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

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs