Reluctant Exiles? Migration from Hong Kong and the New Overseas Chinese

Reluctant Exiles? Migration from Hong Kong and the New Overseas Chinese

Reluctant Exiles? Migration from Hong Kong and the New Overseas Chinese

Reluctant Exiles? Migration from Hong Kong and the New Overseas Chinese

Synopsis

This final volume of a trilogy on Stalinism examines the main pillars of the Stalinist system, suggesting that the destructive effects of Stalinism will not be overcome until the regulation of all social and economic activity by a central power endowed with infallibility is abolished.

Excerpt

Chinese migration from Hong Kong has been the subject of intense inquiry since the late 1980s. What is remarkable is that this is the first time that any Chinese population has been studied as an emigrant group while in the throes of migrating. For the first time, a single source of Chinese migrants is being observed from start to finish in the course of transforming themselves from natives to aliens to new settlers. This means that the potential emigrants are being studied from the moment that they begin considering whether or not to move abroad. They are followed to their destinations while they are still trying to establish themselves afresh. Those who decide to settle are then studied while they are making a mark on their host societies and while they are strategically arranging the futures of their children and grandchildren. No Chinese migrant population past or present has ever been studied so closely and self-consciously.

Dr. Ronald Skeldon and his colleagues belong to that small band of scholars who are well positioned to make history by their ability to examine the whole process of the modern Chinese migration phenomenon. They are in place to observe the many kinds of migrants contemplating the many available destinations and critically examining their fates in Hong Kong. They could watch them adapt to a great variety of local conditions and policies in their countries of choice, and even find some of them organizing their return as expatriates to work in Hong Kong. What this group of scholars has done is in sharp contrast to what their predecessors were able to do.

Earlier generations of scholars who pursued Chinese migration patterns out of Hong Kong and the South China neighborhood found it difficult to reconstruct, with any accuracy, the history of sojourning and of immigration policies, as well as the social changes in the communities that the Chinese established. They had to do so from past reports and documents that were often fragmentary and biased. Some of the more enterprising social scientists lived among these Chinese abroad and recorded their stories and analyzed their current politics, their social organizations, and their successes and failures as settlers in foreign lands.

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