This book investigates how Chinese international students reconfigure their sense of themselves as citizens when they reflect on what Chinese citizenship means in the context of New Zealand. Adopting a case study approach, it develops a theory relating to the thoughts of Chinese international students; the theory is based on the communities, schools, family and state relationships of both their past and their contemporary daily experiences. It finds that the struggles of Chinese young people lie in between being individuals and submitting to the general will of the family, state and guanxi (a Chinese concept of interpersonal relationships). The book argues that the Western literature on citizenship is not sufficient in helping us understand how it is viewed in the Chinese contexts.
It offers readers a picture of what citizenship means for Chinese young people and the role of citizenship education in Modern Chinese society, and demonstrates that the Chinese young people studied re-educated themselves on citizenship in a way that is unstable and emotional. This book makes important contributions to the literature on Chinese students who are studying abroad by going beyond the well-researched topics of academic and social experience to explore deeper understandings of each individual student's relationship to family and the state in China and how the study abroad experience has developed new understandings of individual's relationships to China, and new possibilities for contributing to Chinese society on return.
Xiudi Zhang graduated from the University of Auckland, New Zealand and works at Zhoukou Normal University, China. Her research areas include education policy, evaluation and case study.