Fireside Chat featuring Wai-Chi Chee

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Tue, January 28, 2014 | 4:00PM-5:30PM
Fireside Chat featuring Wai-Chi Chee
442 Temple Street
New Haven, CT

China-Hong Kong Cross-Border Families

Since the introduction of Individual Visit Scheme in 2003, giving birth in Hong Kong has opened up a means for mainland parents to secure a Hong Kong identity card (HKID) for their children. About 200,000 such babies have been born in Hong Kong. This decision is understood to be a family effort to enhance both physical and social mobilities of their Hong Kong-born children. For many of these parents who have a rural background, a HKID implies not only rural-urban mobilities but also potential international mobilities. A HKID also means eligibility and access to a better education to achieve social upward mobility. However, as their Hong Kong-born children reach school age, many parents find themselves trapped in a dilemma: Should their children study in mainland China or in Hong Kong? If the children study in mainland China, without a household registration, they are denied public schooling, meaning that parents would need to pay an extremely high international school fee which is often beyond their financial capacities. In the case of births that violate the Chinese state’s one-child policy, the parents face further severe penalty. Should the children study in Hong Kong, at least one parent would have to take care of them. However, without the right of abode in Hong Kong, parents can only travel with short-term visas. And they are not allowed to work in Hong Kong. This suggests that the family is split and the family income sharply decreases. Thus, ironically the family strategies to enhance mobilities have turned into constraints. This ethnographic research explores the everyday lived experiences and decision making of a group of mainland parents (predominantly mothers) who stay in Hong Kong with their Hong Kong-born children, having left their spouses (and first children) behind in China, and returning only briefly for visa renewal.

Dr. Wai-chi Chee

Dr. Wai-chi Chee received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her dissertation ethnographically explores and compares the immigration and schooling experiences of the teenage children of the two largest incoming groups to Hong Kong: from Mainland China and from South Asia. Her research interests include migration, education, globalization, governance, grassroots activism, ethnicity, culture and identity, and youth. Her current research projects include right-of-abode seekers in Hong Kong, Mainland China-Hong Kong cross-border families, the academic achievement of ethnic minority students in Hong Kong, and tutorial schooling and higher education.

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Schedule subject to change. Please check for updates and to see a complete list of forthcoming chats.

The Fireside Chat series is sponsored by Shenzhen Koridy Education Technology Limited

What are Fireside Chats?

The Fireside Chat series brings speakers to Yale-China to share and discuss issues related to China’s heart and hinterland with the Yale and New Haven communities. All Fireside Chats are free and open to the public.

Unless otherwise noted, all talks begin at 4:30 pm and are held in the Yale-China office, 442 Temple Street, New Haven.

Fireside Chat Videos

Fireside Chat videos can be seen on our YouTube channel.


Contact Magdaline Lawhorn or call 203-432-0884.

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