Chinese Identities in Southeast Asia

  • Wei Chin WongEmail author


Many studies have been conducted and published on the concepts of Chinese identities in Southeast Asia since the 1950s. How the Southeast Asian Chinese define themselves within the Southeast Asian context and how they are seen by the others spanning across national and geographical divides and historiography have been the core elements and the substantial research concerns of many scholars. Since 2013, in response to the rapid development of Chinese scheme in The Belt and Road Initiative, this long-standing subject has generally been viewed by the China’s government as a homogenous Chinese overseas, namely, “Huaqiao Huaren (华侨华人),” with shared Chinese identity outside China. Despite the concept is useful at explaining the unprecedented economic scheme by strengthening both the historical and cultural connections between China and Southeast Asia under The Belt and Road Initiative, it inevitably offers a fragmentary picture to the social transformation in which the permanent Chinese population have gone through in several generations in Southeast Asia. By reviewing the previous studies concerning on the Southeast Asian Chinese, this paper discusses and summarizes the social and cultural contexts in which the changes of Chinese identities have occurred in Southeast Asia, in order to help both China and Southeast Asian countries to better recognize and harness what does the term “Chinese identity” mean in the contemporary Asian context.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.General Education OfficeUnited International CollegeZhuhaiChina

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