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Global Chinese Migrants and Performing Chineseness

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This essay treats “Chineseness” as a work in progress for ethnic Chinese new immigrants to Global Cities, one in which individuals and families create, maintain, and modify the Chineseness component of their identity as they adapt to environments of multicultural populations, including earlier ethnic Chinese migrants. It is argued that the forms of Chineseness chosen and presented to others must be acceptable to both other Chinese and the local population as a whole, while also satisfying the immigrants' own values and the heritage they hope to give to their children. Their choices and presentation must also deal with national and local classifications and stereotypes about them. The raw material for their choices and inventions comes from their own experience, that of friends and earlier migrants and, over the past several years, sites on the internet. Vancouver is used as the example. In the Vancouver case, Chinese new immigrants must deal with Canadian official multiculturalism and the usage of the label “visible minority” as well as the Vancouver rhetoric about the character of that city.


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