Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Katja Favretto

Reader 2

Aseema Sinha

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A transnational network of more than 50 million people, the Chinese diaspora stretches its reach across the globe. As part of their immigrant journeys, many Chinese immigrants have achieved political leadership in their adopted home countries despite monumental barriers. This thesis examines the political attainment of Chinese immigrants by uncovering how institutional factors such as political power sharing between ethnic groups, citizenship acquisition law, and discrimination law affect their pursuit of public office. I first establish a database of 265 politicians I define as Chinese immigrants, whose various levels of political attainment I then use as the dependent variable. Through empirical analysis, this thesis finds that politicians of Chinese descent attain lower levels of political office when institutional discrimination has targeted Chinese immigrants. In contrast, this thesis reveals that politicians of Chinese descent attain higher levels of political office when political power is shared amongst ethnic groups and when citizenship acquisition laws are exclusionary. While the last result is seemingly counterintuitive, the negative relationship between the inclusiveness of citizenship and political attainment can be explained by the intrinsic role exclusionary citizenship acquisition laws play in naturalizing citizens who are deemed to be integrated and electable.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.