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China And Dual Citizenship. Not So Fast.

Posted in Legal News

I swear, just about everyone I know has a dual passport. That’s somewhat of an exageration, but twice in the last few months I had clients first express surprise at my having only one passport and then pity. I ended up pointing out one very important reason why their dual passports were overrated, and that was before an execution in Iran I discuss below.

Many (most?) countries do not allow dual citizenship. The United States does not, but it has a few exceptions. [actually, it appears it is merely discouraged] China also does not (See this post on the Ministry of Tofu Blog, entitled, “Should China lift the ban on dual citizenship in the wake of the emigration wave?“). Regardless, it is my understanding that if you are the citizen of a country, they typically will treat you as their citizen, no matter what. 

Here is what that means. If you are a Chinese citizen and you get a United States passport while retaining your Chinese citizenship, you will most likely be treated as a Chinese citizen by China while you in China and as a U.S. citizen by the United States while you are in the United States. Why does that matter?

Iran recently executed (brutally murdered is actually the more appropriate term) a dual Dutch and Iranian citizen for having participated in anti-government demonstrations. Iran claimed the execution was for drugs found in her home, but it appears the Iranian government planted these drugs as a pretext. As brutal as this killing was (though since Iran is now executing more people per capita than any other country, it was probably fairly routine for them), Iran’s refusal to provide Holland the opportunity to visit with her or to give Holland any truthful information about her status or her trial was probably legally justified. For more on the story of Sahra Bahrami’s execution, check out this BBC article, entitled, “Iran hangs Iranian-Dutch woman Sahra Bahrami” or this article on how Iran is refusing even to return the body to the Netherlands.

Iran’s position has been that Ms. Bahrami was an Iranian citizen and as such, the Netherlands had no right to any access to her. Iran does not recognize dual citizenships. I am guessing (though I do NOT know) that Ms. Bahrami used her Iranian passport to enter Iran. I say this because one of the main benefits of dual passports is the ease of getting into the country in which you hold a passport. That would make it particularly hard to argue that Iran should have treated her as a Dutch citizen. How can someone expect to be treated as a citizen of the country for entrance into that country and then flip around and expect to be treated as a foreign citizen once admittance has been granted?

I am not telling people they should never have more than one passport and I am also not claiming Ms. Bahrami would be alive today had she renounced her Iranian citizenship. But I am saying that before you start thinking dual citizenship is the equivalent of winning the lottery, I suggest you at least consider whether you might not just be better off having the power of a foreign country behind you when you go overseas. Because sometimes the answer will be yes and in those circumstances your dual citizenship will be a liability not an asset.

What do you think?

  • http://www.mutantfrog.com Joe Jones
  • Volker Müller

    it may be a bit off-topic, but is there any chance for a foreigner of non-Chinese origin to get the Chinese citizenship (under the condition to give up the original citizenship)?
    I did a little bit of research on that topic:
    the last cases I know are from the 1970th. A few foreigners came to China in the 1930th and the Chinese citizenship was personally awarded to them by Prime Minister Zhou Enlai.
    China has a very simple citizenship law from the 1980th, stating that you can get the Chinese Citizenship if you have direct relatives with Chinese citizenship. But implementation rules of this law have never been promulgated. It seems that there is no authority where you can submit an application.
    Certainly, giving the huge population China will not encourage mass immigration. But given the fact that many Chinese emigrate to foreign countries (many of those countries traditionally don’t welcome immigrants, e.g. Germany) and get the citizenship of those countries, it would only be fair if immigrants from abroad who settled down in China would be able to obtain the Chinese citizenship.
    As China has joint the international competition for the “best brains”, it would increase Chinas competiveness if it would give foreign professionals the option to become Chinese citizens.
    I would be grateful for any update on this topic.

  • http://zh.barchdesign.com Simeon Bourim

    I think that there should be a distinction between not allowing dual citizenship and not recognizing another citizenship.
    What you say about the US is exactly correct in terms of it allows you to hold another citizenship, but treats you as an american if you have that countries passport. I would not say that US doesn’t allow dual citizenship in this case, I would say it doesn’t recognize other citizenships.
    Germany, Japan on the other hand don’t allow it at all, so if you immigrate to Germany or Japan you must relinquish your old passport before you gain theirs. I would say they don’t allow dual citizenship.
    Now the following I’m not sure of, but I think is true: china follows more in with the latter countries, as Chinese citizens must forgo their Chinese citizens if they acquire another countries’ passport.
    —————————
    That being said- I think someone under a regular passport- in most cases, doesn’t benefit in any case when they are abroad. While dual-citizenships is not winning the lottery (at all) there are some clear benefits like a larger employment market, access to resources, etc..
    You make a fair point, but that is a very, very rare case. There are plenty of times (probably plenty of cases happening as we speak) where foreigners have been stuck abroad for a variety of reasons, got in to trouble, and their home countries didn’t step in to help.
    Best-
    Sam

  • http://www.commencepartners-usa.com Kevin

    Hi Dan:
    Good post as usual.
    Yes, in theory, one could have a Chinese passport and a passport from another country. However, once a person applies for a Chinese Visa using their “other” passport, their Chinese passport is invalidated and cannot be used again. This is standard procedure at all Chinese Embassies and Consulates.

    • ERL

      But what if that person doesn’t apply for a Chinese Visa but uses his/her Chinese passport when travel to China?

  • http://shiyuhang.org/blog/ 时雨

    One reason Chinese prefer another passport is it’s hard for Chinese to apply visa.

  • Anon

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say the US doesn’t recognize dual citizenship.
    If you are a foreign citizen and are naturalized, the US doesn’t require in theory or in fact that you give up your foreign citizenship. The naturalization oath does require you to renounce allegiance to foreign potentates, but whether that results in a loss of foreign citizenship depends on the foreign potentate, not on the US. (Usually it doesn’t.) The US doesn’t require you to present any proof that you have even tried to lose your foreign citizenship, let alone that you have succeeded.
    If you are already a US citizen and become a foreign citizen, you don’t automatically lose your US citizenship. (See, e.g., this State Department web page: http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_778.html.) Under Chinese law, by contrast, voluntarily taking foreign citizenship DOES result in automatic loss of Chinese citizenship (Article 9, Law on Citizenship). If you are a former citizen of China and come to China on a US passport, there is really no basis in Chinese law for China to consider you Chinese, unless the government claims that you did not voluntarily acquire US citizenship. Needless to say, we know that generally the Chinese government treats ethnic Chinese and former PRC citizens with more arbitrariness and less attention to legal requirements than when it’s dealing with those it considers “real” foreigners. But the legal position is different from countries that insist you are still a citizen subject to various obligations.
    What is true – and here’s where people often get into trouble – is that if you are a non-Chinese citizen and come to China on a Chinese identity document (i.e., in effect declaring yourself to be Chinese, not foreign), then you don’t have consular rights. You will be treated as Chinese because, in effect, that’s the choice you made when you entered the country.

  • Shirley Yam

    If its illegal for you to have dual citizenship then its illegal, and you suffer the consquences if you get found out. They can range from national service to tax evasion. Why are you suggesting dual citizenship is even applicable when you deal with China and the United States, neither of which permit such status?

  • Ryan

    Under no circumstance can you say the United States doesn’t allow dual-citizenship. It does and it’s not a matter of just a ‘few exceptions.’ Generally it’s countries which hold a more civic conception of citizenship and nationality that are open to dual citizenship while those with a more ethnic conception generally don’t. It makes sense, if your citizenship is the same as your ethnicity then you obviously can’t give it up or have multiple citizenships..
    As far as China they certainly don’t allow for dual citizenship but recently (10 years? idk) they have been respecting the the right of ex-Chinese citizens to use their foreign passport to enter China and be treated as foreign nationals. Instead of saying you are always a Chinese citizen no matter what the take now is that if you have a foreign passport then you aren’t a Chinese citizen. Iran is probably the opposite and wouldn’t let Ms. Bahrami renounce her citizenship even if she wanted to.

  • Michael

    Dual citizenship is common in Australia. I know a few Chinese Australians who would love to get their Chinese citizenship back while having an Australian passport (for convenience of two-way visa-free travel and residence], but the PRC govt does not [yet] allow this. Having Australian citizenship means nothing in China – there are at least 40 Australian passport holders in PRC jails. They are all ethnic Chinese, originally PRC citizens involved in business deals that went bad and they got little or no advantage from the Australian passport.
    Another thing to consider if the PRC did allow dual citizenship is the backlash from countries where Chinese are still seen as sojourners. There was a huge amount of resentment in Australia at the ‘Australian Chinese’ who took over the capital waving PRC flags in an attempt to swamp out pro-Tibet demonstrations during the Olympics. I think there would be serious questions asked about the value of Australian citizenship pledges and commitments if it were possible for citizens to also remain loyal and obedient citizens of the motherland. I think the same would apply for many countries in Asia such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia where there is growing concern about the dual loyalty of former Chinese citizens (eg the uproar in Singapore about the former PRC Singaporean resident woman who proclaimed where her real loyalty was on a Chinese TV show covering an Olympic parade).

  • Ali

    Hello Dan,
    I agree with a part of your opinion. I don’t know about Iran but in my case, I am French and Moroccan and as you suggest I always travel with my French passport, even in Morocco. However, the Moroccan law schedules that at the border the agent can ask for you Moroccan ID, if your name sounds Moroccan otherwise you cannot enter in the country.
    I guess that this provision exists in many country, especially in autoritharian regimes.
    Regards,
    Ali

  • Aaron

    I believe the US State Department would agree with your position.
    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1753.html
    –”However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries. Either country has the right to enforce its laws, particularly if the person later travels there.”
    For the Dutch Iranian woman case, it is clear that Iran did have the right to enforce its laws (draconian nature of those laws aside) on that woman when she’s in Iran, without any regard to Holland’s interests.
    That’s the unfortunate down side to dual nationality.
    -
    One note on maintaining dual nationality:
    Especially for countries that technically do not allow dual nationality status, because dual nationals have 2 (or more) passports from different nations, USING the correct passport while passing through customs is EXTREMELY important. USING the incorrect passport while passing through customs can result in automatic abandonment of a citizenship status.
    That is, assuming you have a ROC passport, and a US passport, and later acquire a PRC passport. (That has happened to some people from Taiwan).
    When you pass through US customs, you should use the US passport. (PRC passport when passing mainland customs, and ROC passport when passing Taiwan customs).
    If you use the US passport when you pass through Taiwan customs, you could lose ROC citizenship.
    If you use ROC/PRC passport when you pass through US customs, you might manage to keep your US citizenship.
    If you use ROC passport when you pass through PRC customs, they might try to give you another PRC passport.
    If you use PRC passport when you pass through ROC customs, they might detain you.
    Of course, using the wrong passport when passing through customs is always a bad idea, since you probably wouldn’t have the necessary entry visa.
    But it’s just as bad an idea to let the customs officials see you shuffling through a stack of passports to find the “correct one”. If for nothing else, they might suspect that your passports are all fake.

  • Aaron

    Another thought in response to a comment about whether Iran would allow that woman to renounce her citizenship.
    It is customary law in many nations, that if a citizen commits a serious criminal offense, that person cannot renounce their citizenship for the purpose of absconding jurisdiction or avoiding prosecution. (This is probably true in China and Iran). How serious is “serious criminal offense”? Depends on the country.
    In other words, if you are a citizen when you committed a serious crime, you can’t just say “I renounce my citizenship, and now let me out of this country.” (Even if you have another nationality).
    In a sense, when you commit a serious crime as a citizen of a country, that country’s legal system immediately has personal jurisdiction over you at the time of the offending act, (because on the opposite end, you also have protection of that country’s laws at the time, if you were the victim).
    (Again, draconian nature of laws in Iran aside).

  • http://www.qingdaohhh.com Christopher

    Very interesting post and discussion (but maybe too much about Iran…). I wonder what you all think about children being born in China in mixed marriages (foreigner + Chinese). Should the parents give the child the Chinese nationality or try to get around it and give it the foreign one? What is better for a child in later life? Pros and Cons for Chinese citizenship for the child?
    I can imagine that officially parents have to register a newborn and it gets Chinese citizenship. Then can use that to apply to local schools, China visa etc.
    But I heard of cases where the parents only apply for the foreign citizenship in order to get the foreign passport and potential future benefits for the child.
    And I heard of cases where parents try to get both without mentioning this to the authorities. Depending on travel location or level of convenience they can use either passport but are always running the risk of being caught.
    Any thoughts on this? Thank you.

  • Mike

    Both of my kids have my nationality, chosen deliberately instead of Chinese nationality.
    If I/we want to go some place, e.g. visit family, holiday, we just hop on a plane and go (in pretty much all cases, very few exceptions).
    With (only) a Chinese passport this is often impossible, requiring tons of paperwork and months of scrutiny and sometimes you just can’t go.
    This is understandable given the large numbers of Chinese (and various other nationals) who (try to) come to ‘rich’ countries on temporary visa and then just stay indefinitely, illegally.
    We could get Chinese passports for them too, quite easily, apparently, though it would require some lies. But why would we? To get into Chinese schools? Thanks but no thanks!
    On the flip side, if you used to have a PRC passport but gave it up (or let it expire) to get another, e.g. Australian, and then come back to China, you’re not just not-Chinese anymore (unless very rich maybe, sports superstar or technology leader?) but one step below that — for example, other foreigners can apply for a China Green Card but ex-PRC foreigners cannot…

  • http://www.mutantfrog.com Joe Jones

    I think the choice of terminology here is confusing people. Chinese law says “The People’s Republic of China does not RECOGNIZE dual nationality for any Chinese national.” That doesn’t mean a Chinese national can’t HAVE dual nationality. It simply means that the Chinese government will ignore any other nationality they have. This is the same way that the US and most other countries handle the issue.
    Chinese law does have fairly tight automatic expatriation provisions for Chinese who naturalize elsewhere, and for children born outside China with birthright citizenship elsewhere (e.g. most Chinese-Americans), but there are still ways to have dual nationality as a Chinese national without violating Chinese law. If you were born in China with rights to both Chinese and foreign nationality, you are in the clear. Same goes for HK residents, who are Chinese citizens but can still have British passports if they were resident prior to the hand-over.

  • Twofish

    Quote: If you are a Chinese citizen and you get a United States passport while retaining your Chinese citizenship, you will most likely be treated as a Chinese citizen by China while you in China and as a U.S. citizen by the United States while you are in the United States.
    Not true, and I’m a little concerned that you are spreading misinformation.
    First of all dual citizenship is legal in the United States. The key case in this is Afroyim v. Risk 387 US 253 (1967)
    Second, there is a general rule for dual nationalities called the master nationality rule *which does not apply in the case of US-China* which is that a dual national in one nation is not subject to consular protection in a nation that claims him to be a citizen. *If* Iran and the Netherlands did not negotiate a special agreement then dual nationals would not be subject to Dutch protection regardless of the passport they used.
    This rule does not apply to US-China.
    http://untreaty.un.org/unts/60001_120000/21/21/00041015.pdf
    The US-China consular agreement of 1982 states in Note 1(3) which is that persons in China who have entered the country under a US travel document are under the consular protection of the United States government regardless of nationality. If you have a claim to both PRC and US citizenship and you travel to the PRC with a US passport, you are subject to US consular protection. If you don’t enter the PRC with a US passport, then you don’t.
    Also Hong Kong and Taiwan complicate things. There are some special rules regarding residents of HK. The PRC considers holders of a Republic of China on Taiwan passport to be citizens of the PRC. If you are a US citizen with ROC-Taiwan right of abode status, what happens to you in the PRC will depend on whether you enter the PRC with a US passport or with a Taiwan compatriot pass. The general principle applies to residents of HK, but there is a time limit after which a resident of HK who is a PRC national will lose consular protection *in Hong Kong* (but not the Chinese interior).
    The other important thing is that citizenship only applies to consular protection. US citizens are fully subject to the law of the PRC while in the PRC, and the only thing that the agreement gives you is the right to be visited by a US consul (who may not be able to do anything for you).
    Also, I don’t think it’s necessary to warn people about this. Everyone that I know which might have dual nationality already knows these rules.

  • Twofish

    Aaron: USING the correct passport while passing through customs is EXTREMELY important. USING the incorrect passport while passing through customs can result in automatic abandonment of a citizenship status.
    This is totally false for both the US, PRC, and Taiwan. The one thing that could get you in trouble is that if you have an PRC passport, you lose residency status on Taiwan. See Article 9-1 of the Law Governing Relations between the People of Taiwan and the Mainland Area.
    http://www.mac.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=90541&ctNode=5914&mp=3
    Also note here that when I say a “PRC passport” I mean a PRC passport. A lot of Taiwanese have Taiwan Compatriot Passes which are not passports.
    PRC and ROC both consider most Mainlanders and Taiwanese to be nationals.
    Aaron: If you use the US passport when you pass through Taiwan customs, you could lose ROC citizenship.
    This is false. Anyway ROC citizenship is not the important status. Almost everyone in the PRC is technically a national of the ROC. The important status is holding a ROC identity card that indicated right to stay in ROC.
    Aaron: If you use ROC/PRC passport when you pass through US customs, you might manage to keep your US citizenship.
    It is legally impossible to lose your US citizenship while being physically present in the United States. Under various Supreme Court decisions, you can only lose your US citizenship by making a conscious and voluntary act to do so, and the US State Department does not recognize any such actions for people that are physically in the US.
    Aaron: If you use ROC passport when you pass through PRC customs, they might try to give you another PRC passport.
    What would likely happen is that you’ll be asked to get a Taiwan Compatriot travel document.
    Aaron: If you use PRC passport when you pass through ROC customs, they might detain you.
    This is the one case where you could get into serious trouble since if you use the PRC passport, the you could have your Taiwan household registration revoked under Article 9-1 of the Mainland Areas law.
    If you use PRC passport when you pass through ROC customs, they might detain you.

  • Andy

    Christopher – Children born of a mixed marriage in China where one parent is of Chinese descent are considered Chinese and must leave/enter China on a China identify document until at least the age of 18 where they can then choose their nationality. This is the reason many mixed couples choose to go to Hong Kong for birth.
    My only complaint is that America should go after anyone holding dual citizenship, with one of them being a US passport, with a vengeance for taxes owed on worldwide income. Pay US taxes for the privilege of an American passport, whether you are a resident in the States or not, or give up your citizenship.

  • Twofish

    Andy: My only complaint is that America should go after anyone holding dual citizenship, with one of them being a US passport, with a vengeance for taxes owed on worldwide income.
    They do. Google for “Form TD F 90-22.1″ and look at the penalty for non-filing. If you go to a foreign bank and mention that you have a US passport, many of them will not open an investment account for you because it’s too painful for them.
    As far as which passport to use, sometimes it comes down to some really trivial reasons. My wife holds both an ROC and US passport. The only time she has to use the ROC passport in entering Taiwan is if she has to do something legal like transfer land. Otherwise, she just choose which ever line is shorter.
    She usually uses a Taiwan compatriot pass to do into Mainland China because the visas are cheaper.

  • Mike

    @Andy: This is not the case.
    For kids of mixed Chinese and non-Chinese parents, the parents can choose the nationality of their kids (at least depending on the non-Chinese laws) and do not need to wait for the kids to become 18 or need Chinese travel docs.
    For my rugrats, I applied for (and got) passports at our local consulate, because they have, by virtue of being my kids, my nationality. We could also have registered them as Chinese nationals, by virtue of being their mum’s kids, but why would we want to do that?
    Prior to the first time travelling out of China, they needed an Entry/Exit Permit, a little blue passport-like booklet that we obtained from the local PSB, got stamped at the airport, and then we chucked it.
    Before returning home to China, we obtained a (Chinese) visa-sticker in the (non-Chinese) passport from the PRC embassy in my old country. This sticker is then effortlessly renewed at the local cop-shop in China each year. No need to go to HK or anywhere else.
    Note that rules differ from country to country, for example, if you happen to have a whiff of Moroccan blood, you are a Moroccan citizen, whether you want to or not, and that’s like the book-club, impossible to get rid of….

  • Twofish

    Mike: We could also have registered them as Chinese nationals, by virtue of being their mum’s kids, but why would we want to do that?
    1) Because the PRC considers them Chinese nationals regardless of whether or not they have been registered so you lose nothing. Also they can get public schooling and various other social services.
    2) Because you have to think ahead thirty to fifty years, and possibly even longer if you are thinking about their kids. A PRC passport is not a particularly great thing to have in 2011, but what about 2061 or 2111?
    Mike: Note that rules differ from country to country, for example, if you happen to have a whiff of Moroccan blood, you are a Moroccan citizen, whether you want to or not, and that’s like the book-club, impossible to get rid of….
    Same for Poland. Also one interesting thing is that ROC (i.e. the government on Taiwan) nationality is something that is very hard to get rid of. Under the law of Taiwan most people in the Mainland and overseas Chinese are considered nationals of the Republic of China, since the laws were written when the ROC had control over the Mainland. Poland has similar issues because the boundaries changed, so there are rules covering people that were in Poland-1925 which are not part of Poland-today.
    One irony is that if the government on Taiwan were to rewrite the laws to remove ROC citizenship from people living on the Mainland, the PRC would likely consider this a move toward Taiwan independence, and very, very strongly object.
    For ROC, the important status is not nationality, it’s household registration on Taiwan. If you end up on Taiwan being an ROC national without household registration, then it’s like being a citizen of a “foreign” country.

  • Twofish

    Mike: Another thing to consider if the PRC did allow dual citizenship is the backlash from countries where Chinese are still seen as sojourners.
    This is precisely why the PRC changed it’s nationality laws in the 1950′s. The PRC wanted to distance itself from the Malaysian and Indonesian Communist Parties which were heavily ethnically Chinese. One problem with this is that it left a lot of Indonesian Chinese stateless.
    Conversely one reason that the ROC on Taiwan *didn’t* change its nationality laws was for the opposite reason. During the 1950′s and 1960′s, the ROC needed as much support as it could get for being “free China” and keeping its seat in the UN, so the ROC was extremely liberal in allowing overseas Chinese to have ROC passports. Today, the liberal dual nationality laws are likely to stay for two reasons. First is that changing them would annoy the PRC since it would be a step away from One China. More practically, both pro-Taiwan independence and anti-Taiwan independence have extensive overseas supporters.
    One curious fact is that overseas-Taiwanese tend to be a lot more polarized in their politics than local people. The strongest pro-Independence and anti-Independence people that I know are overseas Taiwanese. My explanation for why is that if you live in Taiwan, you have to compromise. If you are hard-core independence, then you have to work, live with, talk to, and bargain with people of hard-core anti-independence, and people end up compromising. You just can’t *hate* the people on the other side, because you run into them on your day to day life.
    If you live in Houston or Monterrey Park, there is no reason that you need to compromise. One result of this is that both KMT and DPP pull in large numbers of overseas voters (who have to physically travel to Taiwan to vote), since elections can be close enough that overseas voters make a difference.

  • Twofish

    Christopher: Should the parents give the child the Chinese nationality or try to get around it and give it the foreign one?
    It’s not a decision that the parents make. Under the PRC nationality law, nationality is automatic. Also that works in the US also. If your child is born in the US, then citizenship is automatic *regardless of the nationality of the parents*. That requirement is Constitutional so it’s not likely to change, despite the fact that some people in the US want it do.
    In the case of Taiwan, there are clinics in San Francisco that mothers in Taiwan can pay to have their babies delivered in, so that they get automatic US citizenship. (This won’t work for the PRC, since the embassy will not issue a visa to a pregnant woman about to give birth, but in the case of Taiwan, you can travel to the US without a visa.)
    Ireland had very liberal nationality laws, but they changed their constitution (27th Amendment) after the Kunqian Zhu case. You had a Chinese national that was about to be deported from Wales. She then traveled to Belfast and had a child. Under Irish law, persons born in Northern Ireland are citizens of the Republic of Ireland. Since she had a child that was a citizen of an EU state, the mother was then undeportable from both Ireland and the UK.
    This won’t work in the United States, since having a child who is a US citizen (even an infant) does not give you any special rights.

  • Mike (2nd one)

    @Twofish: Actually, I was asking a rhetorical question, but thanks anyway for the answers…. (that’s in fact a “sincerely thank you”, as I do very much respect your input on this blog, even if my snarliness in the reply below may suggest otherwise — my ‘tone’ is not directed at you personally but merely at the ‘facts’ as I see them :)
    “1) Because the PRC considers them Chinese nationals regardless of whether or not they have been registered so you lose nothing. Also they can get public schooling and various other social services.”
    Irrespective of what the PRC ‘considers’ in theory, for all practical intents and purposes, my kids are NOT Chinese nationals, carrying only foreign identification papers and requiring visa to be here. Their apparent Chineseness is registered only implicitly on one computer in one local hospital, which does not appear to be linked to any other registration system. No doubt we could go and argue the case that they are PRC nationals and should be recognized as such, given PRC papers, etc, but that would mean their overseas nationality would have to be given up, and repeating my rhetorical question, why on earth would we want to do that?
    Now at least, my kids have the choice to go pretty much anywhere, including most of Europe, where public schooling and social services are still (much) better than anything they could hope to expect here. I think lobotomy would be preferable to PRC public schooling, and PRC social services are not much better. Of course, that’s just my opinion, and no doubt others may argue the virtues of the PRC educational system, emphasizing China’s leadership in such aspects as innovation, original thought, honesty and concern for others, etc etc, but hey…
    As a parent, I make the choices that I think are best for my kids, and that’s pretty much the end of it. And strange as it may seem, I conclude that I’m not the only one thinking along these lines, given the plane-loads of pregnant PRC nationals heading for the USA and various PRC nationals being plucked out of shipping containers in ports all over Europe. Wouldn’t the (illegal or semi-legal migration) traffic be heading in the other direction if things are or will soon be as fabulous as we are supposed to believe? Or am I missing something here, having admittedly not had the benefit of a superior PRC edumecation to sharpen my wits…?
    “2) Because you have to think ahead thirty to fifty years, and possibly even longer if you are thinking about their kids. A PRC passport is not a particularly great thing to have in 2011, but what about 2061 or 2111?”
    This is a fair point you make, or it would be if my kids were born in 50 or 100 years from now. With things as they are, right now and for the foreseeable future, the (my) choice is clear. By the time my kids get to 18, they can (probably) still decide for themselves what nationality they would want, and what they would want in turn for their kids.
    Maybe yes, in 2061 or 2111 a PRC passport would be desirable, although I doubt that very much, given the state of things after the often touted 5000 years they’ve been working on everything already, shoddy concrete aside. Even if I’m wrong, I’m operating under the assumption that one key aspect of the desirability of any passport/nationality is the ability to acquire it through naturalization rather than through birth alone, making it a non-issue should it come up. And if not, well…. too bad….

  • Robert

    Does no one know the difference between “national” and “citizen” under US law?

  • Gerald

    When Chinese nationals apply for a PRC passport, they need to provide their hukou book (household registration).
    I would assume the same would be true for children of mixed couples, that is, if a mixed couple wants to get a PRC passport for their child, the child would need to be added to the hukou of the Chinese national parent. In doing so, wouldn’t the one-child policy take effect and thus make it difficult to obtain a PRC passport for any subsequent children?
    Regarding the issue of dual-passport holders, I’ve heard stories of former Chinese nationals who entered the PRC using their old (but unexpired) PRC passport, somehow got found out that they had dual passports, and were then prevented from leaving the PRC for a certain amount of time (a year or more).

  • thom

    U.S. definitely allows dual citizenship.

  • http://www.tarpley.net seo wook kim

    im pretty sure the dutch/iranian did something sinister that is not mentioned here. was probably engaged in some destabilisation project. also im sure that the execution was not brutal

  • http://www.tarpley.net hanjian

    how do i get Chinese citizenship? my ancestors are from there. i am ready to give up my citizenship. i’d about had it with being a second class citizen in a foreign country.

  • Johnson

    I have two questions
    1.Is it that HK Chinese are only allowed to keep their British passport or also any other foreign passport ?
    2. Do HK Chinese have special rights to reside on Taiwan ?
    thanks in advance

  • Jason

    US laws does not say anything about dual citizenship. So, dual citizenship is ALLOWED in the US, without exceptions. But it is not encouraged. In the case of China, what you said is also wrong. You lose your Chinese citizenship immediately if you become a citizen of another country according to chinese citizenship law. This means they cannot sentence you, punish you according to Chinese citizen law. You are protected by US law(if you are a US citizen). But Chinese government also has the right to apply laws to foreigners commit crime within mainland China. 

  • Robert Lazarus Murray

    Dual nationality trumps single nationality in the vast majority of cases. If she didn’t like being treated as an Iranian citizen in Iran she should have given up her Iranian citizenship prior to going there. I suspect she knew what could happen and I respect her courage; but to use this example to further your argument is weak on your part. I know people with Japanese and Chinese passports and they have no issue as long as they are sensible and realise they can’t pick and choose which one they re when it suits them. I don’t think it’s a ban when the authorities won’t recognise you as a foreign national, but they won’t prosecute you for it either. Iran was correct to treat her as their own and not dutch, who wants their own citizens making a mockery of their laws and judiciary. Not that the Tehran needs much help on that front.

  • Brandon Kirk

    I wonder when policy makers will wake up and realize we are increasingly living in a post-national world. The framework that immigration departments are operating within was constructed back when it took months to cross the ocean, no?