chapter  3
42 Pages

Innovators, Strangers or Hybrids? The Returnees in Hong Kong

WithChan Kwok-bun and Chan Wai-wan

Hong Kong has often been described as a city of immigrants, but the fact that it still remains true today is often overlooked, even forgotten. In particular, little public discourse has been directed at return migrants, who can make valuable contributions in the cultural, social, economic, and political spheres. Studying the experiences of these returnees is important because it will enable us to understand more about the sort of social pressures at work in Hong Kong, along with the inherent limits of integration and the subsequent missed, and lost, opportunities for the development of the city’s human, social, and political capital. Indeed, Hong Kong has a long-standing problem of a too clearly defi ned social divide between the “local” and the “foreign,” with the latter encapsulating all those who fail to be suffi ciently “authentic” or loyally local. With a better understanding of the structural and personal diffi culties faced by returnees, and their triumphstheir plight and delight, so to speak-Hong Kong will be well placed to shape itself into a more inclusive society, drawing pragmatically on external infl uences and developing a progressive, adaptive, tolerant community in a world of change.