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Marriage Migration Infrastructure on the Sino-Vietnamese and Sino-Russian Borders

Fri, June 24, 9:00 to 10:50am, Kambaikan (KMB), Floor: 2F, 206


This paper discusses the main routes, legal regulations, bureaucratic procedures, and actors conditioning marriage migration to China in two opposite parts of the country (on the border with Russia and Vietnam). Since the 1990s there was a steady increase of marriage migration and a growing number of mixed couples in China due to the liberalisation of economy, stabilisation of border disputes, and the deinstitutionalisation of domestic marriage practices. It was paralleled by the skewed demographic trends in China resulting from one-child policy, which led to a significant number of bachelors struggling to find a bride. In this paper we will contrast the governance of marriage migration in China’s core and border areas, tracing how the proximity to the international border constitutes a distinct space of marriage migration governance. We will examine how regularisation of marriage migration intersects with state’s concerns about population control, national identity and stability of borders, and, in turn, highlight what the infrastructure of marriage migration in two distinct parts of the border reflects about China’s sovereignty concerns, and its bilateral relations with neighbouring states. In addition, we will introduce the main entry points through which people navigating this marriage infrastructure negotiate spaces opened by the liberalisation of the market and society, and restricted by the state’s security and population control concerns.