chapter  2
16 Pages

Rethinking the Vietnamese exodus: Hong Kong in comparative perspective

This chapter begins by sketching the general background of the overall Southeast Asian refugee exodus that began in 1975 and considering some of the general patterns and implications of Vietnamese resettlement in the West, particularly for the United States as the major resettlement country. Based on that review, the chapter then explores the rather different lessons that emerge from considering the case of Vietnamese in Hong Kong, how that Hong Kong material-the “missing Asian part of the story” that Yuk Wah Chan notes in her introduction-can contribute to a broader understanding of the Vietnamese diaspora, including how such refugee movements both reflect politic pressures and themselves create new political configurations. More generally, the East and Southeast Asian experience with migration, whether for economic opportunity or political refuge, is a valuable addition and potential corrective to the mass of North American and European research that tends to dominate discussions of global migration. This volume’s reconsideration of the Vietnamese in Hong Kong is thus important on its own terms, but also a useful addition to a growing literature on the breadth and complexity of migration to, from, and within East and Southeast Asia.