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Nov 14, 2017

We’ve already touched upon multiple experiences being a foreigner in China, but what about when you look Chinese but aren’t really Chinese? We’re exploring what it means to be foreign and of Chinese descent. This week’s episode is a personally very meaningful one to us — most of us at Looking for Laowai are Chinese heritage expats. In this episode, Hannah and Toni are joined by Ali, producer, and Christine, correspondent and translator, as they discuss how they and other Chinese heritage expats navigate fluid identities and spaces. We touch upon the term huayi (someone of ethnic Chinese origin, born and/or raised outside of China) in relation to laowai (foreigner), the Chinese bloodline, and what “normative privilege” means.

Episode producer: Ali Fung
Music credits: Bohan Phoenix, “Foreign 外国人,”; Setuniman, “Curious,” “Droll”; Lemoncreme, “Groove Music”
Theme song: 4barrelcarb, “Ambient Strings and Synth Mix”

Special thanks to Bohan Phoenix, for letting us use his track, “Foreign 外国人,” and to all of our interviewees for sharing their stories and thoughts with us.

Check out the full survey results here.

Further reading:

Ang, Ien. “Can One Say No to Chineseness? Pushing the Limits of the Diasporic Paradigm.” Boundary 2 25, no. 3 (1998): 223–42.

Chun, Allen. “F*ck Chineseness: On the Ambiguities of Ethnicity as Culture as Identity.” Boundary 2 23, no. 2 (1996): 111–38.

The Economist, November 9, 2016. “The Upper Han.”

Wang, Gungwu. “Greater China and the Chinese Overseas.” The China Quarterly, no. 136 (1993): 926–48.

Wu, David Yen-ho. “The Construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese Identities.” Daedalus 120, no. 2 (1991): 159–79.