Ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia: Overseas Chinese, Chinese Overseas or Southeast Asians?

  • Leo Suryadinata
  • Tan Chee Beng


The Chinese in Southeast Asia have gained some measure of acceptance in the local scene. However, in recent years, with dramatic events such as the end of the Cold War, the globalization process, the opening up of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and ethnic Chinese investments in their ancestral land, people have begun to question the identity of the Chinese again. Old and outdated terms, such as “Overseas Chinese” and “Chinese overseas” have resurfaced and again become popular,1 creating the impression that the Chinese are no longer part of Southeast Asia but China.


Indigenous People Ethnic Identity Language Policy National Identity Chinese Language 
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  1. Li, Guoliang. “Zhanhou Dongnanya Huaren Rentong Yanjiu de Gongshi yu Fenggi” [Studies on the Identity of Ethnic Chinese in Post-war Southeast Asia: Consensus and Dissension]. In The Ethnic Chinese, edited by Teresita Ang See and Go Bon Juan, pp. 243–49. Manila: Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran, Inc., 1994.Google Scholar
  2. Tan Chee Beng. “Echos De La Recherche: International Conference on Changing Ethnic Identities and Relations in Southeast Asia: The Case of the Chinese Minority”. Archipel 44 (1992): 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leo Suryadinata
  • Tan Chee Beng

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