International Workshop: New Chinese capitals and migrations in Southeast Asia in the post-pandemic era

Yuk Wah Chan Announcement
Subject Fields
Anthropology, Area Studies, Contemporary History, Sociology, Southeast Asian History / Studies

International Workshop

New Chinese capitals and migrations in Southeast Asia

in the post-pandemic era

23 June 2023


Mode: online

Date: 23 June 2023


Dr. Yuk Wah Chan, Department of Public and International Affairs, City University of Hong Kong

Dr. Chow Bing Ngeow, Institute of China Studies, University of Malaya 

Honorary advisors:

Prof. Wang Gungwu (National University of Singapore)

Prof. Leo Suryadinata (ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

Prof. Tan Chee-Beng (Chinese University of Hong Kong)



Alongside the rapid rise of a powerful China and its strong presence in Southeast Asia, an amalgam of new migrations from China to Southeast Asia has captured much scholarly attention and prompted scholarship on new Chinese migrations. Some studies of new Chinese migrations, however, do not limit “new Chinese migration” to migrants from mainland China but include Chinese migrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as new migration movements among the Chinese diaspora (such as those between Malaysia and Singapore). The rapid development of China’s political and economic influence in this region since the 2000s has been incubating new relations between China, Chinese migrants, and the overseas Chinese communities. Interactions among all those who can speak some or fluent Chinese (including Mandarin and different Chinese dialects) often revolve around a cultural sphere that these ethnic Chinese identify with or that differentiates them from one another.

Many of the economic footprints of mainland Chinese companies and individuals are marked by the intriguing involvement of members of the Chinese diaspora (as co-investors, middlemen, interpreters, etc.). While new Chinese migrants may hold multiple Chinese identities (such as having both PRC passports and Hong Kong ID cards), new Chinese capital inflows in different parts of Asia often show evidence that so-called Chinese investments can involve enterprises and entrepreneurs not only from all over China but also from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the communities of Chinese diasporic settlers in Southeast Asia. Both large and small investments involve opportunities and risks. How do Chinese investors adapt to different investment environments in Southeast Asia? How do local governments welcome, but at the same time control, these newcomers and this new capital? How do local people perceive and respond to the social dynamics and tensions arising from the new influxes? 

From 2020 to 2022, the COVID pandemic brought many of these movements to a standstill. China’s dynamic zero-COVID strategy (ZCS) had lasted until very recently. Despite the ending of this policy in December 2022, it is unknown how flows of people and movements of capital from China will resume in the post-pandemic era. Chinese outbound tourism in Asia brought much-needed revenue to the region in pre-COVID times. Some of these travels led to more long-term visits as well as investments. In different ways, the pandemic brought new impacts to mobility and to the perceptions of it. Under China’s cautious dual circulation economic strategies, how will Chinese mobility (including material, capital, and people) be affected?

This workshop calls for papers that explore the new trends of Chinese migrations within Southeast Asia, and the intermixing of new Chinese migrants and the existing Chinese settler communities that have been there for generations. It adopts a broader sense of Chinese migrations. It also looks into the newest impacts that the pandemic has had on people’s perceptions about mobility and migration strategies. We address the following questions:

  1. What are the major drivers of new migrations into the region and how do local Chinese communities perceive the incoming of the different categories of new Chinese migrants? 
  2. What impacts do these new migrants and new capital have on local developments? 
  3. How have the pandemic and pandemic-induced policies affected the movements of Chinese people and capital? 
  4. How do local regulations of the destination countries affect migration processes, post-migration life plans, and migrants’ capital movement? 
  5. How are the new Chinese capital and migration movements reshaping Chinese–Southeast Asian relations, the social and cultural dynamics at their destinations, and the ethnic geographies of the overseas Chinese communities? 
  6. In what ways has the pandemic and pandemic induced governance reshaped Chinese mobility?

Interested scholar and researchers should submit their abstract and bio to:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 15 May 2023
  • Announcement of acceptance: 31 May 2023
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