Matt Yglesias is in the Chinese city of Yiwu.
It's hard to know what kind of random bits of anecdata can shed light on the overall situation in such a big country as China, but one telling incident is that when we arrived in Yiwu our hosts explained that the city is noteworthy for being home to about 10,000 foreigners. And indeed as I saw walking around earlier tonight they have what they call an "Exotic Street" full of foreign (mostly Muslim) businesses and a few other such places in the vicinity. But when you get right down to it, there are 1.2 million people in Yiwu so we're talking about a foreign population of about one percent.
In the United States, of course, that would be the mark of an extremely immigrant-free city. But China is a sufficiently homogeneous place that it counts as a marker of openness to foreigners. It goes to show that even though the US and China are similar in being rather gigantic, fairly inward-looking (some might say solipsistic) places, that we exist on very different points on this continuum.
As a point of comparison, around 35 percent of people in Los Angeles County were born outside the United States.
In a followup post, he adds:
As a coda to yesterday's post on Chinese homogeneity it's worth noting the counterargument that China has a great deal of internal diversity. The total non-Han population is a pretty small share of the whole, but it constitutes a kaleidoscope of different ethnic groups. And among the Han Chinese there are a number of different spoken languages that have their own regional sub-variations, different cuisines, etc. Vienna in the late-Habsburg era would have been a city almost entirely populated of people born inside the Habsburg lands, and yet also a reasonably diverse place with all kinds of internal migrants who spoke different native tongues.