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In the large space between the authority of the Chinese government and each individual Chinese person exists several semi-formal social spheres that shape Chinese people’s social lives, of which the qiao(pinyin of the Chinese word ‘侨’, meaning migration) sphere is a unique example that shares many interactions with other spheres. As with other spheres such as the education sphere, sports sphere, and religious sphere, the qiao sphere is formed by a large variety of actors such as sojourners, sojourner’s relatives, officials, journalists, and fellow-townspeople’s associations. Only one key component exists in the qiao sphere, which is the sojourner, while the other components are just derivatives and extensions that serve, manage, are affiliated with, or are constructed by sojourners. Furthermore, unlike the other spheres in Chinese society, constituted mainly by Chinese nationals, the qiao sphere is constituted by both Chinese nationals and Chinese-origin foreigners, making the qiao sphere a transnational community involving both Chinese nationals and non-Chinese nationals. Moreover, these foreigners play crucial roles in this particular sphere, which has highly increased the complexity and political sensitivity of the qiao sphere.In this essay, the author tries to probe the unique features of the Chinese social spheres, among which the qiao sphere serves not only as a suitable case to analyse the space created by the state-individual interactions in contemporary China but also serves as a suitable case to study the interaction of people and values between inside-China and outside-China.

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Xiafei Li (China) 8522
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