This study examines the immigration history, cultural characteristics, and political construction of the ethnic identity of the Chinese communities in the northeastern borderlands of Vietnam. It considers Vietnam’s policies toward the Chinese as applied in the border region before and after the 1979 border war. It suggests that states view ethnicity from the lens of national political cohesion and therefore see ethnicity as a means to obtain both foreign and domestic objectives. Thus, when China-Vietnam relations became strained, the overseas Chinese in the borderlands were caught in the middle of the confrontation.

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