Handbook of Chinese Migration
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Handbook of Chinese Migration

Identity and Wellbeing

Edited by Iredale R. Robyn and Guo Fei

The recent unprecedented scale of Chinese migration has had far-reaching consequences. Within China, many villages have been drained of their young and most able workers, cities have been swamped by the ‘floating population’, and many rural migrants have been unable to integrate into urban society. Internationally, the Chinese have become increasingly more mobile. This Handbook provides a unique collection of new and original research on internal and international Chinese migration and its effects on the sense of belonging of migrants.
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Chapter 14: Current trends, emerging issues and future perspectives

Fei Guo and Robyn R. Iredale


China’s internal migration is often compared to international migration in the sense that internal migrants are subject to substantial institutional constraints similar to crossing national boundaries. In addition, the identity adaptation and formation process of China’s rural–urban migrants shares many similarities with that of international migrants. By including studies of both internal and international migrations in one volume, it is hoped that more accessible references could be made available in one place to readers who are not only interested in China’s internal migration and international migration but also appreciate their comparative aspects. The conclusion summarizes the major trends and looks ahead to emerging issues. Internally, we can expect significant institutional changes that will affect the scale, directions and impacts of migration. These changes have the potential to improve the status, livelihood and wellbeing of migrants. Rural left-behind village communities stand to make considerable gains as more efforts are directed at loosening the institutional regulations that are holding back agricultural development. Tapping the potential development impacts of internal migrants returning to villages will lead to major improvements in rural areas. Internationally the relationship between China and its diasporas has already changed and intensified so that mainland-centred Chinese modernity exploits the diasporas for ‘capitalist knowledge and mutual self-interest in pursuit of global superpower status’ (Ang 2013, p. 29). If just a small proportion of overseas Chinese participate in this partnership, as appears to be the case, China will continue to grow and flourish economically. How this translates into political transformation is difficult to predict.

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