xi Jinping's authoritarian government. According to the document, restrictions on visa issuance during the pandemic have made it difficult to obtain work and tourist visas, which has generated an increase in migration across the southern border.

China's economic woes, such as low GDP growth and high youth unemployment, are also driving this migration flow.. Upon arrival in the United States, many Chinese migrants seek asylum and integrate into established Chinese communities, where they find support and resources. Despite mixed opinions within these pre-existing communities, the approval rate for Chinese citizens' asylum applications is quite high.

TikTok has become one of the ways coyotes capture migrants and take them on risky journeys to the United States.
TikTok has become one of the ways coyotes capture migrants and take them on risky journeys to the United States.

In the first nine months of 2023, 22,187 arrests of Chinese citizens crossing the border from Mexico were reported, significantly higher than in previous years. Migrants, often from the middle class, invest large sums of money in their trips, notably using social networks. Tic Tacto plan and carry out your itineraries.

Migrants who arrive in Ecuador from China choose to establish businesses in the country or hire human traffickers who take them to the United States. On TikTok, like Infobae report, coyotes offer safe land travel. Records of entries and exits of Chinese citizens in Ecuador are clear proof of this. According to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported by Glass codebetween 2013 and 2023, approximately 57,000 Ecuadorian residence or work visas were granted to Chinese citizens.

The report of Wilson Center says that while the arrival of migrants can boost the local economy through spending, it also poses challenges in terms of security and public services. In this scenario, international collaboration becomes essential to effectively and humanely manage migratory flows, which implies the need for concerted migration policies and strengthening border security, adapting to the influence of social networks in planning. and the execution of these population movements in the digital age. Concerning the latter, the report specifies that: While social media can help provide migrants with valuable information about their journey, it can also give an inaccurate picture of the dangers they will face..

Chinese migrants queue to board a boat bound for Lajas Blancas after crossing the Darin jungle on foot.  (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko/File)
Chinese migrants queue to board a boat bound for Lajas Blancas after crossing the Darin jungle on foot. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko/File)

In a report published by Algeria It is stated that there are VIP routes, through the jungle of Darin, guided by the Clan del Golfo, a Colombian cartel dedicated to drug trafficking. This allows them to make a faster and less exhausting trip, but at higher prices. Depending on the platforms Insightful crime Yes Open democracyin Darin they operate on the Colombian side Gulf Clan also known as the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia and, on the Panamanian side, small criminal gangs that subjected migrants to a regime of aggression and violence. These criminal organizations control human trafficking networks, threaten them, exploit them, attack them or use them as drug transporters.

The security platform estimates that migrants paid up to $440 to be transported from Necocl, a municipality in the Gulf of Urab, to Carreto, a Panamanian city across the border. In other cases, migrants paid between $310 and $350 to travel from Necocl to Acand or Capurgan, in Choc, near the border with Panama. The Gulf Clan demands a 20% tax on guides and communities who guide migrants across the Darin. The estimate is that Members of this organization receive 125 USD for each migrant. If this calculation is correct, the Gulf Clan gets $57 million per year.

Despite the complexity and danger of this journey, Chinese migrants continue to view Ecuador as an essential departure point to the United States. The importance of the Latin American country in this context was revealed by a complaint regarding the presence of a Chinese clandestine police operating from a Quito hotel. The alerts were raised in 2022, when a human rights organization said Xi Jinping had installed dozens of spy agencies in several countries around the world as part of his Fox Hunt campaign, to force the return dissidents of the regime.




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