Half-Chinese or Three-Quarters Chinese: The Chinese in Contemporary Burma

  • Chee Kiong Tong


The Chinese began migrating to Burma in large numbers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. At present, it is estimated that there are about one to one and a half million ethnic Chinese in Burma today, constituting between 2 and 3% of the total population.1 Yet, despite their long sojourn and large numbers, very little is known about them. Partly due to the political situation in Burma in the last 40 years, there have been very few studies on this ethnic group compared to scholarly work on the Chinese in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Based on in-depth interviews with Burmese Chinese informants, this chapter seeks to make sense and analyze the empirical phenomenon of being ethnic Chinese in Burma; how the Chinese construct the notion of “Chineseness” or “being Chinese” in contemporary Burma.2 Using this data, the chapter seeks to reconceptualize existing theories regarding ethnic identity and ethnic relations in Southeast Asia.


Ethnic Identity Chinese Communist Party Chinese Language Chinese Community Military Regime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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