New book of member

Katy N. Lam, Research Fellow of the research group and Assistant Professor in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has recently published a book entitled, Chinese State Owned Enterprises in West Africa: A Triple-Embedded Globalization. with Routledge.


This book investigates the globalization process of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in West Africa, primarily in Benin and Ghana, based on ethnographic research. It challenges the dominant vision of “a powerful China in Africa”, and argues that the so-called “Chinese business advantages” – monolithic Chinese state and Chinese low cost advantages, are non-viable for sustaining Chinese business development in the continent. Considering the Chinese SOEs globalization process in a relational approach, this book examines how the triple embeddedness (Chinese, African and managerial) shapes the Chinese SOEs globalization process over time and space, in diverse dimensions and among different entities – the Chinese state, Chinese SOEs, Chinese expatriates, the African government, African business partners, African staff, and the African society. It illustrates that the Chinese central state has “retreated” deliberately from its SOE globalization in Africa. The Chinese SOEs and Chinese expats are the major actors in initiating and inventing globalization strategies, facing limited Chinese state support and the African neopatrimonial governance and social contexts. Besides, the personal trajectories (from expatriation to social promotion) of Chinese SOE expats interweave with the globalization-turn-localization of their SOEs in Africa. Rejecting the linear, static and binary vision of “powerful China in powerless Africa”, the present study thus emphasizes power dynamics in Chinese SOEs’ globalization process are organic and pluralistic though in certain extent hierarchical –”second-class”. Time and local relations are key elements constituting the real Chinese advantages for Chinese SOEs vis-a-vis their ultimate competitors – not Western companies, but other Chinese companies.

Table of contents


For a detailed table of contents, please click TOC_Chinese SOEs in West Africa

Caroline Schöpf presented ‘An integrated theory of migrant incorporation’ at the conference ‘Migration and Diasporas’

Caroline  Schöpf presented the paper ‘An integrated theory of migrant incorporation’ at the conference  ‘Migration and Diasporas – Emerging Diversities and Development Challenges’ 22-23. March 2017, at Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, India.

The following paper was presented:

An integrated theory of migrant incorporation

Caroline Schöpf, Hong Kong Baptist University; Max Weber Foundation

Matthew M. Chew, Hong Kong Baptist University

Sociological theorizing on migrant incorporation lacks integration and contains the following problems: A too strong, uncritical reliance of human capital, a too limited investigation of the causes of discrimination, a too narrow investigation of influences of supra-national power relations, and a lack of linkage between acculturation and power relations. We propose an integrated framework of migrant incorporation, with factors influencing migrant incorporation on 1) the individual level (forms of capital), 2) the group level (ethnic group resources), 3) the societal level (intergroup relations), and 4) the supra-national level (direct and indirect influences of transnational structures and power relations). These factors affect local discourses on migrants, the local valuation of migrants’ forms of capitals, and migrants mobility, which act as mediators influencing migrants’ incorporation outcomes, such as socioeconomic status relative to the receiving society, and intergroup relations with it, and strength and directionality of acculturation dynamics.

The presentation received positive feedback, and Caroline was invited for an interview on the topic to serve as an online resource for the university’s students.

Workshop: Global South perspectives

20. April 2017
Room 1312, AAB, Hong Kong Baptist University

Keynote speaker: Matthew M. Chew

Europe’s expansion during the last five centuries has shaped the world economically, politically and culturally, and initiated a range of global inequalities that persist until today. This includes global inequalities in the academy: At its core are scholars,  perspectives, concerns, theories, methodological approaches, and objects of investigation from dominant groups in the Global North. Perspectives of scholars from the Global South and of minority scholars in the Global North continue to play a marginal role. We may be missing much in our understanding of the world if we investigate it mainly from the perspectives of dominant groups. The goal of this workshop is to provide an interdisciplinary platform that brings together scholars from the Global South, minority scholars from the Global North, and scholars working on North-South relations, with a focus on early-career scholars, in order to start filling gaps in knowledge and perspectives, and to work toward a better North-South balance in academia. This workshop wishes to facilitate a dialogue among research that advances our understanding on Global South, minorities in the Global North, perspectives on theory, methodology and methods, empirical work in the Global South, and Global South groups in the Global North. Examples of relevant topics include national and global inequality and stratification, globalization (including its economic, political, cultural and discursive elements), South-to-South and North-to-South migration, decolonization, indigenous-settler-relations, race and ethnicity and (anti-)racism.

All are free to join! No online registration is required to join the workshop!


Date: 20. April 2017

Venue:  Room 1312; Academic and Administrative Building, 13th Floor, 

Baptist University Road Campus, Hong Kong Baptist University



Registration 8:30 – 8:40

Welcome 8:40 – 8:45


Keynote speech  8:45 – 9:30

Cultural inequality: What is it and why is this term rarely discussed?

CHEW, Matthew M.           Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong


Panel 1: Majority Discourses and Minority Positions  9:45 – 11:00

Chair: LAM, Katy            PolyU / Max Weber Foundation

Discussant: HASSAN, Kanwal           Hong Kong Baptist University

Long Arm of the State or Vagaries of Integration? Weaponization of Migrant and Minority Bodies in Turkey and the Netherlands

ES, Murat           Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Thinking Race and Inequalities: Reflections from the Field

KWOK, Kim           Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Hong Kong

LIU, Kam-Sau             Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Hong Kong

Performing Sociability: Chinese Baristas Everyday Social Interactions in Bologna, Italy

DENG, Grazia           Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Conflicting Identities and Homelessness in the Muslim Diaspora: A study of Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist

HUSSAIN, Amina            University of Lucknow, India


Panel 2: De-Centering Social Theor 11:15 – 12:10

Chair: WONG, Day           Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Discussant: Tang, Ling           University of Oxford

To be South or not to be South: Towards a Correlative Understanding of South-interweaving-North

TANG, Wing-Shing           Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Self-making or Struggling? Rethinking Neoliberalism theory in East Asia: Working class Money Boys and Migrant women in China and Taiwan

LU, Chia-Hung            Benny  Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Theorizing Se: Re-Imagining the Sociology of Sexuality in Mainland China

LUO, Muyuan           Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

SUEN, Yiu Tung           Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Lunch 12:10 – 1:00


Panel 3: Re-thinking Global South Historicity  1:00 – 1:55

Chair:  LU, Chia-Hung Benny            Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Early colonial state management of Chinese deaths in Hong Kong (1856-1880)

TAM, Chun Bobby           The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Kinship Network and Social Mobility in Southern Song China: A Case Study of Yuan Lineage in Ming Zhou

LI, Xueying           Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Online music, fandom and Chinese identity? Exploration of the cultural practices of the young Chinese music lovers of ancient Chinese style in cyberspace

DU, Yi           Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong


Panel 4: Ethnicity and Inequality   2:10 – 3:25

Chair: KWOK, Kim           Caritas Institute of Higher Education, HK

Discussant: GUINTO, Nicanor L.           HKU and Kings College London

Immigrants in Chinese settings: The promotion of culturally specific resilience research and practice with immigrant populations

ARAT, Gizem           The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Factors affecting ethnic minority students intention to pursue tertiary education in Hong Kong

SAHOTA, Gurdev Singh           Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Attitudes towards migrants – a comparative study in Hong Kong

SCHOEPF, Caroline M.           HKBU / Max Weber Foundation

Challenging Precarious Lives: A Case of Foreign Language Teachers in Mainland China

KUJAWA, Izabela           Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland

Tea  3:25 – 3:45


Panel 5: Migration and Social Relations   3:45 – 4:50

Chair: GAGNÉ, Isaac T.            The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Discussant: ES, Murat            Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Rethinking precarity of Chinese migrant women in Hong Kong 

GAO, Elaine           HKBU / Max Weber Foundation

Losing home in searching: A phenomenological sociology of belongingness of the Chinese migrant

ZHANG, Qing             Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Mobility in the margins: Linguistic repertoire of a Filipina Domestic Worker in Hong Kong

GUINTO, Nicanor L. Guinto           The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Panel 6: Work in Globalizing Economies   5:05 – 6:40

Chair: RUAN, Danching           Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Discussant: WITTEBORN, Saskia           Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Emerging Markets in the Global South and Restructuring of Global Production Networks: Evidence from Cross-border Relocation of Chinese Garment Firms to Southeast Asia

YANG, Chun           Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

South-South Globalization and Human Mobility: Chinese in West Africa

LAM, Katy            PolyU / Max Weber Foundation

Constituents of Life Denial Processes in Labour Life Worlds

BIJULAL, M.V.           Mahatma Gandhi University, India

Understanding the Role of Guanxi in Small Start-Up Business in E-Commerce Industry: Study of Private Entrepreneurs in Anhui, China

ZHANG, Linlin           Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Paradox of Debt Burdens and Foreign Aid to Developing Countries in Africa: Implications for Sustainable Development

ADEBAYO, Anthony Abayomi           Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Nigeria


Workshop Dinner  6:50 ~ (Presenters, panel chairs and discussants only)

This workshop is presented by:
The Joint Research Group on Migration, China and the Global Context
Max Weber Foundation
Faculty of Social Sciences, Hong Kong Baptist University

Please send inquiries to:

Conference presentation at ISA RC 54 “The Challenge of the Global Migrant” in Rome, Italy

Caroline Schöpf presented a paper at the International Sociological Association RC54 conference “The Challenge of the Global Migrant” in Rome, Italy. The presentation received positive feedback and sparked an interesting and fruitful discussion. The following paper was presented:








Cultural difference or cultural inequality? An extended case study of the
experience of ‘cultural difference’ between highly skilled South Asian and
White sojourners in Hong Kong.

Caroline Schöpf,  Max Weber Foundation; Hong Kong Baptist University

Most studies investigating the societal reception of migrants have been conducted
on cases of migration to higher developed countries, which, as I argue, is leading
to a conflation of the factors of ‘cultural difference,’ ‘societal power relations’ and
‘global power relations’. There is a lack of studies that seek to conceptually
disentangle these factors. This study compares the experience of ‘cultural
difference’ between highly skilled South Asian and White sojourners in Hong Kong.
Drawing on ethnographic data and in-depth interviews, I show that the experience
of ‘cultural difference’ is qualitatively different for the two groups of sojourners:
White sojourners primarily experience forms of positive ‘othering’ and
cross-cultural misunderstandings in the work place while enjoying an overall
positive and sometimes privileged societal reception. Conversely, for South Asian
sojourners, ‘cultural difference’ is experienced much more frequently in the form of
negative ‘othering’, devaluation and every-day racism. I review the literature of
migration and culture, prejudice, and attitudes towards immigrants and show that
the explanatory models offered there cannot fully account for these discrepancies.
I argue that the discontinuities between the experience of ‘cultural difference’ of
South Asian and White sojourners in Hong Kong can be best explained with two
approaches: A systemic racism approach focusing on societal inter-ethnic power
relations, and a world-system theory approach focusing on global power

Caroline Schöpf co-authored article on student acculturation

Caroline Schoepf served as co-author of the following journal paper:

Pan, Jia-Yan, Petrus Ng, Daniel Kim-Wan Young, and Schoepf Caroline. “Effectiveness of cognitive behavioral group intervention on acculturation: A study of students in Hong Kong from mainland China.” Research on Social Work Practice 27, no. 1 (2017): 68-79.


This study examined the effectiveness of group cognitive behavioral intervention (CBI) in improving mental health and promoting postmigration growth for Mainland university students in Hong Kong.

Thirty-six Mainland students with mild-to-moderate levels of psychological distress have completed a 8-session CBI group. Various mental health measures have been administered at the pre-, post-, and 3-month follow-up tests.

The levels of psychological distress, acculturative stress, and negative emotions and negative thoughts of the participants were significantly reduced, while their positive emotions and postmigration growth were significantly increased upon completion of the CBI group. The positive effects were maintained at 3-month follow-up.

CBI group appears to be an effective intervention approach for improving the mental health and promoting postmigration growth for Mainland university students in Hong Kong. Implications for social work practices when engaging with Chinese international students were provided.

Link to the full paper:

The first Migration Café

Language and Integration in Asia's World City.v3.3The Joint Research Group organized the first Migration Cafe on 16 Dec 2015. The Migration Cafe is an informal and open exchange platform for discussing migration-related topics around a cup of coffee/tea. The first get-together focused on whether the emphasis on the Cantonese Language as the key to successful “integration” of South Asians into Hong Kong society is actually justified, or if it serves to hide or normalize underlying racial and class hierarchies, by comparing experiences of Westerners in Hong Kong that are not pressured to learn the local language at all. The exchange was lively. Dr. Kara Fleming from the University of Hong Kong, an expert of the topic, led the discussion of that afternoon. Over 20 people from different universities in Hong Kong, and of diverse ethnic origins, participated actively in the discussion. Many expressed their experiences and opinions on the topic both on professional and personal levels.

3rd Young Scholars’ Conference on China Studies, Hong Kong

The Third Young Scholars’ Conference on China Studies was held in Hong Kong on 14-15 December 2015. The Max Weber Foundation was one of the co-organizers. Prof. Ricardo Mak, Project Leader of the Joint Research Group and Prof. Franz Waldenberger, Director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo, delivered speeches in the opening ceremony.

The members presented their research findings in different panels. Katy Lam made a presentation on “Renegotiating Ethnic Identity in Africa: Chinese “Imagined Community”. Elaine Gao Fan talked about “Rethinking Translocality in Hong Kong: Parallel Trader or Migrant Sibling”.  Caroline Schöpf discussed the topic “Some Non-locals Need to Change, Other Don’t: Intergroup Attitudes and the Framing of Outgroup Behavior”.

Young Scholars Prof Mak Young Scholars Prof Waldenberger Young Scholars GF Young Scholars CS

“Voyages, Migration and the Maritime Silk Road” symposium, Hong Kong

China Global HistoryThe symposium on “Voyages, Migration and the Maritime Silk Road: An International Symposium on China’s Role in Global History”, was held in Hong Kong on 7-8 December 2015. Prof. Ricardo Mak, Project Leader of the Joint Research Group and Director of the Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies of HKBU, which was one of the symposium’s organizers, officiated at the opening ceremony. Both Prof. Ricardo Mak and Katy Lam were invited to discuss their research in this symposium. Prof. Ricardo Mak gave a presentation on “The Search for Spiritual Inwardness in Modern Society: Zong Baihua’s (1897-1986) Aesthetic Vision”. Katy Lam presented a paper on “Retreat of the Chinese State: Globalization History of Chinese State-owned Entreprises in Africa.”

Inaugural meeting of the joint research group

529 inaugural meetingThe Joint Research Group and its activities were officially initiated after an inaugural meeting held on May 29, 2015, in Hong Kong. Senior members of both institutions attended the meeting including Prof. Hans van Ess (President, Max Weber Stiftung), Dr. Harald Rosenbach (Chief Executive Director, Max Weber Stiftung), Prof. Franz Waldenberger (Director, German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo), Mr. Joachim Röhr (Administrative Director, German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo), as well as Prof. Rick Wong (Vice-President Research & Development of the HKBU) and Prof. Adrian J. Bailey (Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, HKBU). They extended their appreciation and wish for enhancing exchange and development of academic knowledge across Europe and Asia, humanities and social sciences through this collaboration effort.