The Price and Promise of Specialness

The Political Economy of Overseas Chinese Policy in the People’s Republic of China, 1949–1959


Author: Jin Li Lim
In The Price and Promise of Specialness, Jin Li Lim revises narratives on the overseas Chinese and the People’s Republic of China by analysing the Communist approach to ‘overseas Chinese affairs’ in New China’s first decade as a function of a larger political economy.
Jin Li Lim shows how the party-state centred its approach towards the overseas Chinese on a perception of their financial utility and thus sought to offer them a special identity and place in New China, so as to unlock their riches. Yet, this contradicted the quest for socialist transformation, and as its early pragmatism fell away, the radicalising party-state abandoned its promises to the overseas Chinese, who were left to pay the price for their difference.

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Jin Li Lim, Ph.D. (2016), London School of Economics and Political Science, is a historian of modern China. He has published scholarly chapters and articles on China, as well as on other aspects of Singapore history, and fashion and cultural studies.
Glossary of Chinese Terms
List of Abbreviations
List of Figures

 1 The Political Economy of Overseas Chinese Policy
 2 Historiography
 3 Structure and Scope
 4 Sources

1 Rights and Interests
 1 Introduction
 2 New Democracy and the Huaqiao
 3 To Do Some Good
 4 Openness and Sincerity
 5 Common Program
 6 Conclusion

2 Screaming for Socialism
 1 Introduction
 2 Like Another Province Overseas
 3 If Only 1%
 4 All Huaqiao Have Money
 5 Conclusion

3 No Complaints, No Escapes, No Shortfalls
 1 Introduction
 2 They Will Fervently Leap
 3 Rather Left than Right
 4 More Money, More Problems
 5 Conclusion

4 Fourth-Class Socialism
 1 Introduction
 2 ‘Is the Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau Your Daddy?’
 3 Special Circumstances
 4 The Great Debate
 5 Conclusion

5 Politics in Command
 1 Introduction
 2 A Great Leap Forward for Qiaowu
 3 Keep Left
 4 Conclusion

 1 Political Economy
 2 Contradiction
 3 Paradox
 4 Caveat Emptor
 Appendix I: Overseas Chinese Remittances to the People’s Republic of China, 1950–1960
All interested in the history of the Overseas Chinese, the People’s Republic of China under Mao, and contemporary observers of China seeking to understand the historical bases of its complex relationship with the Chinese diaspora.