china-2012-xiamen-huqiao-farm-overseas-returnees-indonesia-dance

In the 1950s and 1960s, there were waves of overseas Chinese returning to Mainland China from Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia and Vietnam. Besides patriotism to the ancestral land, the main reason of the return was anti-Chinese sentiment in the countries of origin. Upon their arrival in China, they were allocated education or job opportunities. Thousands of the returnees ended up in working units known as “Overseas Chinese Farms”, where they were forced to do menial agricultural work from early morning to evening and receive very limited food and wage distribution. Despite of the hardship, the returnees still maintain the tradition of their birth land, including language, music, dancing and food. In recent years, some of the Overseas Chinese Farms were turned into tourism destination, offering visitors to experience genuine Southeast Asian culture. It certainly contains strong atmosphere of political propaganda and elements of human zoo, but I witness genuine pride and happiness when the elderly returnees perform and talk about the homeland they have lost.

Xiamen, Fujian, China, 2012

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