This novel, set against the background of 1960s and 1970s Hong Kong, offers a vivid record of how Hong Kong Chinese defended their “Chinese” identity in British Hong Kong, before the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the issue of 1997 loomed its threatening shadow.
Though the central character, Ai-Lin’s, parents are Chinese Indonesians, and several generations of their families were rooted in Indonesia, they consider themselves ethnically and culturally Chinese. Hence they refuse to give Ai-Lin an English name even after though they send her to a Catholic English school, which they believe will provide her with the best education. That they guard their “Chinese Walls” severely, even to the extent of …
Lai, Amy. "Chinese Walls". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 November 2003
[https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=12472, accessed 10 December 2018.]