Chinese migrant wives in Taiwan: Claiming entitlements, resisting inequality, and rejecting citizenship

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A considerable number of Chinese women have migrated to Taiwan through marriage over the last two decades. Although the demographics of these marriage migrants have transformed over the years, a misunderstanding still exists as migrant wives are seen as commodities and gaining citizen status is seen as their ultimate goal. Using in-depth interviews, this research takes a bottom-up approach by allowing Chinese migrant women in Taiwan to define and interpret their own citizenship. It explains how they negotiate the politics of citizenship as they confront harsher immigration restrictions than immigrants of other origins because of their Chinese identity. This paper suggests that immigrants’ intersectional identities shape their conceptualization of Taiwanese citizenship, although their agency is limited. My findings illustrate that some Chinese migrant wives embrace citizenship entitlements while others’ experiences with citizenship differ depending on their positionality in both the private and the public. My findings also show that some migrant wives actively reject Taiwanese citizenship, challenging the myth that all Chinese immigrants desire Taiwanese citizenship. This study contributes to citizenship and migration studies using a feminist, intersectional approach and raises implications for the degree to which migrant wives have agency in constructing their citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-638
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Issue number4
Early online date3 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2019


  • migration
  • citizenship
  • marriage intersectionality
  • Taiwan
  • China


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