I’ve bolded some points I will respond to from a New York Times article, Overseas Chinese, Foreigner at Home:
Cities like Beijing and Shanghai are increasingly home to overseas Chinese, as those of us of Chinese descent who are not citizens of China are known. By some estimates, more than 30 percent of the American citizens living in China are of Chinese ethnicity.
For hyphenated Chinese like me, living here presents challenges as well as attractions. The chance to explore our’s roots and discover a country radically different from the one left behind by our parents or grandparents can be as powerful a lure as the job opportunities offered by a rising China.
Yet expectations of some Chinese toward ethnically Chinese foreigners can be disconcerting. There are assumptions that someone who looks Chinese must speak fluent Mandarin and instinctively understand cultural norms that may be peculiar to the contemporary mainland. Both locals and foreigners can be unsure how to categorize us.
To the point of discover your roots as a way of going back to China:
I think this is a very challenging point to convey to a lot of my friends, even fellow Chinese-American friends of mine. My incentive is to really experience and understand a different culture (in this case, Chinese culture) to learn about how different people see the world, especially where my parents came from.
However, I often get challenged and asked a lot of questions: “What is the local salary there?” “What about your own career growth and professional growth, wouldn’t it get hampered by going back to China?” “How will you survive?” “What if you get manipulated, robbed, or attacked by the local culture?”
I believe this sets things in really crazy dichotomies. While salary is considered a factor (and there are definitely opportunity costs to going abroad, I cannot deny that; for example, unless you are working for a brand name, multi-national company, going abroad will have very different career directions than working in your home country), I believe these questions says a lot about ourselves: