‘Hieren’ of South East Asia – The Diplomat

    “Millions of Chinese are foreign compatriots, All of whom are members of a large Chinese family … They did not forget their motherland, they did not forget their ancestral province, they did not forget that they had sugar blood in their bodies. “

    Xi Jinping, Huaciao Huren speaking at unions at the seventh conference of the World Union on June 7, 2014

    China has a long history of entanglement with Southeast Asia. Tributes of Filipinos reached the Chinese imperialist courts over 3,000 years ago, while Chinese diplomats set foot in the Khmer Empire in 1296 and established close ties with the Sukhothai dynasty of Thailand only a few years later. While ancient Chinese relations in South-East Asia were through this tributary system, many dynasties, two poppy wars, a communist revolution and a capitalist market later, relations have changed considerably.

    In the midst of the shifting dynamics of the changing regime in recent centuries, Chinese migrants spread throughout the region to escape poverty or in search of opportunity – 50 million became “Xuan” or “foreign Chinese”, who are of Chinese ethnic descent. But do not hold Chinese citizenship. . Especially concentrated in Southeast Asia, where they own more than three-fourths of the $ 369 billion in assets held by Southeast Asian billionaires, their lives are closely linked with the Chinese state, and their economic power has given them access to the Chinese Has made the communist’s main goal. Power (CCP) soft power. However, with a complex history and an identity of its own, such relationships are not as clear as they may seem.

    Tan Yu first set foot in the Philippines in late 1999 as one of the many expatriates from China’s Fujian province. After his studies and a stent selling bread buns on the road, he moved on to establish a major textile business, which became one of the top 10 billionaires in the world in 1997. Yet his rugs-to-riches success story is comparatively almost one-sided. Other ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia, including Chia a thief, who moved to Bangkok in 1919 and became a $ 68 billion CP group. Robert Kuok of Malaysia, whose business empire includes the establishment of the Shangri-La Hotel; And the Indonesian tobacco-tycoon Hartono family. In fact, across the board, ethnically Chinese families have dominated the Southeast Asian billionaire list, despite making up less than 10 percent of the region’s population. As a result, they hold significant economic power in a region that has collectively become China’s largest trading partner.

    Multilevel relations between China and this diaspora have naturally followed the tide of politics. In 1909, the Qing dynasty “claimed jurisdiction over all ethnic Chinese” no matter where they were located. After a few decades, hoping for a better relationship with ASEAN, the CCP encouraged this diaspora to remain loyal to its adopted countries, and “huikiao” (a Chinese citizen living abroad) and “houren” ( Established a clear distinction between the concept of) a foreign citizen of Chinese descent in the late 1970s). One can be a Chinese citizen or a local citizen, but not both. Towards the end of the 20th century, a new era began and with China’s reform and opening up, relations were reconnected to its “bamboo network”. As noted by Sebastian Strangio, 10 percent of the approximately $ 30 billion invested in China by ethnic Chinese abroad came from Southeast Asia. Overseas Indians served as a bridge to the Chinese trade in Southeast Asia and benefited greatly from China’s rise – for example, two-thirds of the CP Group’s annual revenue comes from its Chinese subsidiaries, while the group Ping Also holds stakes in major Chinese companies such as Ann. Insurance.

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    With this reunion, the lines between Huren and Huikiao are once again blurred, especially under Xi Jinping’s vision of “a large China family” and his project of a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Under this new imperative, foreign Chinese have become important not only because of a large value-based mission, the “unification of the motherland”, but also for their political or economic impact, which has been characterized by economic development and large policy initiatives. Is seen. In 2014, after proposing the “One Belt One Road” initiative, the definition of “sons and daughters of China” included both mainland Chinese and foreign Chinese.

    To further strengthen these relations with overseas Indians, China has launched several soft power offenses and campaigns targeting its overseas Chinese community. They are often led by an organization under the United Front Work Department, CCP, which aims to build alliances locally and internationally. Promising to study the Chinese language in campaigns, always promising to protect people of Chinese descent, financing pro-China foreign think tanks, and gaining control of foreign Chinese-language media (including radio, TV and newspapers) Hieren youth is included.

    Considering the above, it would be easy to assume that China’s soft power and economic opportunities have made the life of Huren easier. But the results of this new found intimacy have been mixed. In the context of a growing distrust of China and a history of significant ethnic tensions within ASEAN nations, where Hwen was unfairly viewed as rich, these soft power efforts have also made life more difficult and resented chronic Has given birth to feelings again. For example, in 2015, pro-Malaysian government protesters demonstrated in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown to discredit the ethnic Chinese community and leaders, while the defense of these ethnic Chinese ambassadors attracted criticism from the Malaysian government for its interference in domestic affairs . Recently, there have been campaigns against Chinese relations in Indonesia and the Philippines, and against Chinese businesses in Malaysia. Many worries can worsen this.

    While Chia A Chor of the CP Group may have named her sons to be “fair, great China” and soft power efforts may have revived ideological bonds to some families, Hieren always and above all , Have been practical. As traders and businessmen, they seize opportunities wherever they are coming and find ways to balance the growing Chinese power, the realities of trade and their local ties – like many leaders in Asia, their countries. Despite his mistrust of China. Ultimately, Hyren has carved out an identity within her own countries, and the younger generation, who have often attended local universities or elite institutions around the world, enter the job market, far from a Chinese homeland. Memories continue to fade.


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