Europe’s new bildungsbürger? Chinese migrants in search of a pure land

Pál Nyiri, Fanni Beck

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The recent wave of the emigration of well-to-do Chinese from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been attracting attention. Like earlier migrants, these individuals go abroad to seek a better life—but they no longer define that as higher income, better welfare, or even better education. Rather, these migrants pursue better environmental quality, safer food, and a more relaxed environment in which to raise children. Although the wealthiest of these lifestyle migrants, who move to North America, Australia, or New Zealand, have attracted the most attention, middle-class migrants have been taking advantage of lower-cost residence-for-investment schemes. This article explores the motivations of some of the twenty thousand Chinese who moved to Hungary between 2013 and 2017 and argues that the country’s official xenophobia and law-and-order policies make it a more, rather than less, desirable destination for those Chinese pursuing a “European lifestyle.” This migration wave represents a turn in the long history of how Chinese migrants interact with the world and relate to China, a turn that requires more attention in the studies of Chinese overseas. Simultaneously, it sheds light on how cosmopolitanism and global mobility can coexist with support for the new global populism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-326
Number of pages22
JournalDiaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Volume 20 Issue 3, Winter 2011 (published Winter 2020).


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