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Commemorative plaque inaugurated in Paris Center to honor first Chinese migrants******
A commemorative plaque was inaugurated on Saturday in Paris Center by Paris City Hall to honor the first Chinese migrants who came to Paris after WWI.
According to Ariel Weil, the mayor of Paris Center, the plaque is to remind people of the contributions of the Chinese community in France during the WWI, and also to show the efforts of the Chinese migrants in promoting the culture and economy of Paris.
"A plaque was missing, something was missing that explains this story," Weil told Xinhua at the inauguration ceremony.
"It won't be the only one and it's the beginning of the inscription of the history of the Chinese community in France and Paris, in our heritage and on our walls," he said.
Asking about the choice of Paris Center to host the plaque, Sun Wenxiong, chairman of the French Asian League, said that Paris Center is one of the areas with a strong cultural atmosphere in Paris, and the Chinese culture can be unique in a place where biculturalism converges.
"Many Chinese have left their hardships here and made contributions to the development of this place. We believe that the establishment of the commemorative plaque will enable the local people to understand the contributions of the Chinese to Europe and France, and is conducive to the integration and development of the Chinese culture," he added.
From May 1916 to early 1918, there were around 140,000 Chinese laborers serving for the Allies during WWI. Most of them were recruited by Britain and France.
The Chinese workers, known as Chinese Labor Corps, were assigned to arduous work such as digging trenches, building docks, laying tracks, unloading ships, repairing tanks and clearing battlefields. Their logistic support was critical to the Allied armies in the west front.
Out of the 140,000 Chinese laborers, nearly 20,000 were dead or missing during the war.
After the war, some of them stayed and lived in the center of Paris and participated in the post-war reconstruction of France, making important contributions to the economic development and cultural diversity of the neighborhood.
Japan looks to accept more foreigners in key policy shift******
In a major shift for a country long closed to immigrants, Japan is looking to allow foreigners in certain blue-collar jobs to stay indefinitely starting as early as the 2022 fiscal year, a justice ministry official said.。
Under a law enacted in 2019, a category of "specified skilled workers" in 14 sectors such as farming, nursing and sanitation have been granted visas but stays have been limited to five years and without family members for workers in all but the construction and shipbuilding sectors.。
Companies had cited restrictions among reasons they were hesitant to hire, and the government had been looking to ease restrictions in the other fields.。
If the revision takes effect, such workers – many from Vietnam and China – would be allowed to renew their visas indefinitely and bring their families with them.。
Top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno stressed any change would not mean automatic permanent residency.。
Immigration has long been taboo but pressure has mounted to open up borders due to an acute labor shortage given its dwindling and ageing population.。
"As the shrinking population becomes a more serious problem and if Japan wants to be seen as a good option for overseas workers, it needs to communicate that it has the proper structure in place to welcome them," said Toshihiro Menju, managing director of think tank Japan Center for International Exchange.。