Research

My current research focuses on maternity protection of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. Within the field of migration, I am particularly interested in Chinese migration diplomacy and overseas North Korean identity formation.

Ongoing projects: 

- Hostage diplomacy in post-war US-China history 

- Gender equality in East Asia - maternity benefits

- International development partnerships between Chinese actors and INGOs and NGOs outside of China (supporting a Mercy Corps-funded research project)

Previous research projects

Striving to be the one and only: migration diplomacy of the Communist and Nationalist China from 1949 to 1971—overseas Chinese policy in perspective.

This paper was presented at the Hong Kong Political Science Association Annual Conference 2019 in October 2019.

A divided China due to the Chinese Civil War, Beijing and Taipei’s respective alliances with the Soviets and the Americans had all made the cross-strait relations complicated. During the period of 1949-1971, considerable discussion was devoted to high-stakes political and security matters, and migration issues tended to disappear from the diplomatic history narrative. Even so, it does not mean that immigration policy did not play a part in forming the early-Cold War ROC-PRC relations. This paper calls attention to the Communist and Nationalist attempt of using immigration as a foreign policy instrument to manage their larger complex relations. It explores the question of how their immigration policies served their respective claims as the sole legitimate government of China. I argue that the interrelations between immigration and Cold War in China were far more intricate than either the Nationalists or the Communists would have us believe. Using archives, this paper tries to uncover how the PRC and the ROC took advantage of the relatively low-stakes area of immigration in the emerging Cold War context to strike up new relationships with the US and the Chinese migrants overseas, and connect it with their larger foreign policy goals, including safeguarding national security and facilitating loyal overseas Chinese to return. In addition to showing how foreign policy affects migration, this paper hopes to demonstrate that policymakers can also use migration policy as a means to benefit foreign policy.

Caught in the Middle? Negotiating the Overlap of Ethnic, Chinese and British Identities Experienced by the Uyghur Diaspora in the United Kingdom.

This paper was presented at the SOAS China and Inner Asia Graduate Student Conference in London in June 2019.

It addresses the multidimensional aspects of Uyghur migration experiences from Xinjiang, China to the UK. These concepts shed light on the inherent dynamics necessary for identity construction by exploring the multiple and overlapping, if not conflicting, identities among Uyghur migrants. Back in Xinjiang, they are caught between their Uyghur identity and national “Chinese” identity. Abroad, they are faced with one more challenge: integrating into British society. Drawing from six exclusive and in-depth interviews, the paper addresses the issue of Uyghur integration and identity negotiation in a foreign context. In particular, it focuses on the interactions between their individual identity as Uyghur Muslims and their collective identity as Chinese nationals in a context free from terror and oppression—the UK. Relevant findings include 1) most Uyghurs integrate very well into British society because of their cultural sensitivity and flexible language skills, 2) no matter how many years they have stayed in the UK, they still have a sense of belonging to Xinjiang where many of their family members still reside, and 3) they consider cultural and ethnic identities more important than any national identity. In the Uyghur diaspora in the UK, therefore, there remains more tension between Uyghur ethnic identity and the national “Chinese” identity than between the Uyghur and British one. The conclusion draws implications on the intricate relationship between ethnic, Chinese and British identities of Uyghur migrants in the UK. Understanding their interpretation between these various identities is crucial for the critical study of discourse and for expanding notions of their belonging and rights.