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Supporting data for "Understanding the Dynamics of Politically Driven Migration"

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posted on 2024-06-03, 06:54 authored by Ka Wang Kelvin LamKa Wang Kelvin Lam

This thesis broadens the scope of migration research by focusing on the voluntary aspect of politically driven migration. Today, an increasingly large number of migrants are driven by a desire to escape threats to their safety and well-being. The primary focus of this body of literature is on forced migration. However, politically driven migrants include not only those facing life-threatening or extreme conditions but also individuals who choose to migrate for less pressing or more voluntary political reasons. These reasons can include migrating as a risk-averse response to political uncertainties or to express dissatisfaction with governments or policies. Many of them arrive at the destination as regular migrants. Despite its significance, the motivations behind this voluntary aspect of politically driven migration have been less studied. This thesis aims to fill these gaps. The thesis comprises three empirical studies that draw on recently collected survey data to examine politically driven migration in Hong Kong. The first study compares the emigration tendencies of Hong Kong residents during the two major emigration waves: before the 1997 handover and after the 2019 social movement. I argue that the intention to emigrate after 1997 was a risk-averse response to the unknown political future brought on by the transfer of sovereignty. The intention to emigrate after 2019 is an expression of dissatisfaction with the political status quo. The second study further examines the emigration tendency of Hong Kong residents after 2019, with a particular focus on the relationship between protest involvement and the tendency to emigrate. I add a new perspective related to traumatisation to explain the intention to emigrate, in addition to expressing dissatisfaction, as discussed in the previous chapter. Residents’ intention to emigrate can be seen as an avoidant coping mechanism for traumatic distress caused by the 2019 social movement. The third study explores the emerging trend of Hong Kong residents considering migration to cities in the Greater Bay Area of mainland China for work and development opportunities. This flow is generally understood as migration from a more developed to a less developed area. Derived from the ideological migration perspective, I suggest that this type of movement can be politically driven, particularly by the alignment of political ideologies between potential migrants and the advocating bodies. Taken together, the thesis advances the understanding and theorisation of the primary motivations behind politically driven migration, namely, to reduce the risks associated with political uncertainties, express dissatisfaction with governments or policies, alleviate psychological distress caused by a collective traumatic event, and echo the calls of advocating bodies whose political ideologies align with those of the migrants themselves.

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