Two logics of Chinese transnationalism: the case of gangpiao and Hong Kong

Iam Chong IP

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

1 Citation (Scopus)


Chinese migrations and the development of overseas Chinese communities have aroused scholarly concerns over the past two decades. Their scale, scope and varied features stun and perplex many scholars. Among the linguistic terms about contemporary Chinese transnationalism, the term piao (drifting) rises to prominence and characterizes the new logics of migration. This article is a case study of the educated mainland Chinese youth in Hong Kong, locally coined as ‘gangpiao’ (Hong Kong Drifters). I argue that there are two contradictory logics inherent to this form of sino-centric transnationalism. It testifies to the production of neo-liberal subjectivity, practices, and desires in compliance with China’s authoritarian capitalism, on the one hand, and critical internationalism in defiance of the state power, on the other. The former is a disengaged form of cosmopolitanism while the latter serves as an alternative but risky way of political engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-276
Number of pages20
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number2
Early online date3 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

The work is supported by the Early Career Scheme sponsored by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (Project no.: 23600616) and the Faculty Research Grant sponsored by the Lingnan University (2018, no. 101877).


  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • cosmopolitanism
  • neoliberalism
  • state power
  • transnationalism


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