Tsunami on the Horizon? China could be a Huge Labor-Export Country
By Min Zhou
China, with its largest population and the most expansive (and best developed) diasporic communities in the world, is potentially a huge labor-export country. As it has become increasingly integrated into the world system, as its marketization has continued to undermine the power of the state, and as the Chinese people have reconnected with their overseas diasporas, Chinese emigration, both legal and undocumented, may define a new "Chinese Century," which can be many times the scale of what the historian Anthony Reid once termed the "Chinese Century" of 1740 -1840.
More precisely, the potential for emigration from China is already likened a "Tsunami on the horizon." This is a mixed blessing for China, Asia, and the world. So the challenge for China and other immigrant-receiving countries may be how to negotiate and manage migration, but the power of the state is severely constrained not only by the economy, but also by migration networks and ethnic institutions.
Excerpt from "The Chinese Diaspora and International Migration." For the complete text see: Social Transformations in Chinese Societies 2006 1 (1): 161-190.
[keywords: labor-export, diasporas, emigration]