Author Paul French has added yet another subject to his long list of current and historical affairs with his latest book Gypsies of Shanghai: The Roma Community of Late 1930s and 1940s Shanghai and Their Role in the City’s Entertainment Industry. The book is small and cheap, Paul adds on his weblog, but it illustrates the amazing diversity of pre-war Shanghai.
I’ve worked for some time trying to find traces of the old Roma community of Shanghai. The Roma of Shanghai in the first half of the twentieth century are a significantly under-researched community, not falling easily into any official classifications and also suffering the prejudices and discrimination common to the Roma in our own time too. However, there was a thriving Roma community in old Shanghai that was engaged in business and the entertainment industry and while we may not have as much information on them as we do on other groups of Shanghailanders they are no less important in understanding the total ethnic make up of the city, its International Settlement and French Concession.
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