The Rise of China and the Chinese Overseas: A Study of Beijing's Changing Policy in Southeast Asia and Beyond

The Rise of China and the Chinese Overseas: A Study of Beijing's Changing Policy in Southeast Asia and Beyond
Leo Suryadinata, author
Date of publication:  2017
Publisher:  ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
Number of pages:  278
Code:  BM544
Soft Cover
ISBN: 9789814762649
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Ari Kokko, Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, 2018.

"In dozens of articles and books, spanning an academic career of nearly 50 years, Suryadinata has studied the role of Chinese minorities in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian economies. In this volume, he turns the focus to the Chinese side: What is Beijing's policy towards the overseas Chinese, and how has it changed over time? Have the interests of the overseas Chinese become a national policy priority for China, or can the increasing attention given to them be explained by other arguments? These are relevant questions as economic reforms and globalization continue to create waves of Chinese migration - students, experts and professionals, wealthy investors, and laborers in Chinese companies - at the same time as China's global political role and its interest in external developments grow alongside its increasing economic weight and power.

I appreciate the well-structured presentation of how Chinese policy has adjusted to take into account the overseas Chinese as a resource, and how Beijing has responded to various external and internal events involving overseas Chinese people. The book describes how Chinese policies shifted from non-intervention in the case of anti-Chinese violence in Indonesia in 1998 to active intervention and the evacuation of Chinese people after anti-Chinese riots in Tonga and the Solomon Islands in 2006, as well as after civil unrest in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen some years later. It also provides interesting discussions of how China tried to mobilise overseas Chinese resources, both human and financial, in connection with Sichuan earthquake and the Beijing Olympics, and what role overseas Chinese could play in the realization of the Belt and Road initiative."

Chong Suk-Wai, The Straits Times, Lifestyle Section, "China Blowing Hot and Cold," 28 March 2017. 

"Dr Leo Suryadinata has been tracking Beijing's shifts in policy towards non-mainland Chinese since the 1970s, so he has the long view on the subject. Better yet, he is adept in Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia and English, the three languages which enable him to note and decode the nuances and niceties of political shadow play between China and its neighbours. His book is required reading if one wants to grasp these fraught ties firmly."

About the publication

With the rise of China and massive new migrations, China has adjusted its policy towards the Chinese overseas in Southeast Asia and beyond. This book deals with Beijing's policy which has been a response to the external events involving the Chinese overseas as well as the internal needs of China. It appears that a rising China considers the Chinese overseas as a source of socio-political and economic capital and would extend its protection to them whenever this is not in conflict with its core national interest. The impacts on and the responses of the relevant countries, especially those in Southeast Asia, are also examined.


  • The Rise of China and the Chinese Overseas: A Study of Beijing's Changing Policy in Southeast Asia and Beyond
    [Whole Publication, ISBN: 9789814762656], by Leo Suryadinata, author
  • Preliminary pages
  • 1. The Rise of China and the Chinese Overseas
  • 2. The Chinese Overseas and the "Overseas Chinese Affairs Office"
  • 3. China's Foreign Policy vis-a-vis the Chinese Overseas
  • 4. Non-Intervention: The 1998 Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia
  • 5. Direct Protection: Examples from South Pacific, the Middle East and Africa

    (I) Anti-Chinese Violence in the Solomon Islands and Tonga;

    (II) Evacuation of the Chinese from Egypt, Libya and Yemen

  • 6. Effective Protection? The 2014 Anti-China/Chinese Riots in Vietnam
  • 7. From Non-Intervention to Intervention? The "Nude Squat" Episode and Chinese Ambassador Saga in Malaysia
  • 8. To Help or Not to Help? The Kokang Chinese Problem in Myanmar
  • 9. The Use of Chinese Transnationalism: The Sichuan Earthquake and the Beijing Olympic Games
  • 10. Direct Control? Beijing and the World Chinese Entrepreneurs Conference
  • 11. "One Belt One Road" Strategy and the Chinese Overseas
  • 12. Beijing's Soft Power Bid: Promotion of the Chinese Language and Confucius Institutes
  • 13. Beijing's New Policy: A Return to Chinese Transnationalism?
  • 14. The Impact of Beijing's Changing Policy
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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