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A Cognitive Approach to Ethnic Identity Construction in the Korean Enclave in Beijing
Author: Sharon Yoon
Region: Asia
Location: Korea, South, China
Published June 7, 2012
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With increasing economic interdependence between South Korea and the PRC since the 1990s, in recent years, over two million South Koreans are reported to cross the sea for tourism and employment opportunities in China each year.1 Many of the first South Korean grass-roots entrepreneurs who ventured to the PRC in search of opportunities for upward mobility in the early 1990s sought out the help of bilingual Korean Chinese ethnic minorities in setting up their entrepreneurial firms. But before long, co-ethnic relations between the South Korean immigrants and their Korean Chinese workers became wrought with tension and conflict. Today, the Korean ethnic enclaves in the PRC are institutionally and socially bifurcated.2 This is rather unfortunate considering the fact that the damaged relations between the South Korean immigrants and the Korean Chinese rural migrants present significant barriers to upward mobility for both parties.

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