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Made in China or Born Abroad?: Creating Identity and Belonging in the Chinese Diaspora

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The astute eye might notice Chinatowns around the world and wonder how they came to be in places so far from China and what connections there might be between these sites of “Chinese-ness” or between them and China.1 This astute eye might also notice the influences of local cultures or local interpretations of what it means to be “Chinese”. In many such places—Malaysia, Indonesia, the US and Australia—this is a history of emigration from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century from a common home and localization in new homelands, thereby creating new and distinct community identities. In another way, this is also the history of maintaining a Chinese identity in unfamiliar environments and forging connections with compatriots across borders. The story of Chinese diasporas depends on perspective. We first will see how early emigres and sojourners adapted themselves to their new homes. Second, we will explore how a transnational Chinese identity shifted over this period from one connected narrowly to a “native place”, to a concept of a broader Chinese nation and a global Chinese community.

Forging Local Chinese Identities

Chinese have long migrated within China, but over the course of the nineteenth century, people from the southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian moved in great numbers to the Nanyang [Southern Seas]—what we know today as Southeast Asia—in search of fortune.2 The Opium Wars (1839-1860) forcibly opened China, disrupted the economy, and provided new opportunities to circumvent the Qing Dynasty’s discouragement of migration.3 The Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) further disrupted the southern and eastern provinces, forcing many to leave home.4 The British colony of Malaya and the Dutch colony of the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) were particularly attractive destinations for these displaced peoples because the large-scale agricultural plantations and mining operations required vast work-forces.5 These industries at the crosswinds of the lucrative Asia-Europe trade attracted not only laborers but also merchants and brokers.

By the mid-nineteenth century, the flow of Chinese labor into Southeast Asia had become systematized as European and Chinese commercial interests turned to cheap Chinese labor to fill the demand in Malaya and the East Indies. Following the abolition of the slave trade by the British and Dutch Empires, cheap Chinese labor was seen by imperial administrators as the solution to labor shortages. Instead of chattel slavery, the British and Dutch turned to the credit-ticket system: a complex, Chinese established labor and brokerage recruitment system Under this system, Chinese coolies would be recruited in mainland China through clan associations, secret societies or kinship networks. Once recruited, these laborers were transported to a colony with the price of their travel paid for by the broker on the China side. Once at the colony, their debt accrued by transport costs would be purchased by a local labor broker—typically also a Chinese businessman—who charged the coolies for interest, food, lodging, and entertainment (primarily opium) while finding them an employer. The brokers on the colony side were primarily long-established entrepreneurs in the region. In facilitating the coolie trade, these middlemen sat at the interstices of Chinese and Europeans in the colonies, connecting Chinese labor with primarily European capital. As the final step in this credit-ticket system, the coolies’ debt would be taken over by the employer with the coolies signing a contract to repay their debt through salary deductions.6 A rickshaw puller in Singapore recounted his own journey to the Nanyang:

I came with three other of my friends after writing to some relations … they told me that I would work … if I am tough and hard-working. By pulling rickshaws I can make a living and by the end of the year can return after making over $100. We left our village for Shauto (Swatow) and from there took a steamer, the “Sea King”, to Singapore. The fare was $19.7

This supply and demand of Chinese labor created substantial Chinese populations throughout the region.

Those who travelled out of China were huaqiao [sojourners] making their way to faraway places in the hope of earning enough money to create a better life for themselves and their families.8 While many did think of themselves as transient migrants, there were also those who settled in Southeast Asia permanently and considered these new countries home.9 By the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, new ideas about identity and belonging permeated many communities that had entrenched themselves into Malaya and the Netherlands East 2 Indies. One particularly common—and typically socially and economically prominent—section of these Overseas Chinese communities was the culturally hybridized Peranakan Chinese, formed through intermarriage between the earliest Chinese traders and indigenous women.10 These marriages were driven by two factors. First, the Qing court and imperial authorities in Southeast Asia banned the migration of Chinese women as a means of population control in China and the colonies. Second, marrying indigenous women connected the commercial enterprises of Chinese merchants to indigenous trading networks, bringing access to new sources of goods as well as opening a new market in which to sell their own. Synthesizing elements of Chinese, indigenous, and British or Dutch culture created a unique and flexible Peranakan sense of identity, allowing them to serve as intermediaries between cultural groups.

Peranakan Chinese, compared to more recent and less-established arrivals, benefited from ties with the individuals and institutions of the British and Dutch imperial projects. Serving as “essential outsiders” that facilitated the majority of non-European sections of the economy, Chinese political and economic elites were afforded a higher status within the colonial hierarchy and were provided with a degree of protection.11 In turn, a proportion of domiciled Chinese elites— many of whom had also been granted colonial subjecthood—came to identify their political allegiance with the British or Dutch Empires. These imperial loyalties stemmed not only from beneficial economic relationships but also from socio-cultural linkages developed through education within the British and Dutch systems and local movements towards European-style modernization. Yet political loyalty to European empires did not mean a wholesale abandonment of Chinese roots. While professing political allegiance to the British and Dutch, these domiciled Chinese nevertheless maintained cultural links to China through the continuation of distinctly Chinese cultural practices as well as through extended familial, clan, and kinship networks that remained intertwined with China.

Like that in the Nanyang, Chinese settlement in the US is tightly bound with economics. The systemized use of coolie labor in the construction of railroads during the 1870s-1880s resembled the deployment of coolie labor in the Nanyang. However, this significant population did not lead to the creation of a creolized group analogous to the Peranakan. This difference is one among others that distinguish Chinese communities in what Phillip A. Kuhn called the colonial regimes of Southeast Asia and the settler colonial societies of the Americas and Australasia.12 The result in these latter settings were diaspora communities that were resilient yet largely apart from the rest of the host society. The railroad itself maintained communication, commerce, and organization between Chinatowns in Chicago, Boston, and New York as well as bringing them “closer” to the old maritime connections to China on the Western seaboard. This connection to the old homeland was important because, much like their cousins in the Nanyang, while some settled permanently, many more regarded themselves as sojourners.13

While labor was central to Chinese immigration, the issue was also central to exclusion. American workers feared the overwhelmingly male Chinese cohort and its reputation for working harder in worse conditions for less pay. Unfortunately for these Chinese settlers, their methods of community resilience and self-preservation in a hostile environment— keeping to themselves in Chinatowns or taking occupations too menial or difficult for American workers—only seemed to confirm to broader prejudices that the Chinese could and would not assimilate to the American way of life of Chinese migrant labor in the US’s Western states also carried forward the concept of “whiteness” in a way comparable to its relationship with black slavery in the Eastern and Southern states. At a time when Irish immigrants were not considered “white” by their Anglo-Saxon counterparts, persecution of Chinese migrants became a way for the former to attain higher social status through a sense of unity against a Chinese “other”. Thus, by demarcating what work could not be done by Chinese, “anti-coolie” labor laws and movements defined “whiteness” by work.14 Successful Chinese farmers were forced into Chinatowns by state laws that forbade them to own land. Lynchings by white gold miners in the 1850s accelerated into mob violence and massacre in California, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington in the 1870s and 1880s. As economic depression menaced their livelihoods, white workers feared that “cheap Chinese labor” would take their jobs. Such fears were behind the federal Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred immigration of Chinese laborers.15 This entrenched the marginalization of Chinese communities from American society.16

Australia, another settler colonial society, provides another case study of Chinese diaspora creation. Like California’s gold rushes, those in the southern Australian colonies, especially Victoria, attracted the first great waves of Chinese migration in the 1850s. Like the US’s example, white animosity towards Chinese miners was persistent, leading to the Buckland River riot (1857) and Lambing Flat riots (1860-1). Discrimination against Chinese took the form of poll taxes upon arrival in the colonies and the imposition of extortionate mining licenses. Equivalent to the American experience, Australian presumptions that Chinese were sojourners unwilling or unable to assimilate into an Australian way of life were based on racial stereotypes, the presence of Chinatowns, and the propensity of Chinese to travel to and fro between the new and old countries.17 The proliferation of Chinese communities and long-standing Chinese presence in many occupations suggests they were actually quite adaptable to Australian society. This flexibility is particularly evident in Australia’s sub-tropical Northern settlements. Chinese carpenters were instrumental to the construction of the settlement of Darwin and – like Broome, Cairns and Townsville which relied on Chinese labor for the operation of expansive sugar plantations, and cattle or sheep stations—a significant proportion of its population was Chinese throughout the late nineteenth century and into the twentieth. Large Chinatowns also formed in the South-Eastern cities of Melbourne and Sydney. In comparison to their cousins in the United States, the Chinese in Australia occupied a wider array of businesses and occupations. Multilingual Chinese merchants imported bananas from plantations in Fiji and market gardeners grew produce locally to supply the colonies with fresh food, while Chinese farmhands and trade workers of every description supported regional and urban economies.18

Chinese integration into the Australian economy, however, worried Australian union leaders, especially in Australia’s North, who called for an end to Chinese immigration. Conversely, in the wealthy South, where cheap Chinese labor was desired, a belief in social Darwinism among the educated elite of Melbourne and Sydney stoked antipathy towards racial mixing. Towards the turn of the century, politicians eager to federate Australia fused these two sentiments into a common fear of Asian infiltration and the need to keep the continent exclusively for Anglo-Saxon settlement. The prospect of federation, however, also excited Chinese Australians who hoped the moment could bring about their acceptance and participation in Australian society. Newspaper photos of a long Chinese dragon in Melbourne’s federation celebrations symbolized this optimism, but the first major legislation of the new government, The Immigration  Restriction Act 1901, dashed their hopes.19 While the appeal of “White Australia” underlay the eventual federation of the Australian colonies, support for the racial discrimination it epitomized was not universal. Thomas Bakhap, senator for the state of Tasmania, was unable to shift the parliament’s support for racially discriminatory policies. But as the son of an Irish woman and stepson of a Chinese man, and fluent in both English and Cantonese, he advocated Chinese Australian causes and endeavored to bring greater understanding between Anglo and Chinese Australians. 20

Shifting Chineseness: From Native Place to Motherland

While substantial portions of the Overseas Chinese communities in Malaya, the East Indies, the United States, and Australia adapted to their new homes and developed distinctly local identities, many of their compatriots maintained a strong relationship to their place of birth. During the early years of mass Chinese migration, these connections were facilitated by a complex web of associations and institutions constituted on the basis of dialect, family ties, kinship, or place of origin. For Chinese migrants, these organizations not only linked them to a faraway home but fostered a sense of community and camaraderie.

In Malaya and the NEI during the mid- to late-nineteenth century, the primary bodies in which Chinese migrants associated and organized were kongsi [clan associations], huay kuan21 [guild halls] and hui [secret societies]. Memberships in these organizations were not mutually exclusive and most migrants belonged to all three associations to derive the benefits each provided.22 The kongsi, also known as surname associations, were relatively exclusive organizations that granted membership on the basis of ostensible familial or kinship relations to individuals with variations of a single surname, who spoke the same dialect, and had migrated from a distinct geographical locale in the Fujian or Guangdong provinces. By delimiting membership to kin, kongsi reinforced familial relationships and allowed clansmen to connect with their extended family both in the colonies and back home. In contrast, huay kuan were broader organizations structured on ethnolinguistic identities and designed to represent the economic, social, and political interests of their dialect group in relation to other associations, colonial authorities, indigenous groups, and their counterparts back home. Reflecting the demographics of Chinese migrants in Malaya and the East Indies, the largest and most prominent huay kuan operating in the colonies were Hokkien and Teochew, with guilds also representing the significant Hakka, Cantonese, and Hainanese minorities in both colonies. In emphasizing connections on the basis of place of origin and dialect, kongsi and huay kuan fostered a sense of community but one premised on reinforcing local and parochial identities.

Transcending clan and dialect boundaries were hui, originally anti-Qing Dynasty movements that became quasi-political and quasi-economic organizations that occasionally partook in criminal activity in the colonies. The hui were powerful institutions in labor recruitment and brokering in both Malaya and the NEI. An illustrative example of the power of the hui can be found in the battles—both literal and figurative—between the Hai San and Ghee Hin hui. In Perak in British Malaya, the two vied over control of the lucrative tin mining industry alongside their allies in the Malay nobility, the British colonial government, and European commercial interests in a series of conflicts known as the Larut Wars (1861-1874).23 In bringing together Chinese migrants from various clans, dialect groups, and places of origin, the hui served as the earliest sites of socialization between the component parts of the Chinese diaspora, serving as the forerunners to the organizations that would later promote a distinctly “Chinese” identity.

Over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, new ideas of “Chineseness” associated with the reform movements in China began to take hold among the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia. In the lead-up to the Xinhai or 1911 Revolution, overseas forms of Chinese nationalism emerged in Malaya and the NEI through the efforts of nationalist activists from China traveling through Southeast Asia in search of financial and material support for their efforts to bring down the Qing Dynasty. Sun Yat-Sen, the founding father of the Republic of China, himself played a vital role in the spread of Chinese nationalism among the Chinese diaspora from his base of operations in British Malaya where much of the Revolution was planned. Alongside trusted allies from the mainland as well as local compatriots from Malaya and the NEI, Sun oversaw the establishment of organizations like the Xing Zhong Hui [Revive China Society] and Tung Meng Hui [Chinese Revolutionary League] to raise funds and recruit supporters to the cause. In their attempts to mobilize Chinese communities in Southeast Asia towards the revolutionary cause, Chinese activists fostered a distinctly Chinese nationalist consciousness that shifted communities’ ties from dialect and place of origin towards a broader imagination of the Chinese nation.24

Following the success of the revolution and the establishment of the Republic, the new Chinese state sought out the newly galvanized Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia to use their capital, knowledge, and skills for the modernization of China. At the same time, the new Republic also sought to educate and protect Overseas Chinese as “their” citizens. Adopting the Qing Dynasty’s 1909 Chinese Nationality Law, the Republic claimed governance over all Overseas Chinese by jus sanguinis [right of blood].25 Chinese consuls were sent to Malayan and East Indies colonies as representatives to maintain this connection and serve as advocates and protectors of resident Chinese communities. Another tool of Republican cultivation was sending teachers to develop vernacular education programs in Mandarin: remolding the dialect speaking Overseas Communities into ideal Chinese citizens.26 Accompanying these formal measures put in place by the Chinese state was the establishment of a Kuomintang (KMT) [Chinese Nationalist Party] branch in Malaya.27 These activities vexed the British and Dutch colonial governments who, already ambivalent towards the Chinese communities in their territories, increasingly came to consider Chinese nationalism as building a fifth column against colonial rule.

The maintenance and cultivation of a “Chinese identity” followed a similar pattern in settler colonial societies. Like their cousins in the Nanyang, Chinese migrants and sojourners in the United States or Australia found themselves in an alien, sometimes hostile world. For protection, social welfare, and moral support, these migrants organized themselves into associations in much the same way as in Malaya and the NEI. The most prominent associations were the Huiguan, which based their memberships upon regions of origin or around a shared ethno-language identity, such as the Hakka.28 Huiguan were themselves composed of sub-groups based on clan, surname or more specific districts or villages of origin.29 As such, the new communities in which Chinese settlers found themselves were filled with people sharing the same regional dialects, customs, histories and so on—transplants in the new world of the old world they had left behind.

However, this parochial collectivization enabled the differences of huiguan representing other districts and dialects to become more pronounced and develop fierce rivalries. Disputes over mining claims or gambling debts between individuals could quickly escalate into outbreaks of mob violence between rival huiguan or boycotts of associated businesses. These rivalries were commonly noted by Qing consuls visiting the United States in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In an attempt to quell the unrest between groups, a Chinese consulate was established in San Francisco where many of the huiguan and associated sub-groups had their headquarters. The presence of a Qing representative eased tensions, but so deep were the parochial rivalries and distrust between groups that it was only when activists from China began propagating nationalist sentiments in the US that parochial antagonisms began to subside.30

Like in Southeast Asia, nationalist activists, whether seeking to reform the Qing Empire or establish a republic, travelled to the US to propagate the diasporic concept of belonging to a common land and people. This message gained greater traction in the first decades of the twentieth century as the Chinese Republic came into existence and the Japanese threat to it grew. Yet how the idea of belonging to a single, cohesive China was expressed or acted upon depended on individual or local circumstances. Moreover, the idea that everyone was “Chinese” did not dispel the possibility of rivalries.

Adam McKeown offers Honolulu as an interesting example. Early after the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912, a local KMT association formed in Honolulu but by the 1930s had split into rightist and leftist factions supporting Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists and the Communists respectively. Nevertheless, both factions attempted to brush over the historic rivalries of Hawaii’s parochially minded huiguan to depict their own history of united Chinese diasporic support for Sun Yat-sen and the nationalist cause. This nationalist belonging overwrote that which previous generations had to their hometown or district. But, as McKeown points out, many second- or third-generation Chinese Americans were indifferent to these matters. They were more interested in their pioneering forebears who “helped build Hawaii.”31 To them, being Chinese did not necessarily require a stake in an ancestral and “foreign” land.32

Huiguan formed in mid-nineteenth century Australia in much the same way and with much the same function, acting as gatekeepers to the new and old worlds. They provided lodgings and organized work for the recently arrived, but also covered repatriation and burial for the recently deceased. Working in concert with steamship companies, huiguan also ensured that no individual would be allowed to return to China before clearing his debts. It was also through the huiguan that news from China would be disseminated. As such, much of how the Chinese settlers understood their place in Australia or China was through the framework constructed by the huiguan. It is therefore unsurprising that rivalries and occasional violence would also develop between huiguan in Australia. So strong were the parochial identifications of the rival huiguan that upon his visit to Australia in 1900-1901, visiting Chinese activist Liang Qichao surmised it was quite improbable Australia’s Chinese communities would embrace a united vision of China.

As John Fitzgerald has pointed out, many of the Chinese settlers in Australia were becoming accustomed to seeing themselves as worldly, progressive individuals rather than “simply Chinese”. A symbol of this is Melbourne’s See Yup temple. Although Australia’s oldest continuing Chinese temple, its once “modern” Victorian architecture sets it apart from familiar “traditional” Chinese designs. A grand mural inside depicts two Chinese men dressed in quintessentially Western tuxedos embracing an image of the globe. Fitzgerald interprets this as evidence of a sophisticated and cosmopolitan identity which might have been attractive to many globe-trotting Chinese settlers.

Many Chinese migrants at the beginning of the twentieth century were also organizing themselves in ways different from the huiguan’s method of native place or dialect group. As Chinese workers in Australia had access to a variety of professions, trades, or occupations, many types of Chinese labor unions emerged. This new type of organizational structure challenged the existing huiguan model. These unions often demanded better pay and conditions from business owners and merchants who dominated huiguan committees. Additionally, rather than one’s place of origin or dialect, Chinese unions were organized by occupation, fostering both a more inclusive concept of “Chinese-ness” and a class consciousness.33 Such developments laid the groundwork for the Chinese Nationalist Party or KMT to establish itself in Australia in 1911.34 Where early Qing reformists like Liang Qichao stalled, Sun Yat-sen’s party projected the idea of a united Chinese nation. As Mei-Fen Kuo describes, the Nationalists quickly surpassed huiguan in Australia in both size and scope: it was a single body connected with chapters not only across Australia, but also in New Zealand, New Guinea, Fiji, Timor, and Tahiti. In this way, the KMT’s structure itself helped to foster the idea that all overseas Chinese were connected and belonged to a single diasporic community.35


The history of the Chinese diaspora is a web of peoples, places, and processes. In particular, the creation of a distinct sense of Overseas Chinese-ness is the product of preservation and adaptation, uniquely bringing together the old and new. Over the course of the nineteenth century, those from China who had left home in search of fortune had specifically local senses of identity tied to place of origin and kinship. The Peranakan Chinese who emerged in Malaya and the East Indies, for example, hybridized loyalties to the British or Dutch Empire while maintaining cultural connections to China. Chinese also forged belongings in the US and Australia as pioneers and settlers, despite the ambivalence or hostility of the majority white populations in these places. Through a combination of adaptation to their new surroundings, as well as events in China itself, parochial identities shifted towards a national Chinese one in Malaya, the East Indies, the United States, and Australia; spurred by travelling revolutionaries and political activists like Liang Qichao and Dr Sun Yat-sen who wished to remake China as a modern country. These case studies reveal not a story of homogenization towards a single, specific “Chineseness”, but a journey of many paths towards varying identities and belongings. As this brief overview has revealed, there are a number of discussions surrounding Chinese diasporas and their formations around the world: the identities and idiosyncrasies of local groups; and the transnational existence of a global Chinese community. We would stress that both views have equal weight and are true. In taking two differing approaches to the history of Chinese diasporas, we hope readers see “being Chinese” means different things to different people at different times. 


1. Bernard Wong and Tan Chee-Beng, Chinatowns around the World: Gilded Ghetto, Ethnopolis, and Cultural Diaspora (Leiden: Brill, 2013); Kay Anderson et al., Chinatown Unbound: Trans-Asian Urbanism in the Age of China (London; New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).

2. For an overview of earlier Chinese migration, see Craig Lockard, “Chinese Migration and Settlement in Southeast Asia Before 1850: Making Fields from the Sea,” History Compass 11, no. 9 (2013): 765–81.

3. W. Travis Hanes III and Frank Sanello, The Opium Wars: The Addiction of One Empire and the Corruption of Another (London: Robson Books, 2003).

4. Jonathan D. Spence, God’s Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan (New York: W.W. Norton, 1996).

5. For the purposes of this article, Malaya serves as a shorthand for the various polities under British control including the peninsular Malay states, the Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca, and Singapore, and Borneo.

6. Ronald Skeldon, “Migration from China,” Journal of International Affairs 49, no. 2 (1996): 434–55.

7. Unnamed Teochew interviewee in James Francis Warren, Rickshaw Coolie: A People’s History of Singapore, 1880-1940 (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1986), 36.

8. Huaqiao is a complicated term that merits further discussion. See: Wang Gungwu, The Chinese Overseas: From Earthbound China to the Quest for Autonomy, Edwin O. Reischauer Lectures (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2000).

9. Anthony Reid, ed., Sojourners and Settlers: Histories of Southeast Asia and the Chinese (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1996).

10. For an overview of the Peranakan Chinese of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, see Mary F. Somers Heidhues, Peranakan Chinese Politics in Indonesia (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1964); J. E. Khoo, The Straits Chinese: A Cultural History (Amsterdam: The Pepin Press, 1996).

11. Daniel Chirot and Anthony Reid, eds., Essential Outsiders: Chinese and Jews in the Modern Transformation of Southeast Asia and Central Europe (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997).

12. Philip A. Kuhn, Chinese Among Others: Emigration in Modern Times (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008), 2–3.

13. Him Mark Lai, Becoming Chinese American: A History of Communities and Institutions (Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press, 2004), 19 – 20.

14. Kuhn, Chinese Among Others, 205 – 18. 

15. Philip A. Kuhn, Chinese Among Others: Emigration in Modern Times (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008), 208.

16. For full treatment, see: Yucheng Qin, The Diplomacy of Nationalism: The Six Companies and China’s Policy toward Exclusion (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2009).

17. Kuhn, Chinese Among Others, 114 – 5, 142 – 3 and 225 – 6.

18. For the success of Chinese settlers in Australia, see: John Fitzgerald, Big White Lie: Chinese Australian in White Australia (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2007).

19. For the creation of a Chinese Australian identity, see: Mei-fen Kuo, Making Chinese Australia: Urban Elites, Newspapers and the Formation of Chinese-Australian Identity, 1892 – 1912 (Melbourne: Monash University Press, 2013).

20. “Thomas Jerome Kingston Bakhap”, The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate, vol. 1, 1901-1929 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2000), 252-256.

21. Huay kuan is Hokkien, huiguan is Mandarin.

22. For more on Chinese organizations in the nineteenth century, see Maurice Freedman and G. William Skinner, The Study of Chinese Society: Essays (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1979).

23. Arifin Azmi, “Perak Disturbances 1871-75: British Colonialism, the Chinese Secret Societies and the Malay Rulers,” Jebat: Malaysian Journal of History, Politics & Strategic Studies 39, no. 1 (2012): 51–76.

24. Philip Kuhn, Chinese among Others: Emigration in Modern Times (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008); Lee Lai to and Lee Hock Guan, Sun Yat-Sen, Nanyang and the 1911 Revolution (Singapore: ISEAS Publishing, 2011).

25. Dan Shao “Chinese by Definition: Nationality Law, Jus Sanguinis, and State Succession, 1909–1980,” Twentieth-Century China 35, no. 1 (2009): 4–28.

26. Douglas P. Murray, “Chinese Education in South-East Asia,” The China Quarterly 20 (1964): 67–95.

27. C.F. Yong and R.B. McKenna, The Kuomintang Movement in British Malaya, 1912-1949 (Singapore: NUS Press, 1990).

28. This Mandarin word is analogous to the Hokkein iteration huay kuan mentioned above.

29. Lai, Becoming Chinese American, 39 – 75.

30. Ibid., 48-9.

31. Adam McKeown, “Conceptualizing Chinese Diasporas, 1842 – 1949”, The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 58, no. 2 (May, 1999): 328.

32. Adam McKeown, Chinese Migrant Networks and Cultural Change: Peru, Chicago, Hawaii 1900 – 1936 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 249-50 & 265-70

33. Mei-Fen Kuo, “Reframing Chinese Labour Rights: Chinese Unionists, Pro-Labour Societies and the Nationalist Movement in Melbourne, 1900–10”, Labour History, no.113 (November 2017): 133–55

34. Also known by the Pinyin romanization, Guomindang.

35. For further discussion, see: Mei-Fen Kuo, Unlocking the History of the Australasian Kuo Min Tang, 1911 – 2013 (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2013). 

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