This paper draws on ‘diaspora at home’, a concept that encapsulates the unique dynamics between Hong Kong and mainland China, as an analytical tool to explore the cross-border experiences of 23 Hong Kong students at 11 universities in mainland China. It empirically ascertains how the made and imposed claims and identifications of these Hong Kong students resulted in inclusion and exclusion as their interactions with their mainland peers and institutions deepened. Specifically, it highlights how their ‘diaspora at home’ status offered exclusive access to privileged higher education opportunities, preferential treatments and opportunities for upward social mobility. Meanwhile, such a status also resulted in an overwhelming sense of political liability as they unwittingly became ‘political tokens’ and suspected political subjects amid the increasingly tense political atmosphere between mainland China and Hong Kong. This paper pinpoints the relevance of class and politics in understanding how diasporic groups engage with higher education.
Xu, C. L. (in press). ‘Diaspora at home’: class and politics in the navigation of Hong Kong students in Mainland China’s Universities. International Studies in Sociology of Education, https://doi.org/10.1080/09620214.2019.1700821