The academic journal Translocal Chinese: East Asian Perspectives ( is concerned with translocal Chinese mobility and settlement within and beyond East Asia. It has a special focus on the (pen)insular areas, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and other archipelagic territories in East Asia. Its forthcoming issue 14.1 will focus on how the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR; or Belt and Road Initiative, BRI) may affect ethnic relations in Southeast Asian countries, and how it may help globalize student mobility and knowledge and cultural industries in and from Mainland China, (pen)insular East Asia, and the Southeast Asian countries. Among the latter, Indonesia will receive special attention.

China’s One Belt One Road initiative, which took shape in 2013-2015, coupled with the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2015, marks a new stage in China’s expansion abroad. The initiative follows upon the previous mobility transitions, namely the emergence of “new migrants (Xin Yimin)” in the 1980s, and the (Going West and) Going Out strategy, which took off in 1999. These transitions have already complicated the existing patterns of Chinese migration and settlement. The special issue of TCEA intends to critically discuss the prevalent optimism in Beijing towards OBOR’s results by contextualizing and examining how OBOR and AIIB may increase tensions between the involved countries and the countries, which traditionally belong to the US sphere of influence, including those in (pen)insular East Asia and Southeast Asia; and how OBOR may stimulate new forms of collaboration as well shape new patterns of integration and new lifestyles.

The focus of the special issue will be on migrant groups, such as business entrepreneurs, officials, diplomats, workers, students, criminals, knowledge workers, religious practitioners, and tourists. Existing research, for example, has found that Taiwan expatriates may sympathize more with the native Indonesian population than with the Indonesian Chinese: this reminds one of the different stances of newly arriving mobile Chinese in Southeast Asia in the past, and also suggests that new patterns of integration not only emerge but may have important political consequences. Similarly, new patterns of collaboration and competition among Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese firms may emerge in Southeast Asia and elsewhere in OBOR countries. 

While OBOR and AIIB may have existed too short to show definite results, they happen in a fast-changing arena of world politics. This makes the historical positioning particularly important, going back to the late nineteenth century at the latest: thus, a reconsideration of the preceding stages of mobility may enlighten us to their significance.

TCEA’s discussions on these themes have been conducted in its previous issues and continued during the 11th International Convention of Asian Scholars, in Leiden, the Netherlands, 16-19 July 2019. Submissions on these themes are welcome to be considered in this TCEA special issue. 

Deadline submissions: 1 December 2019; referees’ reports: 1 March 2020; authors’ revision: June 2020; intended publication: 1 October 2020