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Debating dual citizenship

来源: 作者: 2014-10-17 09:36:02

    Liu Guofu, a law professor with Beijing Institute of Technology, said the Nationality Law of a country should be designed to improve the competitiveness of the country. China's current Nationality Law sets limits on population mobility, which may diminish China's attractiveness.

  "The law is too severe that it expels overseas Chinese from being Chinese. This practice is rarely found in other countries," said Wang Huiyao, founding Director of the Center for China and Globalization and Vice Chairman of the China Western Returned Scholars Association.

  According to him, China has sent out about 2 million students studying abroad since 1978, but only less than one third have chosen to return home after completing their studies.

  In 2010, China became the largest international student exporter to the United States, with 140,000 Chinese students leaving for the United States to study that year.

  Compared with the huge number of talents exported, the amount of backflow was limited. At the end of 2012, only 246,000 foreigners having work visas or permits lived in China. The international population only accounted for 0.5 percent in China's first-tier cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, which was much lower than that in New York City, London, and Paris, where the number reached 20-30 percent, according to the Times Weekly.

  "I applied for US citizenship as I would not be allowed to enter high-end laboratories in the United States without it," said Huang Ying, a post doctoral student. "But once I lost Chinese citizenship, it became more complicated to go home. It's ridiculous to spend so much time and money just to apply for a visa."

  Huang's remarks are also commonly expressed by many immigrant talents who left to learn high-end technology and science, but when they hoped to return home, the way was not smooth.

  In order to attract foreign capital and talents and pull back Chinese entrepreneurs of foreign nationality, the MPS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs implemented a series of regulations in 2004, stating that any foreign nationals, including Chinese of foreign citizenship, can get a Chinese "green card" to obtain permanent residence, as long as they meet the qualifications.

  However, the threshold is so high as to stultify the regulations. Take immigration through direct investment as an example, an applicant has to pour either $500,000 into west China, the least developed region of the country, or $1 million into central China, or a total of $2 million anywhere in China. Many Chinese expats who wish to return and start enterprises flinch at the large sum.

  "We have now entered the era of talent flows. China's continuous development will to a large extent depend on a huge talent pool. This requires China to formulate more practical attractive polices, such as the tolerance of dual nationality," Wang said.

  According to him, about 90 countries and regions worldwide recognize dual or multiple citizenships. Among them many are emerging countries such as South Korea, Viet Nam, India, the Philippines, Brazil and Mexico.

  "If the Chinese Government does not allow dual nationality, overseas citizenship and overseas Chinese identification cards should be considered," Wang said.

  Given China's current situation, it may not be suitable to allow dual nationality. But an overseas citizenship and overseas identification card that was recently promoted by India may be a possible solution to the complicated visa issue procedures.

  "An overseas citizenship card could be used for Chinese living overseas so they can freely travel to and from China," Wang said.

  According to him, the overseas identification card could be used for second- or third-generation Chinese who are living overseas. With this card, they would not have to apply for a Chinese visa for 15 years.

  In addition to an overseas identification card, Chinese who are overseas would enjoy equal treatment in their host country with the exception to the right to vote and be elected to political office.

  "These solutions would allow China to attract talent without spending a great deal of money. This innovative policy could possibly draw talent back to China," Wang said.


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