Reluctant Exiles to Voluntary Diaspora: Post 1997 Migrations from Hong Kong

Tuesday December 3, 2019
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Reluctant exiles to voluntary diaspora: Post 1997 migrations from Hong Kong


As a politically diverse and economically active region, Asia has become a central concern for world politics and global economic development since the 1990s. Asia also continues to take the lead in generating international migrations. Many Asians are active movers and are making multiple times of migration during one’s life time. In the 1980s and 1990s, out of fear of Hong Kong’s pending return to China, a large number of middle class families immigrated to western countries such as the USA, Canada and Australia, and were described as “reluctant exiles.” Migrations from Hong Kong have picked up momentum again since the 2010s due to Hong Kong’s rapidly changing social and political environment. Rather than describing them as reluctant migrants, this paper will examine how Hong Kong migrants have gradually formed a voluntary and fluid diaspora around the world. It attempts to use Hong Kong as a typical case of migration studies to look into the pattern of outmigration, return migration, and double reverse migration.


Yuk Wah Chan is Associate Professor of the Department of Asian and International Studies at City University of Hong Kong. She is an editor of the Routledge Series on Asian Migration and has published widely on Asian migration, Asian borderlands, food and identity.

Co-hosted by: UBC Department of Anthropology, UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs

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