Along the contemporary migration history of the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, three distinctive images have been constructed through the interaction between the overseas Chinese and Mainland China. First, the image of involuntary migrant, formulated by their migration activity and the continuous remittance they sent back to their hometowns, closely linked to the political and social-economic disturbances in the early years of the twentieth century. Second, the image of the overseas Chinese as political revolutionary was heavily politicised by the revolutionary policies of Mainland China in the 1950s and 1960s. Third, through the operational means of foreign direct investment, the overseas Chinese image of economic energiser was re-focused and mirror-imaged with the imperative of the economic reform of Mainland China in the 1970s and 1980s. On the one hand, the images of involuntary migrant, political revolutionary and economic energiser of the Southeast Asian overseas Chinese describe their situational status. On the other hand, these images also reflect the contemporary historical development of Mainland China.
Cheung, G. C. (2005). 'Involuntary Migrants, Political Revolutionaries and Economic Energisers: a history of the image of overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia'. Journal of Contemporary China, 14(42), 55-66. https://doi.org/10.1080/1067056042000300781