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Beyond Friends and Foes: Immigration Policymaking in Contemporary China

On 19 September 2023 Tabitha Speelman successfully defended a doctoral thesis and graduated.

J.T. Speelman
19 September 2023
Leiden Repository

China’s reintegration into the global system as part of its reform and opening up over the past forty years has led to unprecedented levels of transnational exchange, including of human mobility. At the same time, the Communist Party has remained wary of internationalization when deemed at odds with its aim of domestic control. This project interrogates this tension in China’s state building by focusing on immigration policy, which lies at the nexus of domestic and global state concerns. It shows how China’s state response to the growing numbers of foreign migrants settling in the country has been constrained by a mix of domestic political dynamics and national identity concerns, even as state ambitions for a more comprehensive immigration strategy have increased. Based on a body of 100 interviews collected in mainland China (2018-2020), coupled with survey, policy and media analysis, the thesis is built around five strategically selected cases that zoom in on central-level, local-level and state-society immigration reform dynamics. This article-based thesis argues that China’s immigration politics can serve as a magnifying glass of tensions in China’s larger state transformation as the country develops into a global power.

Supervisor: Prof.dr. F.N. Pieke
Co-supervisor: Dr. K. Natter

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