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Chinese (PRC & ROC) Nationality Laws and Reconceptualizing Asian-American Identity

UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal (APALJ), Vol. 22, No. 1 (2017) (Forthcoming)

Peking University School of Transnational Law Research Paper No. 17-3

32 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2016  

Norman P. Ho

Peking University School of Transnational Law

Date Written: November 1, 2016

Abstract

Existing Asian-American Jurisprudence (AAJ) scholarship has largely focused its attention on American law’s impact on the experience of Asian-Americans in the United States, particularly with respect to the themes of racialization and identity. This Article adopts a transnational and comparative approach, focusing on how Asian-Americans – specifically, the identity of Chinese-Americans – are racialized and affected by perceptions and the nationality laws in their ancestral home countries, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC, or unofficially, Taiwan). Examining Chinese-Americans’ social (namely, perceptions and expectations from PRC and ROC society) and legal treatment (via nationality law) in these countries arguably allows us to reconceptualize Chinese-American identity as not simply as a narrative of Americanization, but also one of Sinification. Coupled with perceptions of “foreignness,” “disloyalty,” and “inassimilability” in the United States, a twilight zone of Chinese-American identity then occurs, where Chinese-Americans are in a tug-of-war of sorts between what we might describe as “dueling vectors” of their American identity and the identity of their home countries. They may not feel fully accepted as “Americans,” but at the same time they may feel “too accepted” as “Chinese” by the PRC or ROC. This Article uses specific case studies, namely the experiences of Chinese-American ESL teachers working and living in the PRC and ROC, former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, and NBA basketball player Jeremy Lin, to highlight the tensions between Americanization and Sinification of Chinese-American identity both by PRC and ROC society and also PRC and ROC nationality law.

Keywords: Asian-American jurisprudence, critical legal studies, critical race theory, Chinese nationality law, Chinese-American identity, ROC (Taiwan) nationality law

Suggested Citation

Ho, Norman P., Chinese (PRC & ROC) Nationality Laws and Reconceptualizing Asian-American Identity (November 1, 2016). UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal (APALJ), Vol. 22, No. 1 (2017) (Forthcoming); Peking University School of Transnational Law Research Paper No. 17-3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2868650

Norman P. Ho (Contact Author)

Peking University School of Transnational Law ( email )

Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School
University Town, Xili, Nanshan District
Shenzhen, Guangdong 518055
China

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