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 nationality of the People's Republic of China. Such nationality 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.
Nationality by birth 
In general, when a person is born in China, that person is a Chinese national if he or she has at least one parent holding Chinese nationality, 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 national has Chinese nationality, so long as the Chinese-national parent(s) have not "settled" in a foreign country. The term "settled" is usually taken to mean that the Chinese national parent has permanent residency in another country. A person born outside China, including those with parent(s) holding Chinese nationality, does not have Chinese nationality if a foreign nationality is acquired at birth, if a Chinese national parent has settled abroad.
In China, children born of Chinese-foreign marriages are considered to be Chinese nationals by the government of the People's Republic of China, which can cause complications if a foreign passport is subsequently used to exit China.
Naturalization is possible, but rare. During the Fifth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China (2000), only 941 naturalized citizens not belonging to any of China's recognized 56 indigenous ethnic groups (which includes Koreans, Vietnamese, and Russians) were counted in China's mainland. More foreigners have applied for naturalization to Chinese nationality since Hong Kong has reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. Among Hong Kong residents from 1997 to 2012, 3,411 Pakistanis, 3,399 Indonesians, 2,487 Indians, 1,115 Vietnamese, and 387 Filipinos have been naturalized.
Foreigners who naturalize in China cannot retain foreign nationality (Article 8).
Loss of nationality 
A Chinese national who has settled abroad and voluntarily applies for and acquires another country's nationality automatically forfeits Chinese nationality (Article 9).
Dual nationality 
It is generally difficult to have dual nationality of China and another country, due to the provisions for loss of Chinese nationality when a Chinese national naturalizes in another country (see "Loss of nationality" above), and the stipulation that a foreigner who naturalizes in China cannot retain their foreign nationality (see "Naturalization" above).
However, under the Nationality Law it is still possible for a person to have dual nationality of China and another country at birth in some circumstances. For example:
- If they were born in China, to one Chinese-national parent, they are a Chinese national at birth (Article 4). If their other parent is a non-Chinese-national, they may acquire another nationality at birth by jus sanguinis from that parent.
- If they were born outside China, to one or two Chinese-national parents who have not settled abroad, they are a Chinese national at birth (Article 5). They may acquire another nationality at birth by jus soli if they were born in a jus soli country, and/or they may acquire another nationality from their other parent (if only one parent was a Chinese national) by jus sanguinis.
There is no provision in Chinese law for such a person with dual nationality to "choose a nationality". Thus, such a person may hold dual nationality indefinitely, though in practice they will face many bureaucratic hurdles.
There are also some exceptions regarding dual nationality regarding Hong Kong and Macau (see below).
Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan 
The People's Republic of China considers both Hong Kong and Macau to have always been its territories, and people 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 Chinese nationals before and after the handovers. Likewise the People's Republic of China considers Taiwan to be its territory, and people born in Taiwan are considered to be nationals of the People's Republic of China. 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.
Hong Kong 
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 nationalities under the respective foreign laws; the reason for referring to the foreign "right of abode" instead of foreign nationality is avoid making an exception to, or breaching, the basic principle of Chinese Nationality Law of non-recognition of dual nationality, and also because China regards foreign control of Hong Kong to have been illegitimate, and thus refuses to recognize the foreign nationality conferred upon many Chinese people in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong residents of Chinese nationality do not lose their Chinese nationality automatically upon acquiring foreign one(s), in spite of the apparent wording of Article 9. Such Chinese nationals who also have foreign nationality may declare a change of nationality at Hong Kong's Immigration Department, and upon approval, would no longer be considered Chinese nationals. The British Dependent Territories citizen and British Nationals (Overseas) passports held by people 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 nationals who hold such passport or have a right of abode in countries outside the People's Republic of China 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).
|July 1997 to
The Immigration Department is authorised to naturalise foreign or stateless people as Chinese nationals in Hong Kong. In the first year after the handover, there were only 152 applications for naturalisation; 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, a Sindhi 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 people 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 nationality; the government did not collect statistics on their ethnic background.) From 2008 to 2010, another 4,099 applications for naturalisation were received, of which 71% were approved; eight-tenths of the applicants were nationals of South Asian countries.
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 without losing right to abode. Negotiations between China and Portugal over Macau were considerably smoother than those between the United Kingdom and China over Hong Kong, and in the former a pragmatic practical agreement was understood making double nationality possible "de facto" for Chinese and Portuguese nationals with a previous or ongoing relation to Macau.
See also 
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- 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)
- Constitution of the People's Republic of China, Article 33.
- See the regulations as quoted e.g. here: 外国人加入中国籍，其居民身份证或护照上的民族一栏应填写什么？
- 第五次人口普查数据(2000年). 表1—6. 省、自治区、直辖市分性别、民族的人口 ( Fifth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China (2000). Table 1-6: Population of provinces, autonomous regions, and minicipalities by ethnicity. (Chinese)
- Carney, John (2012-12-16). "Figures reveal thousands from ethnic minorities have won naturalisation". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- "Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China". Immigration Department, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
- "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.
- "Applications for naturalisation as Chinese nationals". Info.gov.hk. 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
- McKenzie, Hamish (2010-04-14), "Expat or immigrant", TimeOut Hong Kong, retrieved 2011-12-05
- "本港去年729人入中國籍", Ming Pao, 2011-01-12, retrieved 2011-12-06
- 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. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
- Shamdasani, Ravina (2002-12-15). "First Hong Kong Pakistani gets Chinese nationality". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2011-05-28.