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From "Us" to "Them": Diasporic Linkages and Identity Politics



Global diasporas-a type of social formation mediating economic, political, and cultural affairs across borders-have been a focus of globalization researchers for some time. However, up to now, little knowledge exists on how social identification affects business participation in diaspora communities and how such participation modifies social identification. This article, based on empirical research on diasporic linkages between Taiwanese transnationals and ethnic Chinese overseas, serves to illustrate a) how globalization has enhanced the practical and economic roles of diasporas, and b) how economic practices and ethnic identification interact within diasporic communities. The author argues that ethnic membership still remains contested, despite diasporas serving as flexible forms of social organization in the mediation of capital flow.
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Identities: Global Studies in
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From "Us" to "Them": Diasporic
Linkages and Identity Politics
Yen-Fen Tseng a
a Department of Sociology , National Taiwan
University , Taipei, Taiwan
Published online: 24 Sep 2010.
To cite this article: Yen-Fen Tseng (2002) From "Us" to "Them": Diasporic Linkages and
Identity Politics, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 9:3, 383-404, DOI:
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Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 9: 383–404, 2002
Copyright © 2002 Taylor & Francis
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DOI: 10.1080/10702890290091589
Yen-Fen Tseng
Department of Sociology
National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
Global diasporas—a type of social formation mediating economic, political, and cul-
tural affairs across borders—have been a focus of globalization researchers for some
time. However, up to now, little knowledge exists on how social identification affects
business participation in diaspora communities and how such participation modifies
social identification. This article, based on empirical research on diasporic linkages
between Taiwanese transnationals and ethnic Chinese overseas, serves to illustrate a)
how globalization has enhanced the practical and economic roles of diasporas, and b)
how economic practices and ethnic identification interact within diasporic communi-
ties. The author argues that ethnic membership still remains contested, despite diasporas
serving as flexible forms of social organization in the mediation of capital flow.
Key Words: diasporas; identity politics; overseas Chinese; economic globalization;
Taiwanese transnationals
According to Barth (1969:14), “to the extent that actors use ethnic identities to
categorize themselves and others for purposes of interaction, they form ethnic groups
in the organizational sense” [emphasis added]. Such categorization is very com-
mon among members of what has come to be known as the diaspora—the disper-
sion of individuals with a shared identification based on ethnicity, language, reli-
gion, or customs away from their real or imagined homelands (Cohen 1997).
Members of various contemporary diasporas are now forming efficient social or-
ganizations that meet the requirements of today’s movement toward economic
globalization. Vertovec (1999: 449) believes that the dispersed diasporas of the
past are becoming today’s transnational communities, “sustained by a range of
modes of social organization, mobility, and communication.”
Global diasporas serving as long-distance social organizations have existed for
centuries. Commercial skills, entrepreneurship, and international contacts in key
cities made it possible for early diaspora members to dominate certain trade routes
as early as the 16th century (Braudel 1984). The existence of coethnic migrant
communities was particularly important to the first international merchants, who
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depended on a shared sense of trustworthiness when making long-distance trans-
actions.1 While the tools are different, contemporary economic networks among
diaspora members continue to wield great power and influence. Cohen (1971) was
among the first to study contemporary commercial diasporas and to conceptualize
long-distance cooperative trade networks consisting of members of a single ethnic
group. Based on his investigation of the Hausa trading network in West Africa,
Cohen argued that contemporary diasporas operate “alongside, indeed in response
to, and interconnecting with, new economic-political factors” (1971: 269). Other
contemporary examples of global ethnic networks include the recruitment from
throughout the Jewish diaspora of capital, engineers, and technical knowledge by
high-tech firms in Israel, making that country the current source of some of the
world’s most innovative technology (Hiltzik 2000).
In most studies on diasporic linkages in the global economy, shared origin is
presumed as being helpful in the establishment of economic co-operation among
interdependent communities, which includes the movement of personnel and capital.
This article challenges the assumption that such linkages are based on automatic
ethnic identity. For example, Kotkin (1992) claims that global diasporic links func-
tion as ready-made networks serving their members’ efforts to expand their over-
seas economic activities. Chen (2000: 48), in his study on the contribution of
Chinese diaspora to the South China economic boom, used the phrase “the magic
of transnational social capital” [emphasis added] when referring to Chinese diasporic
networks, as if Chinese linkages appeared out of a vacuum and that ethnic Chinese
all benefited from what Lee Kuan Yew, Senior Singaporean Minister, called “the
glow of Chinese fraternity”(quoted in Ong 1997: 197). In this article, my focus is
on the Chinese diaspora that involves native-place identity, one of the contempo-
rary global diasporas mediating economic, political, and cultural affairs across
borders. My point of departure, different from most of these previous studies,
begins with the assumption that perceptions of shared origin among diaspora mem-
bers should be considered as a dependent variable needing explanations.
This article begins with a brief overview on what Lever-Tracy (2000: 5) called
“Chinese diaspora capitalism,” a term referring to a Chinese-based economy based
on ethnic, linguistic, and cultural ties. In describing this transnational economy,
Douw and Huang (2000) point out that the Chinese diaspora is equivalent to an
international social organization that has influenced the formation of Chinese-based
transnational economies. The phenomenon entails economic networks spread across
worldwide communities. Though the major focus has been in Southeast Asia and
East Asia, and on the Taiwanese and Hong Kong Chinese, both of those groups
originated in the Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong, the same home-
lands of many Southeast Asian Chinese (Redding 1993). Lever-Tracy and Ip (1996)
argue that such Chinese cultural attributes as a common language and shared com-
munication modes reinforce transnational links among widely dispersed Chinese-
managed businesses. The impact of this Chinese diaspora capitalism is most easily
observed in today’s South China region. Therefore, most of the recent studies con-
Y.-F. Tseng384
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centrated on this region. For example, Chen (2000) has described the social capital
that comes in the form of Chinese ethnic networks as a potent resource for estab-
lishing economic connections across political boundaries, especially when gov-
ernments place strong restrictions on such economic links.
There is considerable evidence showing that current economic links among
Chinese communities in East and Southeast Asia are gaining strength. Overseas
Chinese investment in China (including from Hong Kong and Taiwan) accounted
for 80% of all foreign direct investment in that country between 1978 and 1998
(Huang 1999). Over 75% of Taiwan’s foreign direct investment (FDI) between
1987 and 2000 was directed toward Mainland China and Southeast Asia (Republic
of China Investment Inspection Commission 2001). Over half of the FDI money
from Hong Kong and Singapore went to China and Southeast Asia between 1984
and 19892 (Bloom and Noor 1997). In such locations as the Malaysian city of
Penang, the presence of Fujianese Chinese has resulted in considerable Taiwanese
influence (both groups speak a Fujian-based dialect of Chinese) (Chen 1998). Sim-
ply put, ethnic Chinese have invested heavily in Chinese-dominated economies.
Dicken (1992: 131) has pointed out that a firm’s perception of “psychic dis-
tance” between potential investment locations and its home base plays an impor-
tant role in determining whether or not investment occurs. The cultural, ethnic,
and linguistic motivations for Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and Singaporean invest-
ment in China and Southeast Asia have been discussed by Chen (1998), Gomez
and Hsiao (1999), Lee (1998), and Low (1995). However, most of these studies
have focused on macro- (e.g., political economy) and meso- (e.g., organizations
and networks) analyses, thus overlooking the importance of ethnic negotiations
and identity politics on micro-level economic processes.
In the above cases, global diasporas are viewed as being built on membership in a
group having a distinct sense of solidarity and strongly perceived differences from
others. Such self-perceptions allow for the construction of economic connections,
a process exemplified in this quote from an Israeli high-tech businessman: “If not
for Zionist sentiment, this entire industry would be in California” (Hiltzik 2000:
However, as Lever-Tracy points out “insofar as a diaspora is constituted by
shared memories and common attributes, these are likely, with the passage of time,
to fade and assimilate as it adapts to its diverse environments” (2000: 5). Many
analysts fail to recognize such dynamics and equate Chinese ethnicity with de-
scent and blood without taking into account a) the ways in which diasporic com-
munities have adapted to their host countries, or b) the construction of ethnic iden-
tities among different diaspora communities during different historical periods
(Wang 1999: 120–121).
Some researchers went deeper than simply viewing diasporic connections as
Diasporic Linkages and Identity Politics 385
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being ready-made and therefore taken for granted. For example, Hsing (1998), in
a study on Taiwanese who utilize ethnic connections in the process of capitalist
accumulation in China, has pointed out the problems associated with viewing Chi-
nese ethnicity as having fixed boundaries. In her study of ethnic ties of Chinese
diaspora in South China, Siu (1993) focused on cultural identity and the politics of
difference. Her basic assumption was that “‘Chineseness’ is not an immutable set
of beliefs and practices, but a process which captures a wide range of emotions
and states of being.” In their report on the same region, Smart and Smart (1999:
103) suggested that the ways in which transnational ethnic networks operate in-
volve “shared identities and claims of exclusion operating within a process of situ-
ated ethnicity.”
This is closer to the Barthian approach in studying ethnicity, an approach tak-
ing into account a) how ethnic actors subjectively label themselves, and b) the
objective cultural differences that they believe distinguish themselves from others
(1969). Accepting Barth’s argument means rejecting the assumption that an indi-
vidual “possesses” an identity; instead, ethnic identification must be dialogic in
the sense that it is created, preserved, reaffirmed, and even rejected through a con-
tinuous set of contrasts between one’s own group and others. However, ethnic
contestations cannot be reduced to individual quests for identity, since they are
rooted in social, political, and economic relationships. Calhoun (1994: 21) de-
scribes these “identity politics” as being “collective, not merely individual, and
public, not private.” In the same manner, Nonni and Ong (1997:4) suggest that
Chineseness is no longer . . . a property or essence of a person calculated by that
person’s having more or fewer “Chinese” values or norms, but instead can be under-
stood only in terms of the multiplicity of ways in which “being Chinese” is an in-
scribed relation of persons and groups to forces and processes associated with global
capitalism and its modernities.
Following this line of inquiry, the article uses the experiences of Taiwanese
entrepreneurs in Indonesia to argue that even though a global diaspora serves as a
flexible form of social organization in mediating capital flow, ethnic membership
still remains contested. It is shown how two groups within the Chinese diaspora—
Taiwanese and overseas Chinese—forge links via power struggles over identity
politics, and how ethnic identification forged within the diaspora is subject to ne-
gotiation. The assumptions of the present article are: 1) actors carry economically
meaningful identification prior to their economic actions, and 2) their identifica-
tions are negotiated through those economic actions.
Data was collected from historical documents, newspapers, journals, and inter-
views with 99 Taiwanese associated with businesses or business investments in
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Indonesia. Interviewees were identified from the Directory of Taiwanese Firms
Abroad published by the Republic of China Ministry of Economic Affairs. The
directory lists the names of individuals and medium-to-large companies who reg-
istered their foreign direct investments with the government. Given that the small
businesses tend not to register their foreign direct investment with the government
in Taiwan to compensate for potential bias in terms of firm size, I used the mem-
bership list of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia to locate the
owners of small businesses.3 To produce a varied sample, potential interviewees
were chosen according to a combination of industry type and firm size. Most of
the respondents were entrepreneurs, but a few managers and technicians were also
willing to participate. To verify the information offered by the Taiwanese respon-
dents, I interviewed ten ethnic Chinese working for or associated with the Taiwan-
ese entrepreneurs. Interviews were conducted in Taiwan, Jakarta, Surabaya, and
Bandung. Interviewees from Taiwan and Jakarta represent more diverse industrial
backgrounds and a larger range in terms of size of companies, while interviews in
Surabaya concentrated on the footwear industry and the interviews in Bandung
centered on the garment/textile industries, both reflecting the industrial clustering
patterns in these two localities.
During the research period (1998–2000), there were several incidents of ethnic
violence aimed at ethnic Chinese businesses, due in large part to the country’s
unstable political and economic situation resulting from the 1997 Asian financial
crisis. Therefore, the data were collected under very tense conditions, which may
have encouraged the Taiwanese investors I spoke with to reflect more deeply on
their ethnic membership/identification and its ramifications regarding daily busi-
ness operations. My decision to focus on Taiwanese investors and managers in
Indonesia was partly based on the progressively worsening relationships between
ethnic Chinese and indigenous people during the previous decade. Accordingly, I
felt that the Taiwanese working in that country had to deal with more intense chal-
lenges to their ethnic membership in terms of their relations with ethnic Chinese
According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, Indonesia is home to the
largest number of Taiwanese (approximately 30,000) managing or investing in
businesses in Southeast Asia (reported in the China Times, 16 May, 1998: 13). The
data does not show how many of these Taiwanese actually own the firms they are
working for. From the information gathered during my interviews, my impression
is that the percentage is large, since the majority of small and medium overseas
enterprises are, for the most part, operated by the business owners themselves.
The majority of Taiwanese transnational companies consists of small- and me-
dium-sized firms in such labor-intensive, export-oriented manufacturing indus-
tries as footwear and apparel (Chen 1998). Most owners make the decision to
invest in these overseas companies to avoid the strict environmental regulations,
higher labor costs, and shortage of cheap industrial space in Taiwan. Their deci-
sions to move their operations overseas are more likely for purposes of relocation
Diasporic Linkages and Identity Politics 387
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than expansion. Moving a business operation overseas is a long-term, life-chang-
ing decision. Some small business owners told me that they expected their chil-
dren to continue their overseas businesses once they finished their education. In a
previous study, I reported that Taiwanese entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia (includ-
ing Indonesia) tend to spend longer periods of time at their overseas operations
than business expatriates who work for multinational companies (Tseng 2000).
The information gathered from the interviews shows that Taiwanese entrepre-
neurs invest a substantial proportion of their financial and managerial resources
into their overseas operations. Although they are “temporary” business migrants
by official status, many of them settle and work on a more permanent basis. Some
eventually apply for citizenship, in order to gain the conveniences offered by per-
manent residency and to protect their investments.4 They become even more deeply
involved in social fields in the host society and establish a larger number of local
relationships compared to the expatriate employees of multinational firms.
It is challenging to identify Chinese who have been in Indonesia for more than one
generation, since many have Indonesian surnames and some have stopped speak-
ing Chinese as their first language.5 In other respects, however, they still partici-
pate in some economic and social forms common in ethnic Chinese enclaves else-
where—for example, religion is still an important dividing line between ethnic
groups in Indonesia. But regardless of the degree to which ethnic Chinese have
integrated into Indonesian society, they continue to be the victims of special treat-
ment and discrimination. A Chinese accountant working in a Taiwanese firm in
Surabaya, a long-time resident whose family views itself as part of the Indonesian
middle class, told me that she never used public transportation because her parents
were afraid for her safety due to her ethnic membership. This change shows that
for many ethnic Chinese living in Indonesia, economic status does not equal feel-
ing of security. Part of the reason for this lack of security may be found in resent-
ment shown toward the 25 to 30 Chinese families that control a large portion of the
Indonesian economy; these families are known as cukong, which in Fujianese dia-
lect refers to ethnic Chinese businessmen who cooperate with the local power elite
(Chalmers and Hadiz 1997). Using economic data from the mid-1980s, Robison
(1986) went so far as to claim that ethnic Chinese, who account for 3–4% of the
Indonesian population, controlled 70%–75% of its private domestic capital, an
extraordinary proportion.6 However, as the cukong label implies, members of
powerful Chinese families tend to avoid politics, preferring instead to cooperate
with the indigenous rulers in return for the freedom to pursue their economic goals.
Chinese identity politics in Indonesia are closely tied to their middleman-mi-
nority status, but being “essential outsiders” (Chirot 1997) explains their estab-
lished position economically but not politically.7 Thus, “outsiders” status existed
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prior to Dutch occupation but was reinforced during the occupation. Chinese acted
as buffers between the colonialists and the general Indonesian population; as the
Dutch increasingly adopted a “divide-and-rule” policy, they chose ethnic Chinese
traders and merchants as their allies, elevating their legal status to a position below
the Dutch, but well above the Indonesian majority. However, the Chinese were
encouraged to stick to their own identity via colonial laws that were written so as
to hinder their assimilation into Indonesian society (Shiraishi 1997). To ensure
separation, they were even forbidden to live outside of urban centers. From this
policy grew the image of ethnic Chinese as an outsider group; at the same time, it
set the stage for the consolidation of their in-group solidarity, a situation that is
typical of reactive ethnicity.
Chinese outsider status continued during the post-colonial period (Lim and
Gosling 1983). Mackie (1976) notes that few Chinese participated in the Indone-
sian process of nation-building, and were therefore accused of not supporting the
country’s independence movement. Thus, in 1997, Chinese were still treated as a
separate category of Indonesian citizen; for example, Jakarta’s identity card sys-
tem uses a special code that distinguishes ethnic Chinese from indigenous Indone-
sians (Suryadinata 1997). For a long time, documents printed in Chinese could
not be brought into the country, giving them a status equal to guns and drugs.
During my visit to Indonesia in 2000, the Chinese New Year celebration in that
year was the first to be given official permission in years. However, it is still
illegal to establish an all-Chinese school.
In the beginning of the 20th century, ethnic Chinese in Indonesia were given a
reason to identify more closely with their ancestral homelands than their adopted
country. During the early years of the Chinese Republic (created in 1911), an
official “overseas Chinese policy” was established, with Chinese bureaucrats cre-
ating special rights for Chinese citizens who were viewed as temporarily living
under foreign governments. It was during this period that the term huaqiao (liter-
ally, “outside Chinese”) was created to describe overseas Chinese (Wang 1981).
Decades later, the Taiwanese government established a cabinet-level agency called
the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission (OCAC) to address huaqiao-related is-
sues. According to the mission statement offered by the OCAC chair in 1990,
“there would be no such group of overseas Chinese if there were no involvement
in organizing them and keeping Chinese culture alive in their communities” (OCAC
1990: 4). Many ethnic Chinese did not view the underlying basis of huaqiao as
being consistent with their identity, but some were willing to accept their categori-
zation because of the benefits it conferred, such as ensuring access to Taiwanese
universities and vocational schools without having to take the country’s rigorous
entrance examinations.
Diasporic Linkages and Identity Politics 389
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There is a well-known popular song in Taiwan8 called “Descendants of Dragon”,
the lyrics go like this: “In the remote past of the orient, there was a group of people
called “Chinese”. In the remote past of the orient, there was a dragon called “China”.
Although we have never been to Yantze River, we always dreamed of its beauty.
Although we have never seen the Yellow River, we always dreamed of its splen-
dor… We will be forever Chinese.” This song was made famous by a popular
singer and received tremendous market success. However, it reflects the success
of a half-century’s Taiwan state project of forging Taiwanese identification sur-
rounding “China” and “Chinese”.9
The majority of Taiwanese are the descendants of migrants who moved there
from South China over the last 400 years. However, during Japanese colonization,
the dynasty on the mainland that used to govern the island was replaced by a new
nation-state. As a result, Taiwanese had gradually developed a separate national
identity, until the Kuomintang (KMT, or Nationalist) government retreated to Tai-
wan from the mainland in 1949 (Wu 1993).
Brubaker and Cooper (2000) have suggested that a state apparatus is one of the
most important potential agents of identification and categorization, since it has
the power “to name, to categorize, and to state what is what and who is who” (15).
In Taiwan, identity politics began with a state-centric construction of Chinese eth-
nicity. The Nationalist government based its legitimacy on its continuity as a po-
litical regime in exile from mainland China, and therefore felt compelled to present
itself as a version of the motherland to all Chinese, including huaqiao and Taiwan-
ese. In the second half of the 20th century, the KMT tried to systematically re-
mold the identities of pre-1949 Taiwanese residents (who had lived the previous
60 years under Japanese colonial rule) into strongly nationalist Chinese. Wilson
(1970) described this policy as “learning to be Chinese”—a process involving the
initial reconsolidation of Taiwanese identity as ethnic Chinese followed by a con-
nection between cultural identity and political commitment as Chinese nationals.
Part of the KMT government’s task entailed the reorientation of the island’s
majority (80%) population toward their mainland origins, regardless of how long
ago their ancestors had moved across the Taiwan Strait. However, Taiwanese
continued to identify themselves in terms of how many generations had passed
since the first family member moved off the mainland. In this respect, Taiwanese
living in Taiwan could, if they desired, consider themselves as members of the
great Chinese diaspora. This line of logic dictates that overseas Chinese should be
considered as Chinese nationals, no matter how long ago they left the motherland.
For example, Taiwanese schoolchildren were instructed to consider huaqiao as
compatriots; government-approved elementary school textbooks emphasized that
Chinese are everywhere all around the globe, and that Overseas Chinese engen-
dered the Sun Yat-sen revolution. Overseas Chinese are even said to be the mother
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of the nationalist revolution. Thus, until 1990 the Taiwan government automati-
cally granted citizenship to all ethnic Chinese upon their “return” to Taiwan.
As a result of these efforts at building bonds between Taiwan and an ethnic
Chinese heritage, most of the Taiwanese interviewed for this study expressed a
sense of belonging to the same Chinese diaspora as huaqiao—in other words, of
sharing a migratory history and a sense of co-ethnicity with others from the same
homeland. When asked how he identified himself, one interviewee answered:
In general, I would say I am a Taiwanese, but when speaking to Chinese here, I
emphasize that we all originated from the same region, though our fate separated us
when our ancestors chose to migrate to different places. Mine took a short trip and
yours took a long journey.
One could argue that this attitude is an example of what Anderson (1991: 6)
calls an “imagined community,” in which “members of even the smallest nation
will never know most of their fellow-members . . . yet in the minds of each lives
the image of their communion.”
Taiwanese and overseas Chinese are bound by several relationships that go well
beyond the confines of an imagined community, with the most important aspects
involving economic links. For example, one interviewee, a garment manufacturer
in Bandung, described the connection between Taiwanese and Chinese in Indone-
sia in terms of the flow of commodities, human resources, and capital investment
required to run a successful business:
We do not do businesses with local Indians because Chinese-owned firms are easier
to communicate with. Their firms are full of Taiwanese connections. Technicians,
technology and know-how, materials, and machine systems are mostly brought in
from Taiwan.
Similar comments made in other interviews showed the strength of Taiwanese
ties, as well as the active trade networks operating between Taiwanese and Chi-
nese Indonesians. The majority of Taiwanese I spoke with for this research said
that they were acquainted with ethnic Chinese in Indonesia prior to moving.10 Tai-
wan-based businesses rely on Chinese-dominated regional sales networks. To sup-
port these networks, the Taiwan government established a semi-official trade agency
in Jakarta. When I spoke with the Taiwanese trade representative, he repeatedly
emphasized the sense of mutual dependency that could result from such close trade
I am often approached by foreign buyers to provide names of businesses to give
orders. I will transfer appropriate inquiries to local Chinese businesses when there
Diasporic Linkages and Identity Politics 391
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are no Taiwanese manufacturers available. Once Chinese are in need of machinery,
technology and materials, they will purchase these from Taiwan. It is not only be-
cause they can get cheaper prices from Taiwan. It is also because they have special
attachments to Taiwan, so they will not buy from countries such as Japan and Korea.
The flow of expertise and personnel is steadily increasing in both directions.
Some of the interviewees said that they were originally recruited by Chinese firms
operating in Indonesia but later established their own businesses. Taiwanese have
long provided technological and managerial assistance to firms operating over-
seas, especially in such industries as footwear and garment manufacturing. The
flow of human capital goes both ways. Chinese Indonesian students who attended
university in Taiwan also supply a key source of expertise for Taiwanese firms.
They also are immediately accepted into an informal social-professional circle
consisting of “students who had studied in Taiwan,” whose members are readily
recruited by many Taiwanese firms.
Starting in 1990, the Taiwan state became increasingly active in encouraging
Taiwanese to invest in Southeast Asian countries as a means of reducing the amount
of Taiwanese capital being invested in Mainland China.11 The flow of investment
money to Southeast Asia was guided by a series of government measures referred
to as the “southward policies.” According to Hughes (1998), an argument used to
steer Taiwanese investors in a certain direction was the strong economic presence
of overseas Chinese in the targeted region. The OCAC organized visits, seminars,
and conferences between overseas Chinese and local Taiwanese entrepreneurs to
promote closer ties. With the largest ethnic Chinese population in the region (ap-
proximately 7 million), Indonesia was promoted as a primary investment destina-
tion. In part because the Taiwan government helped finance the construction of
two industrial parks in Indonesia (one each in Medan and Battan), Taiwanese for-
eign direct investment in that country grew five-fold during the 1990s (ROC In-
vestment Commission 2001).
While these economic exchanges and projects certainly solidified relations be-
tween Taiwanese and Chinese Indonesians in ways that went well beyond an imag-
ined community, they also supported the creation of a “diaspora imagination.”
The importance of that secondary goal was made clear in an editorial in the OCAC’s
(1996: i) monthly Overseas Chinese Economic Affairs Report:
Chinese have settled worldwide and have been prominent in the economic sector
. . . to supply information regarding their economic activities would strengthen their
exchanges with the mother country in terms of technology, trade, and capital. This
way, overseas Chinese and Taiwanese investors can benefit from such ethnic ties.
Calhoun (1994) defines ethnic identification as a person’s use of racial, national,
or religious terms to identify oneself, and thereby relate to others. He has further
Y.-F. Tseng392
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argued that these ethnic terms or general categories provide a universal framework
for ordering social relationships. In this section, I would argue that Taiwanese use
“Chinese-as-us” as a universal framework for ordering social relationships with
local Indonesians.
A dependent relationship begins as soon as a Taiwanese entrepreneur chooses
to invest in Indonesia, since local ethnic Chinese expertise is required to help with
applications, site location, construction, and worker recruitment. The majority of
entrepreneurs I interviewed had Chinese-Indonesian business partners who were
experienced in handling these details and who, prior to 1994, could help them
acquire the 50% lid on foreign ownership in firms operating in the country. A few
of the largest firms share ownership with local Chinese conglomerates, but most
small firm owners create fictitious joint ventures with Chinese partners, and actu-
ally retain 100% control of their businesses and capital. Most Taiwanese invest-
ments in Indonesia are export-oriented; in order to retain as much of their profit as
possible, business owners tend to take product orders and manage the movement
of raw materials from their Taiwan offices, which allows them to avoid paying
Indonesian taxes.12
Investors are known to recruit local partners who are willing to sign documents
without contesting control or ownership in a company. It is a practice that requires
enormous trust between parties, which most Taiwanese are more likely to extend
to ethnic Chinese. In certain areas, several Taiwanese share a small pool of ethnic
Chinese partners who sign agreements stating that they do not own any part of the
enterprise in question—a legally questionable practice if any of them ever decided
to file a lawsuit. When asked why ethnic Chinese deserve such trust, interviewees
said that compared to other Indonesians, Chinese were easier to communicate with
regarding the need to disguise investments and less likely to break agreements.
Although I heard numerous second-hand stories of Taiwanese being betrayed by
their Chinese partners, and even with the 1994 changes in foreign ownership laws,
the Taiwanese still prefer to disguise their ownership through the use of local inter-
With very few exceptions, Taiwanese hire ethnic Chinese to fill key posts in
accounting, finance, and purchasing, in addition to acting as administrative staff
and translators. Many Taiwanese employees have adopted the local Chinese name
for office, wenfang; in Indonesia, wenfang are usually found above the factory or
production space, segregating them from the indigenous Indonesians. The dispro-
portionate presence of ethnic Chinese office personnel was apparent when I con-
ducted research interviews at these companies. After the interviews, I noticed that
the ethnic Chinese employees usually accompanied their Taiwanese bosses to
lunches and dinners, where they interacted more informally.
The Taiwanese entrepreneurs I spoke with usually gave two reasons for placing
ethnic Chinese in key positions: trustworthiness and Chinese proficiency and “busi-
ness sense.” Taiwanese preference for hiring Chinese as accountants illustrates the
trustworthiness. The concern with accounting is an extension of the concern shown
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by domestic Taiwanese business operators, who have a long history of keeping
two sets of books—one for tax officials, one for shareholders. Due to the risks
involved, it is a common practice in Taiwan for business owners to put their clos-
est relatives (wives and daughter-in-laws are most common) in charge of account-
ing14 (Greenhalgh, 1994). When such relatives are not available (as is usually the
case in Indonesia), a top priority is finding a trustworthy accountant. The job is
almost always given to a Chinese, based on the assumption that shared ethnicity
will provide some protection. One interviewee made a revealing comment on this
I used to hire [non-Chinese] Indonesians to be in charge of accounting, and they took
care of both versions. I felt very insecure. I thought about the likelihood of our
business secrets being leaked. Now I feel much better by putting Chinese in charge
of this area.
Some Taiwanese entrepreneurs also rely on ethnic Chinese to supervise pro-
duction lines, especially during the first few years of establishing a business. One
practical reason for this is the need for bilingual personnel to manage local em-
ployees and to teach the owners about indigenous culture, customs, and religious
practices. The trust requirements remain fairly high, considering that these go-
betweens transmit the majority of communications between different levels within
the organization. This is an area where complaints are frequently voiced, yet eth-
nic Chinese are still highly valued by Taiwanese to serve in such roles.
Sztompka (1999:25) defines trust as “a bet about the future contingent on the
actions of others.” He points out that the strength of a commitment or belief in
another individual’s future performance is directly related to the amount of risk
involved, with the level and quality of trust closely tied to the kinds of risk that are
activated by potential abuses. He notes that the most serious form of risk involves
entrusting a valued object to somebody’s voluntary care. According to his defini-
tion, Taiwanese investors continue to place a great deal of trust in ethnic Chinese
because of the risk involved in placing tangible interests (e.g., assets, profits, and
labor) under their control.
More problematic is the Taiwanese claim that Chinese are better endowed with
needed human capital. Wallerstein’s (1991) concept of the ethnicization of a work
force is very helpful in interpreting these personnel choices. He argues that a work
force “needs to be socialized into specific sets of attitudes, and that the ‘culture’ of
an ethnic group is precisely the set of rules into which parents belonging to that
ethnic group are pressured to socialize their children” (1991: 83). I would argue
that it takes considerable effort on the part of parents to socialize their children to
acquire appropriate human capital, such as Chinese proficiency in an environment
that is as unfriendly to Chinese culture as that found in Indonesia. As mentioned
earlier, Chinese are not allowed to establish their own schools, and so ethnic Chi-
nese who want to teach their children Chinese language skills and cultural values
must pay for private tutors or send them to Taiwan. Many choose to make such
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efforts. As a community that is heavily involved in business sectors, Chinese
families also encourage the reproduction of business-related skills (accounting,
The preferences of Taiwanese for Chinese as form of social capital can easily
be perceived as what Portes and Landolt (1996) described as a “conspiracy against
the public.” Taiwanese entrepreneurs seem to be aware of this, and many make
the effort to hide such preferences. One interviewee mentioned a specific example
of preferential treatment in his company:
For college graduates, we give Chinese staff about 50,000 Rupiah, but the local gradu-
ates only get about 40,000 Rupiah. We can not afford to let the local graduates know
about this wage gap. We write the same amount of wages on the payroll, but give
Chinese staff extra money off the books. We also warn the Chinese not to let the
others know.
The placement of Chinese in positions above indigenous employees is a reflec-
tion of the Taiwanese entrepreneurs’ belief that the former are more trustworthy
and skilled—a preference that arguably involves a sense of belonging to a moral
community whose members are defined as “us.” The evidence shows that because
they are endowed with a Chinese orientation, Taiwanese maintain certain in-group
feelings toward ethnic Chinese—a function of the ethnic category they use to iden-
tify themselves.
Indigenous Indonesians might not perceive Taiwanese as part of ethnic Chinese.
However, Taiwanese tend to have a sense of insecurity especially during unstable
and sometimes violent clashes involving Chinese and Indonesians, due to their
own perceptions that they and local Chinese share a common origin and ethnicity.
In the wake of ethnic violence against Chinese businesses in 1998, the Taiwanese
were reported putting signs in their car windows stating “We are not Chinese” or
“We are Taiwanese” in Bahasa Indonesian in attempts to avoid possible violence.
Accordingly, Taiwanese investors make the effort to express sensitivity over po-
tent nationalist sentiments regarding “Chinese domination.” At the same time,
local Chinese are concerned about being put into the same category as Taiwanese
investors, knowing that Taiwanese behavior holds implications for their ethnic
Chinese image. One Indonesian Chinese told me, “Whenever I hear bad stories
about Taiwanese firms, for example, sometimes they close down their factories
but fail to compensate workers for their layoffs, I think that creates a bad image for
Chinese as a whole” (personal communication, 22 June, 2000).
Therefore, this section deals with the subsequent efforts on Taiwanese part to
detach their identification from “Chinese,” a process of turning ethnic Chinese
from “us” to “them.” First, Taiwanese are acutely aware of the potential for bias if
they exclusively rely on Chinese to mediate between themselves and local resi-
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dents. When they notice that Chinese supervisors are reluctant to confront their
workers, they begin to question whether ethnic Chinese are capable of being effec-
tive managers. In the worst cases, information becomes distorted because of racist
attitudes held toward Indonesians, as revealed in one story I heard about toilet
My factory was designed by a Chinese architect, and he told me that according to
local customs the restrooms for Chinese and locals have to be separated. I did not
know it was not true, so I adopted his suggestions. Now we have these two separate
Taiwanese also hold racially based biases towards Indonesians; I heard several
comments regarding the belief that they are less intelligent than Chinese. How-
ever, they tend to feel uneasy about the way that some ethnic Chinese openly
express stereotypical attitudes toward local workers, since the Taiwanese manag-
ers’ expectations are that their Chinese employees should act as buffers between
them and the production workers. One interviewee said that he overtly asked
Chinese to refrain from using the Fujianese term for “barbarian” when referring to
indigenous workers, saying “even though the workers may not understand the word
in Fujianese, it holds potential for damage to management because of the sense of
racial arrogance.”
Second, besides racial stereotypes, there is evidence that some Taiwanese are
also sensitive to the class issues underlying ethnic conflicts between Chinese and
Indonesians. Many interviewees described Taiwanese as being less rigid in main-
taining class distinctions. Several used the way that Taiwanese treat domestic
workers to support their assertions. For example, one company owner told me:
Chinese do not respect Indonesians as equals. For example, they do not provide
tools for their domestic workers to do the cleaning. They ask them to scrub the floor
on their knees. They don’t even allow their workers to leave the house without
This was an area where Taiwanese tried to distance themselves from ethnic
Chinese in order to achieve a more favorable image. Taiwanese interviewees
claimed that they paid higher wages to domestic workers than ethnic Chinese,
gave them higher tips, and allowed them to share meals at the same table. Regard-
less of the truth of these claims, their comments reflect a need among Taiwanese to
establish an image that separates them from ethnic Chinese.
Taiwanese entrepreneurs also made conscious efforts to construct identities that
went against local perceptions of Chinese in business, primarily regarding the is-
sues of generosity and class distinctions. Their efforts included paying workers
slightly higher wages than ethnic Chinese-owned firms in the same industry, pro-
viding better benefits (occasionally paying for meals and transportation), and ac-
commodating religious practices by providing prayer rooms for Muslims. A sense
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of greediness was another topic that was used to distinguish Taiwanese from Chi-
nese. A representative working in the Taiwan Trade Office in Jakarta made a com-
ment that reflects a popular image that Taiwanese entrepreneurs have of Chinese
business operators:
Chinese business people like to earn “instant money.” You can’t blame them, in this
society they are sojourners. They have shorter-term prospects because they are ready
to move elsewhere anytime, whereas Taiwanese businesses have longer-term plans
because they have lived in their own country. They have stability to depend on.
Another interviewee told me that he often made direct appeals to the workers in
his company in order to make clear the distinction between his Taiwanese back-
ground and the backgrounds of local ethnic Chinese, saying “I often remind my
employees that we brought resources from Taiwan to invest here. We are unlike
Chinese firms whose capital is from wealth accumulated locally.”
As a result of their concern regarding the stigmatized image of ethnic Chinese,
Taiwanese business operators in Indonesia have clearly practiced a certain degree
of “image management” in their daily business operations. The Taiwanese con-
cern for being perceived as Chinese influences their business and personal behav-
ior in ways that I consider to be signs of intentional desinicization. After settling
into their new surroundings, Taiwanese often take on a larger-than-average num-
ber of management responsibilities, reduce the number of Chinese middlemen they
hire, learn to speak Bahasa Indonesian, and make attempts to understand the local
To avoid being labeled as a Chinese company, some Taiwanese investors try to
create a sense of non-Chinese control in terms of language, personnel, and other
organizational features. This is not an easy task, and some efforts in this regard
have resulted in decreased business efficiency. Two examples of strategies used to
promote a sense of separation between Taiwanese and ethnic Chinese were noted
by respondents in interviews:
The upper and upper-middle level managers in my firm are Chinese, but to avoid
possible problems by association, we use English as the official language. Meetings
are conducted in English and documents are written in English. We don’t even have
a Chinese version of our company’s name. Of course, it creates communication
difficulties for management. Taiwanese managers think in Chinese but have to trans-
late their thoughts into English before communicating them to Chinese managers,
then everything has to be translated into Indonesian in order to communicate with
the workers. But this is how we prove that we are a foreign company that has noth-
ing to do with the Chinese. Our firm has been totally localized by hiring non-Chi-
nese managers. We Taiwanese do not have any titles or positions, but they [the
managers] all have to consult with us. Viewed from the outside, this firm is 100%
Indonesian. This way, we can be free of the trouble associated with anti-Chinese
sentiments and violence.
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These efforts are not necessarily focused on addressing localization issues. In-
stead, they often reflect anxieties over establishing appropriate positions in terms
of ethnic Chinese-Indonesian relations. This also means that the potential exists
for multiple identities, chosen according to strategic and rational considerations.
Lyman and Douglas (1973:350) noted this potential when arguing that:
Treating ethnic identity strictly as a group phenomenon in which recruitment of mem-
bership is ascriptive forecloses study of the process whereby individuals make use of
ethnicity as a maneuver or stratagem in working out their own life chances in an
ethnically pluralistic social setting.
Taiwanese entrepreneurs are dependent upon local Chinese assistance when they
first arrive in Indonesia, but tend to distance themselves from ethnic Chinese the
longer they stay. The experience of being categorized as Chinese seems to trigger
a process of resistance and reaction. When dealing with categorization as Taiwan-
ese and/or Chinese, Taiwanese actively create an identity that provides new cat-
egorization and promotes them in the host society. But it also appears that ethnic
Chinese often object to Taiwanese efforts to distance themselves from their Chi-
nese identity. As one interviewee pointed out:
Each time when local Indonesians ask my ethnic background, I have to say I am a
Taiwanese. And each time when I am asked whether I am Chinese, I have to say I am
not. Actually, I feel guilty about saying that, but I have to protect myself and my
Another example is offered by the following statement:
Chinese here still consider China as their zuguo [nation], and they think we (Taiwan-
ese) are like them in this respect. But whenever I tell them that I don’t consider
myself a zhongguoren [Chinese national], they usually want to remind me that Tai-
wanese are zhongguoren, too. But I reply: ‘Maybe you are zhongguoren, but I’m
not, I’m Taiwanese.’
Other stories I heard also provided evidence of bad feelings between Taiwanese
and ethnic Chinese regarding ethnicity; this particular anecdote, which took place
during the 1998 breakout, was also revealing in what it says about the attitudes of
local Indonesians toward Chinese:
Once I was driving my car and was stopped by an Indonesian. He said something
against Chinese and threatened to hit my car. I told him that I am not a Chinese, but
a Taiwanese. He did not threaten any further violence. I told my Chinese business
partner what I had experienced. He got very angry and accused me of abandoning
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my Chinese membership too easily. He said he did not want to continue to be my
partner if I really thought I was not Chinese.
However, the strengthened Taiwanese identity is closely related to the politics
of differentiating Taiwanese from Chinese which is emerging as Taiwanese na-
tionalist sentiments at home. Since the mid-1990s, the Taiwan state has been in-
volved in a process of establishing a separate Taiwanese identity.15 Along the
process, the state has actively encouraged Taiwanese transnational investors to
adopt a Taiwanese identity The government efforts are being supported by the
increasing globalization of national economies. Wang argues that the Taiwanese
identity discourse is closely tied to the globalization of Taiwanese capitalists, since
“flows of capital have been heavily vested with symbolic meanings related to the
Taiwanese national image” (2000: 103). This form of identity construction has
been expressed in one of the OCAC’s monthly publications, which describes over-
seas Taiwanese entrepreneurs as “unofficial representatives of our country.” It went
on to state that “their economic power represents our national power and their
economic influence extends our national influence internationally” (OCAC 1997:
Several actions taken by the government are indicative of efforts to incorporate
globalizing forces into the construction of a national identity; in some ways, these
efforts encourage Taiwanese investors to establish a separate identity. The clearest
sign of such a shift can be found in the OCAC. Originally designed to bring
together Taiwanese and huaqiao, the agency’s focus has evolved to assist immi-
grants and overseas investors who originate from Taiwan; in other words, their
emphasis has shifted from the Chinese diaspora to overseas Taiwanese.
A second important change has been the Taiwan government’s significant in-
volvement in organizing worldwide Taiwanese business networks. In 1992, it
helped to establish a pan-Asian Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce; membership
quickly grew to more than 3,000 firms from Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong,
Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. The OCAC provided strong fi-
nancial and organizational support to this and a second group, the World Taiwan-
ese Chamber of Commerce (WTCC), which was established two years later. Its
16,000 member firms are given special access to investment loans and Internet
business information (OCAC 1999). This shift in emphasis to overseas Taiwanese
represents a politics of difference that serve the current interests of both the state
and businesses.
The Chinese diaspora is an example of global links that are based on historical
relationships that are constantly being re-shaped by external forces. For Taiwan-
ese at home, learning to become Chinese was once an important official agenda.
Regardless of the success of this state project of identity construction, ethnic iden-
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tification can be reflexive and situational, with Taiwanese alternately accepting,
rejecting, inverting, or ignoring labels that others try to place on them. The effort,
however, does lend some support to the assertion that identity politics involve the
refusal, diminishing, or displacement of identities that others wish to recognize in
individuals (Calhoun 1994). Thus, the ethnic identity of Taiwanese transnationals
involves multiple and often contradictory experiences of being Chinese and Tai-
The discussions presented in this article also have implications in terms of eth-
nic economy and economic globalization. First, the Taiwanese business commu-
nity in Indonesia can be viewed as an ethnic economy that consists of co-ethnic
business owners as well as employees. Economic links among co-ethnics serve as
ethnic resources that are mobilized through communal solidarity as well as a col-
lective resource that ethnic group members can draw on. Light and Gold (2000)
have suggested that such resources support the competitive positions of individual
firms whose owners have the same ethnic background. However, the dynamics of
ethnicity are rarely discussed. Light and Gold also believe that “the puzzling issue
is how to define an ethnic group” (2000: 20). They simply define an ethnic economy
as one whose participants are co-ethnics. This leads to the conclusion that “the
concept of ethnic economy neither requires nor assumes an ethnic cultural ambi-
ance within the firm or among sellers and buyers” (2000: 10).
The problem with such an approach is that it presumes static ethnic boundaries
and stable associations among individuals sharing ethnic similarities. This reflects
a social science paradigm that emphasizes hard variables (e.g., patterns, struc-
tures, networks, and organization) at the expense of soft variables (e.g., meaning,
identity, symbols, rules, values, and forms of discourse).16 Commenting on cur-
rent research on ethnic economy, Pecoud (2000) notes that the topic has primarily
been approached from a socio-economic perspective, at the expense of analyzing
its implications in terms of identity and culture.17 As a result, we know a great deal
about industrial structure, entrepreneurship, and economic networks built on eth-
nic resources, but very little about how people interpret their ethnic membership in
market relations, how they negotiate their identification during interactions with
each other and with outsiders, or how their interpretations and negotiations affect
economic mobilization.
On the other hand, economic globalization research also pays much less atten-
tion to the issues of self-understanding and social location among capitalists or
managers, since most researchers assume that such understanding is irrelevant to
economic activities. The mainstream economistic models tend to portray the modern
world economy as independent from other aspects of everyday life, including the
individual senses of belonging and trust, and feelings of responsibility towards
others with shared values, interests, and goals (Sztompka 1999). Smart and Smart
(1999), however, are among those who insist that “to describe these transnational
practices, we must move beyond political economy to consider ‘moral economies’
or ‘social economies.’”
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In this article, I have presented evidence supporting the position that ethnicity
should be examined as an example of situated subjectivity, since ethnic member-
ship is articulated by one’s perceptions as well as by reactions to others’ percep-
tions. At issue here is the particularistic understanding of one’s self and others. If
we fail to account for such particularistic views when we investigate the subjec-
tive meanings of ethnicity to members of ethnic groups, we may not come to a full
understanding of how ethnicity helps to create, sustain, or even deconstruct eco-
nomic endeavors.
Received 25 September 2001; accepted 14 June 2002.
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by a research grant from Taiwan National Science
Council in 1998 and 1999 (NSC88-2412-H-002-004).
Address correspondence to Yen-Fen Tseng, Department of Sociology, National Taiwan University,
Rossevelt Rd., Sec. 4, No. 1, Taipei, 106, Taiwan. E-mail:
1. Braudel, in describing a sixteenth century commercial diaspora, gave an excellent example of the
potential economic power of countrymen who move to different parts of the world: “In fact, these
money-changers, usually Italian, really called the tune for the whole fair. Their equipment
consisted simply of a ‘table covered with a cloth . . .’ all the international and above all more
modern aspects of the Champagne fairs were controlled, on the spot or at a distance, by Italian
merchants” (Braudel 1984:112).
2. By comparison, 16.5% of Korea’s 1981–1983 FDI and 31% of its 1988–1990 FDI were invested in
the same region (Bloom and Noor 1997).
3. The Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia is not an official association. Therefore, their
membership is greater than those listed in the official directory.
4. An interviewee who invested in Indonesia in the early 1980s (when foreign ownership could not
exceed 50% of a firm’s total investment) told me: “I have acquired Indonesian nationality. The
main intention was to own my business legally. When I first invested in this country, I had to hide
my investment under local Indonesian names. I took a high risk by doing that. After I successfully
obtained citizenship, we changed the arrangement. Now I am the sole owner. The longer you
invest in this country, the more you feel that without citizenship there is simply too much risk
5. One should be reminded that the Chinese in Indonesia are not a homogeneous cultural group.
According to Suryadinata (1997), in the 19th century they seldom identified themselves as having
a common bond, marked as they were by geographical and linguistic differences in their origins
(the latter having always hindered oral communication between Chinese from separate parts of
China), as well as by degree of indigenization. Two groups of Chinese live in Indonesia—Totok
and Peranakan Chinese—with distinctions based on the degree of assimilation. Totok Chinese are
more recent migrants, still culturally “Chinese” in the sense that they speak Chinese dialects. They
are more heavily involved in trade, manufacturing, and banking, and live mostly on the country’s
outer islands. Peranakan Chinese, products of intermarriage prior to the 20th century, speak
Bahasa Indonesian or local languages, and use them as their primary medium of communication.
The majority of Peranakan Chinese, who are concentrated in Java, no longer speak Chinese.
6. Others, including Redding (1993) and Wu and Wu (1980) offer less dramatic estimates, but it is
nevertheless clear that Chinese Indonesians control a disproportionate percentage of Indonesian
7. Zenner (1991) suggests that a middleman-minority can be defined as a distinct ethnic group if 1) a
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substantial and disproportionate number of its members are engaged in trade and finance; 2) they
are buffers between the ruling class and the masses; or 3) its members have the propensity to
engage in self-employment.
8. The official name for Taiwan is Republic of China (ROC). The official name reflects the long-term
political self-identification with its origin, China. However, in this article, I have used the name
Taiwan instead of ROC to avoid possible confusion with People’s Republic of China..
9. Placing Taiwanese under the label of “Chinese” is also a result of international naming systems. As
a result, Taiwan’s official name registered with Olympics Games is “Chinese, Taipei.”
10. T. Chen (1998), in his survey of Taiwanese investment in Southeast Asia, found that almost 80% of
all firms had overseas Chinese business contacts prior to making their investments.
11. This was meant to reduce dependency on the PRC—the largest recipient of overseas investments
made by Taiwanese. However, due to the hostility that currently exists between the two countries,
the ROC government is concerned over the current concentration of indigenous capital on the
12. By putting a higher price on materials and inflating their overall cost, Taiwanese firms can hold
more money in the home country.
13. In order to participate in such off-limits industries as transportation and financial services, some
Taiwanese have continued this practice, even though the foreign investment restrictions have been
eliminated. Others claim that they continue the practice in order to shorten the processing time for
foreign-owned business applications.
14. Outsiders hired as accounting personnel are treated well. For example, when accounting personnel
(mostly women) leave a firm to get married, they usually receive a generous financial gift from
their former employer because of their inside knowledge of the company’s bookkeeping practices.
15. Wu (1993) has shown that a wave of late 1980s nationalism among the country’s political elite
triggered a new quest for identity—namely, Taiwanese.
16. I have borrowed the terms “hard” and “soft” variables from Sztompka’s (1999: 1–2) discussion of
two major sociological paradigms.
17. By showing how the Turks’ cultural hybridity and cosmopolitan identities helped build a successful
restaurant business, Pecoud (2000) spotlighted the link between the sepficificity of migrants’ iden-
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... The assessment of literacy education programs in the community is carried out directly by the program manager in collaboration with other related parties. Alternatives to identity, authenticity, and community participation seen as a significant problem in ethnic tourism in China (Xie, 2010;Lew & Wong, 2002, 2004Ong, 1997;Tseng, 2002,) Increased community participation in tourism may be related to the belief that these activities facilitate understanding between the diaspora and mainstream society and produce positive cross-cultural interactions. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how they view tourism developments and products for tourist consumption because the appearance of diasporic identities may differ among the stakeholders involved in the attraction. ...
Literacy skills provide opportunities to build society to face the global changes. This study aims to promoting the community members of the tourist village according to financial and cultural citizenship literacy as a part of multiliteracy in tourism village. This research applied descriptive qualitative approach. The subjects are 10 villagers in Jojogan Village, Wonosobo Regency. The method of data collecting use interview, observation, and documentation. Data analysis begins during the data collection process, performs data reduction, data presentation, and ends with drawing conclusions and verification. The findings describe promoting financial and cultural citizenship literacy as multiliteracy in Tourism Village is carried out in the community to have a financial and cultural literacy in their daily lives as a part of tourism village community. This activity promotes literacy cultur e by adjusting their free time because the learning schedule was coming from the community member's needs. With this condition, the manager and facilitator continuously try to adjust the conditions of the community members. These literacy learning activities include reading, writing, numerating, speaking, and listening. The benefit of this research is to provide an explanation that financial and cultural citizenship literacy as a part of multiliteracy in tourism village must be done.
... On the other hand, transnationalism studies stress the persistence of trans-border social relations, economic transaction, kinship ties, and mobility among migrants (Fouron and Glick-Schiller 2002;Levitt 2001;Vertovec 2009). For example, research has discussed the continuing involvement of immigrants with politics in their home countries, and how such identities have led to intra-ethnic conflict or symbolic violence between overseas Taiwanese and PRC-Chinese (Tseng 2002). ...
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Migration and transnationalism studies use variables such as migration trajectory, length of stay, and ties with origin country to examine migrant identities. Research has also found that contrary to the prediction of assimilation theory, some well-adapted migrants activate their origin country identities. Using young Taiwanese immigrants who stayed in Taiwan for most of their lives and went to the United States as a case, this article examines the mechanisms of context- and event-driven identity shift. We argue that these young adult Taiwanese immigrants – most of whom are first-generation – find that they are situated in a context where they have to ‘choose’ and ‘perform’ an identity for everyday interaction. Negative experiences with Chinese immigrants and the realization of Taiwan’s marginality encouraged them to activate their homeland (Taiwan) identity. This article contributes to migration and identity literature by analysing the consequences (identity triggers and shifts) of everyday encounters and events in an immigration setting.
... This Chinese religious discourse is associated with 'perseverance'. Although the Chinese context is considered a dominant one in the economic globalization ( Tseng, 2002), the Chinese cultural globalization seems to be less evident in the cultural global platform. ...
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... With a few exceptions (e.g. Douw & Huang, 2000;Tseng, 2002;Wong & Ng, 2002), immigrant groups' global networks ties in which shared ethnic, linguistic and cultural ties underpin the development of transnational economic links that straddle more than two societies have not been dominant in the literature. Too often the narrative on DE is coated in the language of bifocality, that is, countries of origin vs countries of residence duality (e.g. ...
The dynamic development in the field of Diaspora and Transnational entrepreneurship reveals a wide range of challenges and perspectives. These intensely tense up 'conventional wisdom', stretch knowledge frontiers, and simultaneously expose fundamental paradoxes in the characterization of ethnic minorities' diaspora and transnational groups in the context of their entrepreneurship. Prior efforts at researching and advancing knowledge in this sphere have been hugely complicated, not less by the problematic of nomenclature but by researchers' application of terms. Against this background, this chapter aims to expand current understandings on the dialectic, dilemma, and paradoxical signals emitted by the events of diaspora and transnational entrepreneurship's economic activities both theoretically and practically. The significance resides in its capacity to enlarge our understanding of the dynamic process of individual agency in cross-border entrepreneurial relations.
Studies on migration, education and social mobility are usually discussed in three separate fields. This article presents the overlap of these three fields by discussing how Taiwanese migrants in Dongguan and Jakarta perceive the educational opportunities for their children and the ethnic-based status for themselves. The study finds that for people from middle- and working-class families, migration overseas to less developed countries is a good opportunity to obtain higher socio-economic status and an upward mobility path for their children. However, the opportunity also creates unexpected anxieties. The privileges that these migrants obtain and the anxieties they have illustrate opportunity traps for these middling migrants.
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The new Italian vocal style that arrived in Britain at the end of the seventeenth century with teachers such as Pietro Reggio and Pier Francesco Tosi – and which soon became regarded as the epitome of vocal expertise – was the sound of italianità as much as it was a pragmatic mode of vocal production. My intention in this article is to trace emerging patterns of Italian singing teachers who settled (sometimes only briefly) in Britain, and explore their impact and influence on ideas of singing. Beyond Reggio and Tosi, particular attention will be given to later prominent Italian musicians resident in London (Domenico Corri, Gesualdo Lanza and Giacomo Gotifredo Ferrari in the early 1800s; Alberto Randegger and Paolo Tosti in the early 1900s) and the degree to which they challenged or accommodated British vocal culture within their teaching of Italian style and technique.
Research on race and ethnicity has focused on conditions under which solidarity will be developed to consolidate collective benefits. For example, facing racial discrimination can bring large-scale affiliations (e.g., people of color, Latinos, or Asians) to fight against racial injustice. Focusing on the negotiation and struggle between ethnicity and nationalism among Taiwanese migrants in Australia-a politicizing context associated with a prior definition of Chinese category, despite inherent differences within it, this article shows the complexity of ethnicity when ethnic identity/solidarity intersects with nationalism and racial discrimination. I argue that Taiwanese migrants attach specific meanings to the ethnic (Chinese) category and constantly connect to and shift its boundaries in different contexts. Meanwhile, they also make a distinction between racial discrimination from white Australians and political hostility from PRC-Chinese. This article proposes a procedural and contextual understanding of ethnic identity, solidarity, nationalism, and boundary making/unmaking within the Chinese category as it is enacted in Taiwanese migrants' everyday lives. It also examines situational variability in the salience of ethnic identifications, racialization of the ethnic category, and people's interpretation of ethnic and national identity when facing racial discrimination.
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The neoclassical realist theoretical paradigm emphasizes the importance of analyzing the unique complexity of state polity composition to analyze foreign policy behavior. Promotion of sustainable development generates opportunities for enhancing government bargaining leverage in international diplomacy by acquisition of international high-profile leadership roles in supporting global sustainable development in the midst of climate change adaptation. States acquire opportunities to increase their international influence amidst trends in global governance to address these sustainable development challenges. Promoting multilateral treaty framework initiatives and their implementation increases their bargaining leverage. Accelerating national sustainable development reflects awareness globally of economic interdependence. Prior to the Trump administration, the United States and China competed for influence partly by contending for leadership in global initiatives for sustainable development in the post-Cold War era. Indo-Pacific state political responses require the analysis of the nature of these states themselves to adequately comprehend this competition for influence. Nation-states demonstrate significantly different patterns of policy goal behavior than non-nation, multiethnic states. Most Indo-Pacific states are postcolonial, multiethnic states. Atypical Vietnam is much more resistant to Chinese claims in the South China Sea. Vietnam is a nation-state; consequently, it is more likely to perceive challenges and display nationalist behavior patterns. The Philippines have moved to improve relations with China. Relative predisposition toward nationalistic state behavior is a critical factor shaping Indo-Pacific responses to sustainable development challenges.
Economic growth is the leading concern of macroeconomic policymakers. In traditional macroeconomic models, the main factors that promote economic growth are labour force growth, physical and human capital accumulation, changes in the allocation of resources across economic sectors and technological advancement. All these factors are influenced by the integration of national economies, a process that has gained considerable momentum in recent years because of the erosion of economic and institutional barriers to an integrated world economy (see Bloom and Brender, 1993; Ehrenberg, 1994; World Bank, 1995).
The Chinese diaspora has a multiplicity of national, political and class identities and loyalties and a diversity of cultural and historical roots. Yet the studies on Chinese economic activities around the world indicate, over and above the differences, a shared tendency to concentrate in (most often small) business activities with certain common features in business culture and mode of operation. This has made it possible to speak of a distinct type of capitalism, with particular strengths and weaknesses. Its central characteristics have often been described, including relatively limited state support, a tendency to rely on trust based personal or community networks, rather than on legally sanctioned contracts, and a structure of family firms in which there is no divorce of ownership from control.
This chapter discusses the growth of Chinese nationalism. The chapter discusses the Battle of the Concessions fought by China with the foreign powers in the period of 1895–1900. The chapter also discusses the Boxer Rising of 1900, which spread rapidly in north China and began to attack foreigners and Christian converts. The chapter also discusses the Republican Movement of Sun Yat-Sen. The revolutionary movement denounced the Manchus as alien conquerors and worked for the establishment of a Chinese Nationalist republic. The chapter also discusses the circumstances that led to the fall of the Manchu Empire in 1911–12 and the emergence of Yuan Shih-k’ai as the dictator of China. The Kuomintang victory was the triumph of the Chinese landowning financial and mercantile groups over the old-style militarists and the Communists. However, the Kuomintang policy of abolition of all foreign special rights menaced the position that Japan had built up in Manchuria at the cost of so much blood and treasure.
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