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Taiwan: The Consolidation of a Democratic and Distinct Society

Understanding the Nuances of Waishengren

History and Agency
Dominic Meng-Hsuan and Mau-Kuei Chang


In the late 1940s and early 50s, the world witnessed a massive wave of political migrants out of Mainland China as a result of the Chinese civil war. Those who sought refuge in Taiwan with the KMT came to be known as the “mainlanders” or “ waishengren.” This paper will provide an overview of the research on waishengrenin the past few decades, outlining various approaches and highlighting specific political and social context that gave rise to these approaches. Finally, it will propose a new research agenda based on a perspective of migration studies and historical/sociological analysis. The new approach argues for the importance of both history and agency in the study of waishengrenin Taiwan.

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Electronic reference

Dominic Meng-Hsuan and Mau-Kuei Chang, « Understanding the Nuances of Waishengren », China Perspectives [Online], 2010/3 | 2010, Online since 01 September 2013, connection on 16 August 2022. URL : ; DOI :

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