UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Inclusion? exclusion! : citizenship, migration policies and anti-migrant campaigns in Beijing Zheng, Biao


When migration is substantially increasing in the contemporary world, states build complex systems to manage the movement of migrants, and these institutional borders significantly influence migrants’ attainment of citizenship. Besides institutional arrangements, the broader political context also shapes the management of citizenship. However, in existing literature, studies on migration and citizenship focus mostly on the international level and pay less attention to the local citizenship and domestic migration. This thesis studies how the policies changes of the migration system and political campaigns directly targeting migrants both shape the constitution of local citizenship and the experience of migrants through examining the case of Beijing, China. Using data from interviews, government documents and media articles, this thesis investigates both Beijing’s reform of the hukou system into a point-based system and its political campaigns against migrants, which began in the form of “urban beautification” and then developed into the direct eviction of migrants. This thesis finds that while Beijing’s point system renders better chances for migrants to gain local citizenship in Beijing, the greater acceptance produced by policy changes has been undermined by the anti-migrant campaigns which increasingly problematize migrants. This study not only exhibits the fragility of migration institutions, but also reveals how the political context, specifically the authoritarian system, produces and exacerbates the exclusion of migrants. This study adds a non-nation-state case to the existing literature on migration studies, also reveals the importance of studying the politics of migration.

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