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Coming Home to a Foreign CountryXiamen and Returned Overseas Chinese, 1843-1938$
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Soon Keong Ong

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781501756184

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501756184.001.0001

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Manipulating Identities

Manipulating Identities

States and Opportunities in Xiamen

Chapter:
(p.96) 4 Manipulating Identities
Source:
Coming Home to a Foreign Country
Author(s):

Soon Keong Ong

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501756184.003.0005

This chapter analyses the multifaceted identities of returned emigrants in Xiamen during its treaty port era through the lens of different power regimes — the Qing, Great Britain, Japan, and the Republic of China. It examines how they manipulated their identities for their own benefits. For those emigrants who had acquired foreign nationality, they had literally returned home to China as a “foreign” country. But for returned overseas Chinese in general, Xiamen was “foreign” also, because it was not entirely Chinese. In a sense, the chapter explains how Xiamen was situated “in-between” China and the world beyond after various contending political powers created a fluid environment in Xiamen. While the various states tried to identify, win over, and discipline the emigrants, the chapter reveals the chameleonic nature of the overseas Chinese and their conspicuous lack of deep ideological commitment to any one particular state.

Keywords:   multifaceted identities, returned emigrants, Xiamen, treaty port, China, foreign nationality, states, overseas Chinese

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