Frequent border-crossing children and cultural membership

Tuen Yi CHIU, Susanne Y.P. CHOI

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Migration studies typically conceptualise children as either “stayers” or “movers.” However, such binary conceptualisation is at odds with the experiences of children who cross borders frequently. Using the case of children with Hong Kong right of abode who live in southern China but commute daily to Hong Kong to pursue education, this paper examines the structural and family factors leading to this form of frequent border crossing and identifies 4 major strategies that mothers of these children use to help them overcome the barriers to acculturation. These strategies underscore the salience of the rhetoric of cultural membership as symbolic boundaries that delegitimise claims to citizenship of the perceived outsiders and the situated agency of parents in maximising the life chances of their children by helping them permeate the rigid symbolic boundary, and overcome identity ambivalence associated with their simultaneous existence in 2 politically and socially divided territories.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2153
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • agency
  • cross-border children
  • cultural membership
  • mainland China–Hong Kong
  • migration
  • parental strategies


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