Displacement and socio-economic (in)mobility of Chinese expatriates in Africa
The Chinese in Africa / Africans in China Research Network Conference Organising Committee in collaboration with the Centre for Cultural Research and Development at Lingnan University, Hong Kong
CAAC2021 2nd Online Mini-symposium : Contemporary Chinese Mobilities in East/Southern Africa
Online Session via Zoom
This article investigates the transnational experiences of Chinese expatriates in Africa, drawing upon survey, semi-structured interviews, and sketch mapping with Chinese expatriates working in different sectors in Ethiopia. I argue their transnational movement are shaped by inter-state diplomatic ties, overseas ventures of Chinese companies, and the individual aspirations for better livelihoods in China. Specifically, expatriation is marketed by official rhetoric of South-South skills transfer at the state level and sustained by management activities and discursive constructions of certain employee characteristics (e.g. suzhi) as strategies for differentiation at the firm level. The emergence of a transnational social order of stratification among expatriates indicates that Chinese in Africa are neither a homogenous group nor free-floating cosmopolitan elites with power and resources at their disposal. Instead, most expatriates are simultaneously domestic and international migrants moving between places within and beyond China. They are subject to varying degrees of empowerment, displacement, estrangement, and socio-economic (in)mobility at migratory nodes, which informs their future migration decisions.
Fei, D. (2021, February 26). Displacement and socio-economic (in)mobility of Chinese expatriates in Africa [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://commons.ln.edu.hk/videos/858/