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Civic Stratification Within Cross-Border Families: Mainland Chinese Children and Wives in Hong Kong

Clara Wai-chun To


The extant literature on family-related migration has examined the civic stratification of the right to family reunification of citizens and non-citizens and the citizenship rights of their reunited family members. However, civic stratification amongst immigrant family members has received less attention. Accordingly, the current study highlights the significance of immigration status and social reproduction in the hierarchisation of the residency and social rights of Mainland Chinese children and spouses within cross-border families in Hong Kong, particularly since the policy changes in 2003. This study asserts that children are valued as prospective contributory citizens, and thus, they are afforded preferential treatment over spouses, who are mostly women, whose contribution to the reproduction of family and society are undervalued by central and local states.


Family-related migration; civic stratification; social reproduction; citizenship; Hong Kong

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