Guofu Liu (刘国福) and Qian Zhu (朱倩)


The Chinese diaspora broadly includes the groups of huaren (华人, ethnic Chinese of different nationalities), huaqiao (华侨, overseas Chinese who are Chinese citizens overseas), guiqiao (归侨, returned overseas Chinese), and qiaojuan (侨眷, relatives in China of overseas Chinese). In the Chinese legal system, the determining of Chinese diasporic status is an important issue in the Chinese diaspora law, as it pertains to the protection of diaspora rights and interests by governmental authorities. The diaspora law in China identifies Chinese diasporic status and grants rights and duties according to nationality and residential qualifications but does not consider the actual contact between the Chinese diaspora and China. This has caused substantive legal procedural issues regarding the confirmation of the legal identity of Chinese diaspora and the issuing of relevant certifications both in China and abroad. These legal issues have presented significant challenges for the Chinese government in its efforts to engage with and manage the Chinese diaspora and it has created a bureaucratic barrier to the protection of their rights and interests. This paper aims to explore the current issues in determining the legal status of the Chinese diaspora, to critically review relevant laws, policies, and empirical research, and to suggest possible solutions for improving diaspora law in the legal system.

Diaspora of Chinese Intellectuals in the Cold War Era

From Hong Kong to the Asia-Pacific Region, 1949–1969

Kenneth Kai-chung Yung (容启聪)


On the eve of the Communist takeover in 1949, a considerable number of Chinese intellectuals were reluctant to live under Communist rule. They began their self-exile and the search for a new home outside China. Many travelled to places on China’s periphery such as Taiwan and Hong Kong. Others continued their journey and finally settled down in Southeast Asia and North America. Sojourning abroad, most of these self-exiled intellectuals still kept a close eye on Chinese politics and society. They were eager to promote their political ideal for a liberal-democratic China in the overseas Chinese communities. However, they were at the same time facing the challenge of assimilation into local society. This article traces the journey of the self-exiles in the 1950s and 1960s from Hong Kong to Southeast Asia and North America. It examines several representative figures and studies their activities in their new place of settlement. It argues that, although the self-exiles largely maintained a strong commitment to the future of their homeland, they varied in their degree of assimilation into their new homes. Age was not a key factor in their decision to adapt to the local community. Instead, the existence of a politically and economically influential Chinese population played a more important role in such a decision. Intellectuals who lived in Hong Kong or Southeast Asia were more willing to adjust their life to the locality, while those who went to North America were less attached to the local society.

Hong Liu and Min Zhou

Looking Beyond Ruins

From Material Heritage to a Grassroots-based Modernity in Southern China

Christopher Cheng (鄭藝超)


Many qiaoxiang in southern Fujian and Guangdong appear derelict, but documenting the material heritage and interviewing people about its social significance reveals another image. The homeland of Overseas Chinese was not only found to be significant for the diaspora but serves as an enduring reminder of a grassroots-based modernity in rural China. The qiaoxiang effectively became a transnational legacy of migration from southern China that has undergone the following stages of transformation: exodus-led emergence of a remittance landscape, sudden abandonment, and sometimes revival. Today, it has become a “repository” or “living museum” where tourists and scholars alike can visit and ponder how humans adapted to post-rural life.

Lijie Zheng (郑丽洁), Mariëtte de Haan and Willem Koops


This paper assesses whether China’s policies for providing educational support to overseas Chinese match the educational needs of current Chinese immigrants around the world. Firstly, the paper presents the different migration backgrounds of four waves of Chinese global migration in contemporary history: labor immigrants to the Global North, international students in the Global North, businessmen in the Global South and the new rich investors in the Global North. Using the concept of intergenerational contract, we found the four waves have distinct parental investment strategies in relation to their migration background, which comes along with their different educational needs. After carefully reviewing China’s policies in overseas education in terms of the assumptions, purpose and background of their implementation, we argue that these policies are outdated and serve the needs of only a limited number of Chinese immigrants due to their ignoring the variety of certain intergenerational contracts. Lastly, some specific suggestions for policy makers are given.