Understanding the transnational linkages between migrant sending and receiving countries is complicated by, among other reasons, the very terms that are commonly used to characterize the migrants themselves. Much of the vocabulary traditionally used in Overseas Chinese and Chinese migration studies implicitly seeks to locate Overseas Chinese subjects in terms of a single nation-state. Terms such as sojourner, immigrant, or return migrant reflect efforts to situate individuals in relation to either host country or home country-to see them as either here or there. Adam McKeown points out that the use of such language has the effect of obscuring the transnational activities of Chinese migrants and their descendants.2 To what extent does use of terms “Chinese ethnic economy” or “Chinese ethnic business” have a similar effect? In one of its two commonly used formulations, that of the ethnic enclave, the first term does seem to localize individuals to a single defined territory, in which certain economic sectors, occupations, or neighborhoods are monopolized or dominated by a particular ethnic group. But the term “Chinese ethnic economy” is also increasingly used in a second sense, to describe the economic activities of Chinese firms operating across national boundaries, in transnational, dispersed, or deterritorialized ways. In this usage, the term offers a useful corrective to analyses of Chinese migrants restricted to a single locale. Even in this sense, however, the term should still be used with care to avoid over-simplification. While the transnational linkages between ethnic Chinese business firms have attracted considerable scholarly attention, the transnational activities of Chinese migrants and their descendants are rarely solely economic. They involve circulation and flows not only of goods and capital, but also of human beings, and of ideas. They are shaped by a broad set of ideas and values, for example, by discourses of Chinese identity and authenticity, nationalism, and modernity, to name just a few. Moreover, this transnational element to the Chinese ethnic economy is not a new phenomenon which can be understood purely as a product of the current phase of globalization. It has been shaped by a long history. This chapter discusses some of the multiple forms of transnationalism engaged in by one of the most prominent figures in the history of the Overseas Chinese in the Philippines, Huang Xiulang (1859-1925). Its purpose is to explore the interconnections between transnational flows in the Chinese ethnic economy in the early twentieth century and imaginings of the meaning of Chinese identity. Then, as now, wealthy Overseas Chinese were targeted by political leaders

as potential contributors to the grand project of building the Chinese nation. Ties of blood, heritage, and patriotism were invoked to persuade the Overseas Chinese to play their appointed roles. But beneath the enthusiasm lay profound ambivalences about the project of nation-building and modernization, and specifically about motivations and possible consequences of the involvement of Overseas Chinese in that project. The early-twentieth-century discourses of Chinese transnationalism, and of the relationship between the Chinese ethnic economy and China, resemble in many ways those of the present day.