Chinese lawyer calls on government to accept dual nationality

The Chinese government should conditionally recognize dual nationality in a bid to attract more talented overseas Chinese, according to a lawyer.

"Granting Chinese nationality to overseas Chinese acquiring foreign citizenship will be a major tool for China to attract global talents," said Zhu Zhengfu, deputy director of the All-China Lawyers Association.

Zhu, also a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body, suggested in a proposal that the Chinese government should abolish Article 9 of the Nationality Law stipulating that Chinese people obtaining foreign citizenship will automatically lose their Chinese nationality, warning that the article shuts the door on millions of talented overseas Chinese.

Zhu also proposed that Article 11 of the Nationality Law should be kept intact because it grants Chinese people obtaining foreign nationality the right to cancel their Chinese nationality in case that an automatic cancelation of Chinese nationality would impair their legal rights protected by Chinese laws.

The cancelation of Article 9 will bring global talents, technologies and capital to China, which is doubling down on efforts to become an innovative powerhouse, said Zhu, adding that it would also be beneficial to people with dual nationality because they can enjoy China's diplomatic protection and favorable policies related to employment, family visit, travel and business.

Zhu's proposal is backed by many overseas Chinese who have obtained foreign citizenship.

Without Chinese nationality, there were so many inconveniences when going back to China, said Huang Yan (alias), who has acquired British nationality. "[Losing Chinese nationality] makes me feel alienated from my homeland," said Huang, who thinks that one big reason behind Chinese people's application for foreign citizenship is that they want their children to receive better education. She said that it was not related to patriotism.

Chinese-American Guo Yugui has a different worry. Guo, who holds a doctoral degree, got all of his social insurance he paid in China reset after he acquired American citizenship. Now, Guo is introduced to China as a specially appointed university professor, but he is not eligible to pay social insurance because of his age.

"China should provide overseas Chinese, many of whom have made great achievements in the fields of technology and education, with a path to come back home," said Zhu, adding that if China does not improve its nationality policy, it would be dwarfed by some developed countries recognizing dual nationality in race to attract global talents.

The calls for dual nationality have not fallen on deaf ears.

In February, the Ministry of Public Security enacted a regulation for the management of entry and exit specially designed for overseas Chinese. The regulation allows overseas Chinese engaged in business and cultural activities and family visits to get five-year multi-entry visa.

In January, China's State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs rolled out new rules, which make it easier for foreign high-end talents to obtain a Chinese visa valid for up to 10 years after they are granted a certificate for foreign high-end talents.

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