Building Houses and Graves for Their Ancestors in Their Hometowns : Homecoming Practices of Papua New Guinean Chinese in Their Ancestral Villages in ChinaBuilding Houses and Graves for Their Ancestors in Their Hometowns : Homecoming Practices of Papua New Guinean Chinese in Their Ancestral Villages in ChinaAA11807171
This paper reconsiders the multiple nature of the homeland for overseas Chinese who have migrated and settled abroad. The relationship between migrants and their homelands is a central research topic in migration studies. In studies of overseas Chinese, the homeland is often termed qiaoxiang (侨乡). Qiaoxiang, which is Mandarin for “mother village of overseas Chinese,” refers to the particular area in China from where Chinese emigrants have left to go overseas. Many scholars have studied qiaoxiang.It is necessary to understand the dynamic relationship between overseas Chinese and their ancestors’ homelands in China to understand the meaning of homeland for a Chinese living overseas. As overseas Chinese have become localized to their place of residence, they no longer have a simple affiliation with their qiaoxiang in China. If a Chinese migrates to and settles in one country and then emigrates again to another country, the notion of homeland will become more complicated. To understand the significance of the homeland for localized Chinese, it is necessary to study how overseas Chinese regard their homelands and how they establish and maintain relationships with them. This paper considers the meaning of homeland for Papua New Guinean Chinese as a case study. During the colonial period, there were about 3000 Chinese in New Guinea and Papua. Since the eve of the independence of Papua New Guinea in 1975, many Chinese have emigrated again, from Papua New Guinea to Australia. Today it is estimated that about 90% of the former Papua New Guinean Chinese population reside in Australian cities, in particular Sydney and Brisbane. Papua New Guinean Chinese have experienced migration over several generations: from China via Papua New Guinea to Australia. As a result of this migration, Papua New Guinean Chinese have two homelands: one is China and the other is Papua New Guinea. The multiple migration and resettlement of Papua New Guinean Chinese provides us an exemplary case study for the dynamic nature of the homeland for localized Chinese overseas. This paper shows how overseas Chinese build their ancestors’ houses and graves in their homelands and discusses the dynamic nature of the homeland for localized Chinese overseas.