That anyone should immigrate to Canada while regarding living there as a burdensome task to be endured or avoided might sound weird, but the concept is so common among some Chinese immigrant circles that there is a word for it: yiminjian, or “immigration jail”. The term refers to the period of compulsory Canadian residency (now, four years out of the previous six) which one must suffer before applying for citizenship. Think of a Canadian passport as the get-out-of-jail card.
It needs to be emphasised that this mindset does not apply to all Chinese immigrants – only that subset for whom greater opportunities exist back in China (and only a subset of those).
The problem that confronts these migrants is that Canada promises safety from the pace of change that has swept across China since the start of the cultural revolution to the rise of Mr Xi’s ‘tigers & flies’ programme. But China offers an opportunity to make out like a proverbial bandit and accumulate fantastic amounts of wealth.