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Special Feature

Qiaoxiang 2.0: The People’s Republic of China and Diaspora Governance at the Local Level

Martina Bofulin
p. 7-15


The article examines recent transformations in diaspora governance at the local level, particularly the new, more integrated approach towards emigrated Chinese developed in places with longstanding and strong emigration movements. These places, known as “hometowns of Overseas Chinese” or qiaoxiang, have been actively reaching out to their expatriates for decades, but the initiatives and strategies for reaching out have changed recently due to central government policies, increased return migration, and the widespread use of information and communications technologies. Based on the case study of Qingtian County in the eastern province of Zhejiang, the paper examines different ways in which local government is reaching out to its members abroad, focusing on activities in the area of legal affairs and public administration, investments, digital transformation, public diplomacy, local urban restructuring, and response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings reveal innovation and experimentation at the local level rather than the passive implementation of central policies, and point to the need for further unpacking of the role of the state in diaspora engagement.

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Editor’s notes

Manuscript received on 1 December 2021. Accepted on 5 May 2022.


Full text document will be published online on December 2023.


“Beautiful Qingtian, happy Overseas Chinese hometown”: The architecture of a qiaoxiang
Local diaspora engagement governance for the twenty-first century
New initiatives and infrastructure for “returned” Qingtian emigrants
Going online: The development of virtual service platforms for qiaoxiang’s diaspora
“Overseas Chinese as a bridge”: The practice of Chinese public diplomacy in Qingtian
Discussion: Characteristics of qiaoxiang-style diaspora governance

First lines


The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) diaspora engagement policies have been amongst the government’s top decision-makers’ priorities since the opening-up reforms in the 1970s. They have been pushed into an even more prominent position in the Xi Jinping 習近平 era with his “Chinese Dream” strategy and Belt and Road Initiative (Liu and van Dongen 2016). This stimulus has not only impacted the reorganisation of diaspora structures and the implementation of strategies at the PRC central-government level but has also reached the lower levels of China’s bureaucratic apparatus. Recently, scholars have highlighted the most recent transformations of the diaspora engagement policies in China by examining policy priorities (Thunø 2018), specific mechanisms (Ding 2015), diaspora governance structures (Liu and van Dongen 2016), or interplay with Chinese communities abroad (Schäfer 2019; Ren and Liu 2022). Still, there is a lack of understanding of how most recent reformulations of the...

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Bibliographical reference

Martina Bofulin, Qiaoxiang 2.0: The People’s Republic of China and Diaspora Governance at the Local LevelChina Perspectives, 2022/04 | 2022, 7-15.

Electronic reference

Martina Bofulin, Qiaoxiang 2.0: The People’s Republic of China and Diaspora Governance at the Local LevelChina Perspectives [Online], 2022/04 | 2022, Online since 01 December 2023, connection on 01 April 2023. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Martina Bofulin

Martina Bofulin is a permanent research associate at the Slovenian Migration Institute, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Novi trg 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia (

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