Guiqiao (Returned Overseas Chinese) Identity in the prc


in Journal of Chinese Overseas
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


Beginning in the early 1950s there were tens of thousands of ethnic Chinese who chose to ‘return’ to the People’s Republic of China (prc). Until fairly recently, little attention has been given to the approximately 600,000 ethnic Chinese who chose to immigrate to China from locations throughout Southeast Asia, as well as further afield in the first few decades after the founding of the prc. There were many factors influencing their migration to a country that many had never stepped foot on. However, it is clear that the Chinese state made a concerted attempt to rally the support (capital and immigration) of overseas Chinese communities. Many of the returnees were resettled on one of dozens of ‘Overseas Chinese Farms’ (huaqiao nongchang) scattered throughout the provinces of southern China. Outside of China they were considered ‘Chinese’ and foreign, juxtaposed against the local or ‘indigenous’ identities that had taken shape in tandem with the independence of former colonies in Southeast Asia and the rise of modern nationalism. Upon their ‘return’ to what was, for many, an imagined ancestral homeland — a country many of them had never seen — they were confronted with a different type of discrimination and suspicion than they faced ‘abroad’. This was despite, and in some cases because of, certain favorable policies enacted by the party state to assist in their relocation and assimilation into society. Ironically, some of the same policies that sought to gradually assimilate them into Chinese society actually reinforced their position as ‘permanent outsiders’: the creation of an official ‘huaqiao’ legal status; institutionalized segregation in the form of huaqiao nongchang, huaqiao villages, and huaqiao schools; and a resultant pariah status that did not begin to recede until after the reforms of the late 1970s. While the concept of ‘huaqiao’ (overseas Chinese sojourners) was falling out of use among Chinese communities abroad, the word was taking on a new meaning in the prc, both for the Chinese party state, and for those who would come to self-identify as huaqiao/guiqiao.

Guiqiao (Returned Overseas Chinese) Identity in the prc


in Journal of Chinese Overseas



AndersonBenedict Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism 2006 New York Verso

ChenQi陈琪GuanPing关萍 Cong meinanhe dao lancangjiang: Yunnan Taiguo guiqiao geming licheng jishi 从湄南河到澜沧江:云南泰国归侨革命历程纪实. 云南民族出版社: 昆明 2003

ChenYiming陈毅明 Zhuba qiang sang: tong’an zhuba huaqiao nongchang guiqiao koushu lishi ziliao 竹坝沧桑: 同安竹坝华侨农场归侨口述历史资料 2010 Xiamen Ocean Press

CheungSiu-Keung Marginalization in China: Recasting Minority Politics 2009 New York Palgrave Macmillan

DuaraPrasenjit OngAihwaNoniniDonald M. “Nationalists Among Transnationals: Overseas Chinese and the Idea of China 1900-1911” Ungrounded Empires: The Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Transnationalism 1997 New York Routledge 39 60

GodleyMichael R. “The Sojourners: Returned Overseas Chinese in the People’s Republic of China” Pacific Affairs 1989 autumn 1989 Vol. 62 No. 3 330 352

HoElaine Lynn-Ee “Refugee or Returnee? The Ethnic Geopolitics of Diasporic Resettlement in China and Intergenerational Change” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 2012 38 4 599 611

HonigEmily Chinese Ethnicity: Subei People in Shanghai 1850-1980 1992 New Haven Yale University Press

LiaoChengzhi廖承志 Bixu Zhongshi Qiaowu Gongzuo 必须重视侨务工作 1978 Renmin Ribao

LinWenlie林文烈 Guiqiao Ernü 归侨儿女 1978 Guangdong Guangdong renmin dazu she chuban 广东: 广东人民大族社出版

MackieJ.A.C The Chinese in Indonesia 1976 Honolulu The University Press of Hawaii

MullaneyThomas Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China 2011 Berkeley University of California Press

O’BrienKevinLiLianjiang Rightful Resistance in Rural China 2006 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

PetersonGlen Overseas Chinese in the People’s Republic of China 2011 London Routledge

SafranWilliam Nationalism and Ethnoregional Identities in China 1998 New York Routledge

ScottJames C. Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed 1998 London Yale University Press

ScottJames C. “Stilled to Silence at 500 Metres: Making Sense of Historical Change in Southeast Asia” iias Newsletter 2008 Autumn #49 2008

TanChee-beng “Reterritorialization of a Balinese Chinese Community in Quanzhou, Fujian” Modern Asian Studies 2010 44 3 547 566 2010

WangCangbai Huo zai bie chu: xianggang yinni huaren koushu lishi 活在别处: 香港印尼华人口述历史 Life is Elsewhere: Stories of the Indonesian Chinese in Hong Kong 2006 Hong Kong Centre of Asian Studies The University of Hong Kong

WangGungwu Don’t Leave Home: Migration and the Chinese 2001 Singapore Times Academic Press

WangGungwu The Chinese Overseas: From Earthbound China to the Quest for Autonomy 2000 Cambridge Harvard University Press

WangHuiyao Globalizing China: The Influence Strategies and Successes of Chinese Returnees 2012 Bingley Emerald

WangYuanxing王源兴 Da yue jin Zhongguo de huaqiao Nongchang 大跃进中的华侨农场 1959 《中国农垦》1959 年第 10 期

WillmottDonald E. The National Status of the Chinese in Indonesia 2009 Kindle Edition Singapore Equinox Publishing

WoonYuen-fong Social Organization in South China 1911-1949: The Case of the Kuan Lineage in K’ai-p’ing County 1984 Ann Arbor Center for Chinese Studies the University of Michigan

WuShuxiang吴淑香 Xinglong huaqiao nongchang 60 zhounian xianli tushu 兴隆华侨农场60周年献礼图书 2010 Hainan Press 2010

ZhaoLingmin赵灵敏 Huaqiao de lishi yu weilai: zhuanfang Jinan daxue huaqiao huaren yanjiusuo fuyanjiuyuan 2007 Liu Quan : “Ren Wu” (People); May 2007. 华侨的历史与未来: 专访济南大学华侨华人研究所副研究员. 刘全:“人物”

ZhongguoNongken中国农垦 Dang he guojia changkai dui huaqiao de huaibao 党和国家敞开对华侨的怀抱 1960


Anderson Benedict. 2006. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. New York: Verso.


Personal interview conducted in October 2011.


Personal interview conducted in June 2011.


Personal interview conducted in June 2011.


Personal interview conducted in June 2011.


  • View in gallery
    Signage for a ‘huaqiao jiudian’, or ‘Overseas Chinese Hotel’ located on one of the Overseas Chinese farms
  • View in gallery
    A billboard near one of the Overseas Chinese farms


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 23 23 14
Full Text Views 64 64 50
PDF Downloads 5 5 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0