Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China
- For other uses, see Chinese nationality.
The Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国国籍法; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國國籍法; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó guójí fǎ) regulates citizenship in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Such citizenship is obtained by birth when at least one parent is of Chinese nationality or by naturalization.
The law was adopted at the Third Session of the Fifth National People's Congress and promulgated by Order No. 8 of the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and effective as of September 10, 1980. The People's Republic of China does not recognise dual citizenship with any other country.
Article 1: This law is applicable to the acquisition, loss and restoration of nationality of the People's Republic of China. Article 2: The People's Republic of China is a unitary multinational state; persons belonging to any of the nationalities in China shall have Chinese nationality. Article 3: The People's Republic of China does not recognize dual nationality for any Chinese national. Article 4: Any person born in China whose parents are both Chinese nationals or one of whose parents is a Chinese national shall have Chinese nationality. Article 5: Any person born abroad whose parents are both Chinese nationals or one of whose parents is a Chinese national shall have Chinese nationality. But a person whose parents are both Chinese nationals and have both settled abroad, or one of whose parents is a Chinese national and has settled abroad, and who has acquired foreign nationality at birth shall not have Chinese nationality. Article 6: Any person born in China whose parents are stateless or of uncertain nationality and have settled in China shall have Chinese nationality. Article 7: Foreign nationals or stateless persons who are willing to abide by China's Constitution and laws and who meet one of the following conditions may be naturalized upon approval of their applications:
- they are near relatives of Chinese nationals;
- they have settled in China; or
- they have other legitimate reasons.
Article 8: Any person who applies for naturalization as a Chinese national shall acquire Chinese nationality upon approval of his application; a person whose application for naturalization as a Chinese national has been approved shall not retain foreign nationality. Article 9: Any Chinese national who has settled abroad and who has been naturalized as a foreign national or has acquired foreign nationality of his own free will shall automatically lose Chinese nationality. Article 10: Chinese nationals who meet one of the following conditions may renounce Chinese nationality upon approval of their applications:
- they are near relatives of foreign nationals;
- they have settled abroad; or
- they have other legitimate reasons.
Article 11: Any person who applies for renunciation of Chinese nationality shall lose Chinese nationality upon approval of his application. Article 12: State functionaries and military personnel on active service shall not renounce Chinese nationality. Article 13: Foreign nationals who once held Chinese nationality may apply for restoration of Chinese nationality if they have legitimate reasons; those whose applications for restoration of Chinese nationality have been approved shall not retain foreign nationality. Article 14: Persons who wish to acquire, renounce or restore Chinese nationality, with the exception of cases provided for in Article 9, shall go through the formalities of application. Applications of persons under the age of 18 may be filed on their behalf by their parents or other legal representatives. Article 15: Nationality applications at home shall be handled by the public security bureaus of the municipalities or counties where the applicants reside; nationality applications abroad shall be handled by China's diplomatic representative agencies and consular offices. Article 16: Applications for naturalization as Chinese nationals and for renunciation or restoration of Chinese nationality are subject to examination and approval by the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China. The Ministry of Public Security shall issue a certificate to any person whose application has been approved. Article 17: The nationality status of persons who have acquired or lost Chinese nationality before the promulgation of this Law shall remain valid. Article 18: This Law shall come into force as of the date of its promulgation.
For Hong Kong residents, an interpretation of the Nationality Law was adopted at the Nineteenth Session of the Standing Committee of the Eighth National People's Congress on May 15, 1996, a year prior to the Hong Kong handover and came into effect on July 1, 1997. The explanations concerning the implementation of the nationality of Hong Kong residents is that Hong Kong residents of Chinese descent are Chinese nationals, whether or not they have acquired the right of abode in foreign countries. In effect this means foreign citizenship(s) under the respective foreign laws; the reason for referring to the foreign "right of abode" instead of foreign citizenship is avoid making an exception to, or breaching, the basic principle of Chinese nationality law of non-recognition of dual nationality). Hong Kong residents of Chinese nationality do not lose their citizenship automatically upon acquiring foreign one(s), in spite of the apparent wording of Article 9. Such Chinese citizens who also have foreign citizenship may declare a change of nationality at Hong Kong's Immigration Department, and upon approval, would no longer be considered Chinese citizens. The British Dependent Territories citizen and British Nationals (Overseas) passports held by persons of Chinese descent born in China (including Hong Kong) are not recognized by the Chinese government as such. British Citizen passports held by Chinese Hong Kong residents under the British Nationality Selection Scheme (British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1990) are also not recognised by the Chinese government as such. Furthermore, Hong Kong Chinese citizens who hold such passport or have a right of abode in countries outside the PRC are not entitled to British (or any other nation's) consular protection inside the People's Republic of China (including Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China).
The Immigration Department is authorised to naturalise foreign or stateless persons as Chinese citizens in Hong Kong. In the first year after the handover, there were only 152 applications for naturalsation; the majority of applicants were Chinese Indonesians. Some residents of South Asian descent, faced with the prospect of their children being stateless, have been naturalised as well. However, in the early years after the handover South Asians claimed that the Hong Kong government discouraged them from naturalisation. It took until December 2002 to see the first case of successful naturalisation application by an ethnic minority resident with no Chinese relatives, an Indian girl, soon followed by a Pakistani man. The Immigration Department denied that there had been any change in policy, but South Asian organisations believed there had been a definite change of attitude inside the government towards naturalisation. From the handover to April 2005, a total of 4,372 persons applied for naturalisation. Of the 3,999 applications processed by that date, 3,786 (95%) were successful. Most applicants were Indonesians (1,735), Pakistanis (833), Indians (552), or Vietnamese (547). (These numbers refer to former citizenship; the government did not collect statistics on their ethnic background.)
Similar implementation for Macau was adopted at the Sixth Session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress on December 29, 1998. Unique provisions includes clarification for individuals of both Chinese and Portuguese descent, who may choose either Chinese or Portuguese nationality.
Citizenship by birth
Chinese nationality law operates mainly on the basis of jus sanguinis ("right of blood"). On 1st October 1949, most people of Chinese nationality acquired PRC citizenship.
In general, when a person is born in China, that person is a Chinese citizen if he or she has at least one parent holding Chinese citizenship, or if both parents are settled in China and are stateless or of "uncertain" nationality.
A foreign-born person with at least one parent who is a Chinese citizen has Chinese citizenship, so long as that parent has not "settled" in a foreign country. The term "settled" is usually taken to mean that the Chinese citizen parent has permanent residency in the country concerned. A person born outside China, including those with parent(s) holding Chinese citizenship, does not have Chinese citizenship if a foreign citizenship is acquired at birth, if the Chinese national parent has settled abroad.
In China, children born of Chinese-foreign marriages are considered to be Chinese citizens by the PRC government, which can cause complications if a foreign passport is subsequently used to exit China.
Comparison to other countries
The PRC considers both Hong Kong and Macau to have always been its territories, and persons born in either territory before or after their transfer of sovereignty to China are regarded as "born in China". Those who are of ethnic Chinese origin are PRC citizens before and after the handovers. Likewise the PRC considers Taiwan to be its territory, and persons born in Taiwan are considered to be nationals of the PRC. Conversely Taiwan recognizes most residents of mainland China to be nationals of the Republic of China, but as not possessing right of abode in Taiwan.
- People's Republic of China passport
- Right of abode issue, Hong Kong
- British nationality law and Hong Kong
- British nationality law
- Portuguese nationality law
- Nationality Law of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
References and footnotes
- ^ "Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China". Immigration Department, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/chnnationality_1.htm.
- ^ "Explanations of some questions by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress concerning the implementation of the Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". Immigration Department, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/chnnationality_2.htm.
- ^ Schloss, Glenn (1998-08-31). "Indonesians behind bulk of applications for citizenship in Hong Kong". South China Morning Post.
- ^ Shamdasani, Ravina (2002-12-02). "HK-born to Indian parents, but Vekha is now Chinese; Nationality and a passport granted to girl in the first case of its kind". South China Morning Post. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-26773073_ITM. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
- ^ Shamdasani, Ravina (2002-12-15). "First Hong Kong Pakistani gets Chinese nationality". South China Morning Post. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-95518483/first-hong-kong-pakistani.html. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
- ^ "Applications for naturalisation as Chinese nationals". Info.gov.hk. 2005-05-18. http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200505/18/05180179.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
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