The Global Chinese World: Ethnicity, Personalities, and Politics (海外华人世界:族群,人物与政治)

By Amy Lin


The Global Chinese World: Ethnicity, Personalities, and Politics (海外华人世界:族群,人物与政治) explores the ethnic identity of overseas Chinese, contributions made by prominent overseas Chinese personalities and how events in overseas Chinese societies influence politics in China.

Born 1937 in China, the author Yen Ching-hwang (颜清湟) is a renowned historian of China who has spent most of his life in Australia and is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Adelaide. The book focuses on the Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia, reflecting the author’s years of interest in the study of overseas Chinese in this region.

There are fourteen articles in this book, grouped into three thematic sections: ethnicity, personalities, and politics.

In Section One, issues discussed include the ethnic identity and economic contributions of the Chinese, power structures and power relations among different Chinese dialect groups, especially the Hokkien, Teochew, and Hakka.

Three chapters are included in Section Two, focusing on the careers and achievements of prominent Chinese personalities in Southeast Asia. They include Tjong Yoon Hean who was a Medan tycoon and the main investor and developer of the Chaoshan Railway in China, and Lim Boon Keng who was the main advocate of the Confucian Revival Movement in Southeast Asia. A comparative study of Tan Kah Kee and Oei Tiong Ham on their entrepreneurship and characters is also analysed.

Chinese politics and the rise of overseas Chinese nationalism are discussed in the three chapters in Section Three of the book, focusing on the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and the relationship between revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen and his Singapore Chinese supporters.

Most of the fourteen articles collected in this book are keynote speeches or conference papers presented by the author at academic seminars held in Singapore, Malaysia, Mainland China, and Taiwan over the past decade. They have been edited and annotated prior to publication.

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