Positioning “Hong Kongers” and “New Immigrants”

Helen F. Siu

in Hong Kong Mobile

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9789622099180
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206984 | DOI:
Positioning “Hong Kongers” and “New Immigrants”

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What has been the impact of recent waves of Chinese immigrants on Hong Kong's future work force and competitiveness? This chapter shows that the border hardened and softened with major political events in China. Between 1978 and 1981, a half a million immigrants, mostly illegal, made their way into the territory. Rural, single, male, and poor, they returned to their native places for marriage. Although labeled as “new immigrants”, a term loaded with derogatory connotations, many found productive work and were absorbed into mainstream society. Their families, however, have continued to face a rather unaccepting host community. The bulk of new arrivals came to Hong Kong in the 1990s as spouses and children of these men. Confronted by the discriminating gaze of an already anxious public, used often as scapegoats, they cluster at the low end of income and jobs.

Keywords: circulation; Hong Kong; host community; Chinese borders; social profile

Chapter.  9820 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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