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The Shifting Migrant Identity of Korean Huaqiao between China and Taiwan: A Case Study of Huaqiao Associations in Seoul

Kim Kiho 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This ethnographic research on Korean huaqiaos examines their shifting positions in dealing with China and Taiwan since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and China in 1992. Until the 1980s, Korean huaqiaos had perceived Taiwan as their motherland, as they were affected by the ideology of anti-communism under the Taiwanese nationalist education system. Since 1992, however, Korean huaqiaos have sought for new economic opportunities by capitalizing on the connection with their original hometown, Shandong Province in mainland China. At the same time, they have built a close relationship with the Chinese Embassy while keeping estranged from Taipei Mission in Korea since Democratic Progressive Party held political power of Taiwan in 2000. Nevertheless, Korean huaqiaos seek to distinguish themselves from other Chinese immigrants including ethnic Koreans from China (or ‘Chaoxianzu’), and have not developed a strong sense of attachment to their ancestral hometown of Shandong. Most Korean huaqiaos still maintain their Taiwanese citizenship, and have formed an independent identity as a migrant group by keeping a selective distance from either China or Taiwan. The case of Korean huaqiao demonstrates that China’s effort of expanding transnational nationalism is fragmented and negotiated by a migrant group’s distinctive and strategic position, and that the process of resinicization can also be complicated by overseas Chinese’ unique definition of ethnicity beyond national borders.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.