Permissive Politics and Entrepreneurial Transgression in a Chinese Border Town

Juan Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Contemporary experiences of Han Chinese traders in Hekou, a remote town on the China-Vietnam border inform discussions of permissive politics and entrepreneurial transgression at the peripheries of the state. Permissive politics facilitates the transnational movement of goods across national borders in both formal and informal ways.
Examination of cross-border smuggling as both an everyday strategy of profit-making and an act of ordinary transgression clarifies the ways in which borderland permissiveness normalizes and even rewards certain unauthorized practices on the part of traders, vendors and individuals who undertake entrepreneurial activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-601
Number of pages33
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The initial accumulated twelve months of fieldwork was funded by Macquarie University, Australia, as part of my doctoral research. The second shorter one-month field trip in 2012 was supported by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.


  • Border trade
  • Borders
  • China
  • Permissiveness
  • Smuggling
  • Transgression
  • Vietnam


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