Journal of Chinese Overseas

Journal of Chinese Overseas
Volume 2, Number 1, May 2006

CONTENTS

Articles

    Chan, Brenda.
  • Virtual Communities and Chinese National Identity
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    Subject Headings:
    • China -- Emigration and immigration.
    • Singapore -- Emigration and immigration.
    • Chinese -- Singapore -- Ethnic identity.
    Abstract:
      With the implementation of economic reforms in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the relaxation of restrictions on foreign travel, a new wave of overseas migration from mainland China has taken place. Compared to the earlier waves of Chinese emigrants who were semi-literate peasants and craftsmen, many new Chinese migrants are highly educated professionals and are extremely mobile. While the earlier Chinese migrants were mostly from southern provinces in China and organized their voluntary associations based on native-place or blood ties, new Chinese migrants hail from different regions in China, and would build social organizations of different configurations. Besides setting up voluntary organizations offline, these new Chinese migrants are also forming cybercommunities on the Internet. This article investigates whether virtual communities formed by new Chinese migrants also offer identity options to migrants in terms of ethnicity and national belonging, as offline immigrant associations do. It does so by examining the varieties of Chinese national identities articulated in cyberspace and in the offline activities of two virtual communities formed by new Chinese migrants who are working and studying in Singapore. I argue that virtual communities formed by migrants may or may not offer distinct identity options to their members in terms of ethnic or national belonging. Virtual communities with very diverse user profiles may offer more distinct identity options for their members as a strategy in attracting and retaining members, compared to virtual communities with a more homogeneous membership.
    St. André, James.
  • You Can Never Go Home Again": Cultural Memory and Identity Formation in the Writing of Southeast Asian Chinese
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    Subject Headings:
    • Southeast Asian literature -- Chinese authors -- History and criticism.
    • Culture in literature
    • Ethnicity in literature.
    Abstract:
      The persistence of memory as a trope in works by Chinese writers in Southeast Asia demonstrates that the sense of identity among Chinese in this area is constantly being interrogated and re-negotiated. This article argues that literary texts are one important constituent factor of collective cultural memory, a purposeful activity undertaken to influence social reality. Even as they foreground the issue of an individual's memory of Chinese culture, they are themselves a type of memorializing practice which seeks to preserve certain types of cultural memory and thus shape the individual's identity. In comparing the works of Singaporean and Malaysian writers, I find a rather stark contrast between the figures used to conceptualize China, Chinese culture, and memory. I argue that Singaporean writers use certain figures to reify Chinese culture and determine its unchanging essence, whereas Malaysian Chinese often have a more fluid view of culture. I then consider some of the ramifications for the use of natural metaphors by the Malaysian writers, which I see as participating in a type of wishful colonial mentality, quite distinct from the historical reality of indentured labor and political disempowerment of the ethnic Chinese in the modern nation state of Malaysia. I conclude by proposing the use of "trunk" as a metaphor for cultural memory and identity formation.
    Lien, Pei-te, 1957-
  • Transnational Homeland Concerns and Participation in US Politics: A Comparison among Immigrants from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong
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    Subject Headings:
    • Chinese Americans -- Politics and government.
    • Taiwanese Americans -- Politics and government.
    Abstract:
      This study addresses the scholarly debate between assimilation and transnationalism through analyses of public opinion data collected mainly in California and from residents of Chinese descent whose families originated from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in Asia. It explores the empirical relationship between Chinese Americans' concern about the political condition of the ethnic homelands in Asia and their patterns of political participation in the United States. Not all transnational concerns are equal. This study distinguishes between the democratic-oriented and nationalist-oriented transnational political behavior. It also separates voting registration from other types of political participation. A main argument of this study is that the relationship between political assimilation and transnational linkages depends both on the nature of the transnational political concern and on the type of political participation. Transnational political concerns are found to influence the degree of participation in regime-influence (e.g. making campaign contributions) but not system-support (e.g. voting registration) acts. Also, only those homeland concerns that are consistent with US foreign policy interests such as regarding the democratic future of Hong Kong after the 1997 transition are found to have a positive impact on participation.
    Huang, Jianli.
  • Entanglement of Business and Politics in the Chinese Diaspora: Interrogating the Wartime Patriotism of Aw Boon Haw
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hu, Wenhu, 1882-1954 -- Political and social views.
    • Business and politics -- China -- History -- 20th century.
    • Businessmen -- China -- Hong Kong -- Biography.
    • Journalists -- China -- Hong Kong -- Biography.
    Abstract:
      This article focuses on the wartime experiences of Aw Boon Haw who was the renowned billionaire peddler of the Tiger Balm ointment and owner of an influential chain of regional newspapers. After the Sino-Japanese War broke out in July 1937, he traveled from Singapore to the wartime Chinese capital of Chongqing to meet up with Chiang Kai-shek and his Guomindang leaders. But soon after, he opted to stay in Hong Kong throughout the occupation period and became closely associated with the Japanese-sponsored government of Wang Jingwei, even making a trip to Tokyo to meet the Japanese Prime Minister. When the war ended, amidst accusations of him having been a traitor who collaborated with the occupation authorities, he switched his loyalty back to China and the British colonial settlements and resumed his business operations and philanthropic activities.

      This wartime experience of Aw brings into sharp relief the sort of political entanglement which prominent Chinese overseas business people can be entrapped in. Suspicions about his wartime patriotism initially hounded him and he had to issue denials. However, in the midst of confusion over the outbreak of the Chinese Civil War and the American reversal of occupation policy in Japan, there was an absence of formal governmental or public actions, allowing the issue to fade away and Aw's business and charity to return to normalcy. It was more than 30 years later, at the height of the economic reopening of Communist mainland China and the renewed importance of Chinese overseas capital in the 1980s and 1990s, that Aw's wartime patriotism was re-examined, this time calculated to pass a new and presumably last verdict that Aw had been most unfairly judged and that he was actually an iconic true overseas Chinese patriot. This posthumous honor was conferred on him despite the fact that the supposedly new empirical evidence was far from conclusive. It was an act of political restoration in semiacademic garb and enacted with an eye to facilitating further business ties between a resurgent China and the Chinese diaspora.

    Ichikawa, Tetsu.
  • Chinese in Papua New Guinea: Strategic Practices in Sojourning
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    Subject Headings:
    • Chinese -- Papua New Guinea -- Social conditions.
    • Chinese -- Papua New Guinea -- Economic conditions.
    • Chinese -- Papua New Guinea -- Ethnic identity.
    • National characteristics, Chinese.
    Abstract:
      This is a study of the Chinese migrants in Papua New Guinea, especially those who have arrived since 1975. While the earlier Chinese migrants were from Guangdong, the recent Chinese new comers have hailed not only from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, but also Hong Kong, Taiwan and various parts of mainland China. The article analyses the strategic practices of these recent migrants in deciding whether to settle down or to re-migrate, especially to Australia. It discusses why some decide to settle, including acquiring PNG nationality to help them avoid the restrictions on foreigners doing business, while others decide to re-migrate. In both cases, the choice is based on strategic decisions and influenced by domestic conditions and transnational considerations.

Report

    Guerassimoff, Carine.
  • Gender and Migration Networks: New Approaches to Research on Chinese Migration to France and Europe
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    Subject Headings:
    • Women immigrants -- Social networks -- Europe -- History.
    • Women immigrants -- Social networks -- France -- History.
    • China -- Emigration and immigration -- History.
    • Europe -- Emigration and immigration -- History.
    • France -- Emigration and immigration -- History.

Book Reviews

    Zhang, Ning.
  • Qiaowu yu waijiao guanxi yanjiu: Zhongguo fangqi “shuangchong guoji” de huigu yu fansi (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cheng, Xi. Qiaowu yu waijiao guanxi yanjiu: Zhongguo fangqi “shuangchong guoji” de huigu yu fansi.
    • Chinese -- Foreign countries.
    Liu, Haiming, 1953-
  • The Chinese Diaspora: Space, Place, Mobility, and Identity (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ma, Laurence J. C., 1937-, ed. Chinese diaspora: space, place, mobility, and identity.
    • Cartier, Carolyn L., ed.
    • Chinese -- Foreign countries.
    Fitzgerald, John, 1951-
  • East by South: China in the Australasian Imagination (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ferrall, Charles, ed. East by South: China in the Australasian imagination.
    • Millar, Paul, ed.
    • Smith, Keren, 1961-, ed.
    • Chinese -- Australia.
    Freedman, Amy L.
  • Ethnic Relations and Nation-Building in Southeast Asia. The Case of the Ethnic Chinese (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Suryadinata, Leo, ed. Ethnic relations and nation-building in Southeast Asia: the case of the ethnic Chinese.
    • Southeast Asia -- Ethnic relations.



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