Recent media and some published studies have strongly linked the recent wave of emigration from Hong Kong to the changing political conditions caused by the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill movement and the enactment of the National Security Law. This article departs from that narrative to shed light on an alternative reality involving a segment of Hong Kong residents with privileged transnational mobility. Through in-depth interviews with 41 second-generation returnees from immigrant receiving countries of Canada, Australia, the U.S., the U.K., this study finds that concerns over political uncertainty were not the main driver prompting these returnees to consider (re) migrating to their former host countries. Second-generation returnees are a unique group of Hong Kong residents who possess dual citizen-ship and can migrate with ease, a privilege provided by their parents who emigrated with them before 1997 in times of uncertain political change. Combined with their complex transnational sense of belonging, second-generation returnees were rather detached in their assessment of the precarious political situation in Hong Kong. Instead, parenthood priorities, particularly their concerns over the character of local education and affordability of international education in Hong Kong, not only overshadowed political concerns but also overrode the likely cost to their careers of relocating to the West. By paying attention to the impact of the transnational background of second-generation returnees, this article also underscores the importance of the life course perspective that considers the long-term implications of migration for family members across later generations when understanding contemporary Chinese migration processes. Copyright © 2023 The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press.
|Published - Aug 2023