Gender and Anti-Immigration Politics in Post Colonial Hong Kong

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 15:30
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Susanne CHOI, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Since the late 1970s, Hong Kong has witnessed gradual intensification of anti-immigration sentiments directed mainly at immigrants from Mainland China. After the handover to China in 1997, rather than subsiding, these anti-Chinese immigration sentiments have reached a new high and crystallized in the implementation of restrictive migration policies, tightening of welfare access for immigrants; overt discrimination against immigrants in the media and internet fora, at community and family levels and the emergence of independence movements openly advocating the 'Hong Kong for Hong Kongers' manifesto. Since the mid-1980s, the majority of immigrants from Mainland China have been women, in cross-border marriages, who came to join their Hong Kong husbands. In 2011, 34.6 per cent of all marriages registered in Hong Kong involved a local male resident and a Mainland Chinese woman. As a result of the concentration of Mainland foreign brides in the recent immigrant population, anti-immigration sentiments have assumed a distinctly gendered dynamic, with Mainland women seen as the epitome of the uncivilized, ruthless, and dangerous aliens; posing an imminent danger to society and positioned to wreck marriages and break families. By means of a mixed method approach combining textual analysis of newspaper reports, internet discussion fora, immigration and related policies, interviews with politicians and government officials, this study asks the following questions: 1) How have anti-immigration politics in Hong Kong stigmatized Mainland women in cross-border marriages? 2) How do antiimmigration discourses reflect particular concepts of manhood and contribute to the formation of specific types of masculinity? The research is significant because it sheds lights on how anti-immigration discourses and policies, nationalism, and gender join forces to structure the process of settlement of a rapidly growing group of female immigrants, thus producing and reproducing gender inequalities in a local and regional scale.