News / Asia

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

China's Ministry of Public Security has announced a new policy to encourage reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but still keep their Chinese citizenship. The move has led to a sharp debate about dual citizenship and the impact of the crackdown on Chinese who live abroad.

Recently, the Ministry published procedures for reporting those who hold foreign citizenship, but retain their Chinese identifications and benefits. Observers say the new policy is at least in part aimed at so-called "naked" officials, public servants who have family and assets overseas that could allow them to hide the gains of corruption. There are believed to be thousands of the so-called "naked" officials, but the exact figure is unknown.

Luo Bin, the president of Robinson Immigration Consultants in Canada, expressed support for the Chinese government’s strict enforcement of single citizenship.

“With China's economy developing, to a certain extent there has been a series of problems such as economic corruption. The Chinese government now is fully aware of the seriousness of those problems," said Luo. "Through the strict implementation of single citizenship, I think they are doing right to prevent corrupt officials or criminals from fleeing abroad or transferring assets."

Corrupt officials who evade legal sanctions by transferring assets abroad, however, are in the minority. Most of those who could be affected are people who have taken citizenship abroad for work or family matters that are not connected to corruption issues.

Luo thinks tighter enforcement could cause a loss of financial benefits for those who lose their Chinese identity cards because of having citizenship overseas.

“There are many restrictions. For example, we are not allowed to buy houses. Besides, many Chinese retired after 20 or 30 years of work. So their concern is, once they obtain foreign citizenship, whether such accumulated pensions and other benefits in China will be reserved," said Luo.

In recent years, demands for dual citizenship have become louder. But Professor Tong Zhiwei, professor at the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, said the issue is complicated.

“On the one hand, dual citizenship is beneficial to individuals, namely, the many overseas Chinese who study and do business abroad. By keeping dual citizenship, they do not need to go through the whole visa application [process], and they can enjoy rights and benefits offered by both countries," said Tong.

He added, though, that the Chinese government has its own concerns about dual citizenship.

"For example, when a Chinese who holds an American passport commits a crime, or has confrontation with the Chinese government, in case he or she is detained or tried in China, the Chinese government will have to inform and work with the U.S. on his case. This is not only a cumbersome process, but also gives foreign countries excuses to interfere with China’s internal affairs,” said Tong.

Enacting legal dual citizenship does not appear to be a priority in the near term, so some are calling on Beijing to expand its “green card” program, which lets foreign citizens live and work inside China.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs