Citizenship Status and Identities of Ethnic Minorities: Cases of Hong Kong Filipino Youth

  • Hoi-Yu Ng
  • Kerry J. KennedyEmail author
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 32)


Citizenship status is the legal membership of a political community such as nation-state, while citizenship identity is the subjective meaning a person gives to that community. The citizenship status of ethnic minorities in postcolonial Hong Kong is particularly problematic due to the complex legal institutions laid down by Britain and China. Although many ethnic minorities are Hong Kong permanent residents, their national citizenship is less clear. Many remain citizens of their countries of origin, while some have successfully acquired Chinese or British citizenship. This chapter explores how ethnic minority youth construct their citizenship identities under the Hong Kong context. It also explores the factors that might have influenced their citizenship identities. Based on in-depth interviews with four young Hong Kong Filipinos, we found that their citizenship identity is diverse, with a participant holding dual identities with Hong Kong and the Philippines and two not identifying strongly with any polities. For some participants, citizenship status is not closely linked to their citizenship identities, which are also shaped by factors like discrimination, cultural compatibility, inter-ethnic networks, and instrumental considerations. Lastly, like many local Chinese youth, most participants hold varying degrees of anti-China sentiment. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.



The research reported here was supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council, Hong Kong (Project No.: 18402514).


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Education University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  2. 2.University of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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