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Tracing ChinaA Forty-Year Ethnographic Journey$
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Helen F. Siu

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789888083732

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888083732.001.0001

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Positioning “Hong Kongers” and “New Immigrants”

Positioning “Hong Kongers” and “New Immigrants”

(p.319) 15 Positioning “Hong Kongers” and “New Immigrants”
Tracing China

Helen F. Siu

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter takes a slice from the census records to examine policies, assumptions, and procedures related to a recent period of in-flow from China and to assess their impact on Hong Kong’s present and future human landscape. I focus on two waves. First, those who crossed the border to Hong Kong, often illegally, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, were labeled “new immigrants” and treated with scorn by some Hong Kong residents. They found work and were absorbed into the Hong Kong society. Many returned to their native places for marriage. In the 1990s, they started to bring to Hong Kong their mainland spouses and young children, who formed the second wave of newcomers. This wave is also known in popular parlance as “new immigrants” and, since the mid-1990s in official categories, as “new arrivals.” The meaning of the label changed somewhat, from one marking difference in the 1980s, to one hardened against those seen as society’s burden. These two waves of immigrants have posed complicated human resource and social issues for Hong Kong.

Keywords:   Rural-urban divide, China, Hong Kong, Anthropology, Social changes, Political changes, Identity formation, History, Culture, modernity

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