In this article, Miaoyan Yang examines the identity struggles of a group of youth from China’s majority ethnic Han group. As children of “in-Tibet cadres,” these Han youth were deemed “privileged” in their educational opportunities as compared with both Han students from interior China and ethnic Tibetan minority students from Tibet whose first language was not Chinese. This was because at young ages they could move to economically developed interior cities for their secondary education through a state-run Interior Tibet Class program. While participation in this program ensured these students’ placement in China’s key universities, the price of the privilege included continual involuntary relocations, long-term separation from their home communities, a sense of insecurity and marginalization, and emotional alienation from their parents. This study engages the theory of the reflexive project of the self by discerning how mobility and politics impact the place-making and life planning of individuals in their identity constructions.

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