In and Out: China as a Country of Origin and a Country of Destination

Title: 1031 | In and Out: China as a Country of Origin and a Country of Destination
Area: Border Crossing and Inter-Area
Stream: Sociology
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Ruoxi Liu, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (organizer, chair)
Hanwei Li, East China University of Science and Technology, China (presenter)
Zhengyi Li, Tsinghua University, China (presenter)
Lin Chen, KU Leuven, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium (presenter)
Yang Song, Fudan University, China (presenter)
Wen Zhou, Yunnan University, China (discussant)


China’s reform and opening up over the last forty years have brought out different waves of generations emigrating overseas, echoing the inclusion of the foreign population and cultures into the local context. Five papers of this panel have presented these developments and trends from different perspectives, e.g. economic, cultural and educational.

Among them, three papers are concerned with Chinese immigration and integration issues. Accordingly, Van der Baaren & Li’s and Liu’s work, respectively on Chinese immigrants in Portugal and France have revealed the economic immigration, while reflecting intergenerational differences. Comparatively, Li’s work on African-born Chinese enterprises is contextualised in a more localised background with indigenous features. Overall, the experience and practice of Chinese immigration shown in these articles are multi-level, showing different characteristics from each historical period. Significantly, these cases share the same characteristic of being in-between of the country of immigration and emigration so as to maximise the opportunities and benefits.

Back into China, despite increasingly incorporated foreign cultures have diversified the local context, lacking social concerns and limitations in practice still exist at different levels. As such, the other two papers from this panel constitute similar comments yet respectively from the cultural and educational aspect. By elaborating the division of on-line network, Chen’s paper analyses how digital space has (re) shaped the identity of African students in China. Through the case of International English-Medium-Instruction Programmes, Song argues that the internationalisation of higher education constructs an implicit hegemonic hierarchy among students.

Panel Abstracts:
The Making of In-Betweenness of Immigrant Middlemen: Case of French Chinese
The world’s immigrants have experienced inter-generational development in their career pathways in the societies to which they migrate. As suggested by the Segmented Assimilation Perspective, the career pathways of younger generations are highly diversified, corresponding to the differentiated but deepened integration model compared to the first generation. This research studies the (making of the) in betweenness of the Chinese immigrants in the context of France, the country of which has the largest Chinese group of around 600, 000 – 700, 000 (AFP, 2010) among European countries (Picquart, 2010). Based on in-depth interviews with ten participants respectively conducted in 2017 and 2019, this study not only reveals the differences shown in different generations of French-Chinese middlemen, who have situated themselves in-between both French and Chinese societies; But also, it explores the reasons behind. The research finds that different from the "Return Migration" phenomenon mainly existed in the first generation of immigrants, which is argued to result from not being fully qualified in the local job market and often lead to a back-and-forth dilemma, the younger generations, having achieved higher education in France and have been qualified to enter the local job market, are still concerned with the development of China and would like to be involved in the economic and social sphere of the “home country” so as to take advantage of co-ethnic markets and contexts. Besides, this study reports cultural inadaptation in second-generation French Chinese.

Wealth Influx, Wealth Exodus: Investment Migration from China to Portugal
China is one of the largest origin countries for investor migrants. For the Portuguese investment programme, the abundant majority of investors is of Chinese origin. As the one country’s wealth influx can be the other country’s wealth exodus, this paper aims to study investment migration from China to Portugal from the perspectives of both emigration and immigration. After describing the structure of the Portuguese investment programme and how it has worked out in practice, it is concluded that the programme has delivered significant economic contributions, but in a different way than the Portuguese government had originally intended. The paper continues by outlining the key drivers of Chinese investor emigration, concluding that the low residence requirements, gaining access to the Schengen Area and the option to invest in real estate are likely to attract Chinese investors to the Portuguese programme. Rather than emigrating instantly, the Chinese investors seem to participate in the Portuguese investment programme as a household-level strategy to ensure a ‘backup plan’ and be ready to emigrate at any time, creating an intriguing form of ‘quasi-migration’. The Chinese government mainly perceives investment programmes as a risk and has implemented measures which aim to curb the outflow of capital. Meanwhile, the real ‘winners’ remain the investor migrants themselves, as investment programmes enable them to become part of a global and mobile elite.

Analysis of the Evolution of African Born Chinese Enterprises in Uganda
This article aims to study how Ugandan Chinese immigrant enterprises can break their resource constraints and achieve multi-stage development. Chinese immigrant entrepreneurship in Africa began in the 1990s. These immigrant entrepreneurships start from scratch. But these enterprises gradually grow to large private companies that are important in the African local market. We build on the ideas of simultaneous embeddedness (You & Zhou,2019) and interactive model(Waldinger et al.1990) to develop an analytic framework of simultaneous interaction embeddedness that underscores the interaction between the local opportunities and the ethnic strategy. Using data collected from face-to-face interviews and on-site observations in Uganda, as well as archival records of government policies and media reports in both the Uganda and China, we find that the circumstance offered by host country is opportunity structure, the opportunities for survival and success of immigrant entrepreneurship. The circumstance offered by home country is ethnic strategy for development, the culture and resource the immigrant entrepreneurship rely on. The success of immigrant entrepreneurship relies on interaction between opportunity structure from host country and ethnic strategy from home country. The immigrant entrepreneurs act as bridge for opportunities structure and ethnic strategy. They use the resource-combination of exotic background and local opportunities to create competitive advantage. The simultaneous interaction helps them grow to large enterprises.

The Making of Africanism in China-Identity Reshaping and Maintaining of The African Student Migrants Through Social Networks Across The Digital Space Border of The Great
This paper focuses on the fast-growth of the south to south higher education mobility of African students in China since 1999. We aim to explore the cultural, ethical and continental identity reshaping and maintaining process. And we especially focus on the function of the digital space on such process. This research will investigate within the dynamic interaction between migration networks across the digital space border divided by the Great Fire Wall of China; as well as the dynamic interaction between the online migration social networks and traditional face-to-face migration networks with the African students’ perspective from inside of China. The research uses social network analysis based on data from in-depth interviews and digital ethnography. The result shows that based on the evolving online and offline African student migrant community within social network digital space inside and outside the border of the Great Fire Wall of China, the African student reshaping their identity into Pan-African and global student mobility identity, as well as maintaining their culturally, ethically and nationally unique identity overtime under the power distribution from their country and culture of origin. We also explore in this paper on how such process of identity reshaping and maintaining facilitating the integration of the African student in to the local Chinese community both online and offline.

”Uneven Consequences” of International English-Medium-Instruction Programmes in China: A Critical Epistemological Perspective
Critical studies on internationalization of higher education (IHE) have addressed the uneven global geopolitics of knowledge production as reinforced and reproduced through policy making and mechanism of professional organizations. Yet it remains unknown about the dynamics of epistemic exchanges in between agents at multiple dimensions of IHE, particularly in Asian contexts. Adopting a critical epistemological perspective (Chen 2010), the present study examines international and Chinese students’ epistemic practices in mixed English-Medium-Instruction (EMI) Master’s degree programmes in a top-rate comprehensive university in Shanghai, China. The in-depth student/instructor interviews and ethnographic classroom observation converge to reveal that the EMI curriculum constructs an implicit hegemonic hierarchy among students based on their pre-enrolment possessions of linguistic capital of English and cultural capital concerning Americanized academic norms and discipline-specific knowledge. Given the implicit hegemony, it is also argued that students have developed varied degrees of awareness towards and resorted to multiple strategies of inter-referencing and cultural syncretism among diverse epistemic frames of reference and cultural imaginaries with regards (1) English as an academic lingua franca, (2) the epistemic domination of the Global North, and (3) reimagining China and modernity. Practical and conceptual implications on IHE are proposed based on the analysis

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