Essentialist representations of the Orientalised Other abound within the literature of intercultural communication. The dominant discourse constructs Chinese-speaking students as members of a homogenised collective: passive recipients of knowledge who are reliant on a reproductive approach to learning. This article seeks to offer a corrective to such notions, which underestimate the complexity and dynamism of Chinese academic cultures. Using a critical ethnographic approach, it examines interdiscourse communication within the context of institutional performances. In 'international evenings' and 'debate contests' Chinese-speaking students are observed to engage in acts of 'crossing' and 'styling', involving the selective and playful appropriation of the discourses of the Other. These communicative events are thus seen as sites of discursive struggle and transculturation in which hybrid identities are negotiated and contradictory subjectivities are produced.