Chinese American or American Chinese? Indian Briton or British Indian?
In practice, I've come across both forms and I would love to know whether this is a matter of personal preference or whether there are, in fact, clear-cut rules to be followed.
I personally feel the ethnicity should precede the nationality, i.e. Chinese American and not American Chinese when referring to an American citizen of Chinese origin. In other words, when I say "Chinese American" I am referring to an American citizen who is ethnically Chinese. When I say "American Chinese" I mean a Chinese citizen who is ethnically American (a rarity, I grant you).
However, as mentioned, I have come across texts where the construct "American Chinese" refers to ethnic Chinese who are American citizens. Such a construct just strikes me as wrong but I have never been able to find any real evidence to back up my opinion on this matter.
Is my interpretation correct or does the matter just come down to preference?