The Citizenship Law, passed in 1980 and still in force today, regulates the issuance of Chinese citizenship. The law is based on the principle of jus sanguinis, and under it children with one or two Chinese parents are automatically granted Chinese citizenship, regardless of whether or not they were born on Chinese soil (Articles 4 and 5). The principle of ancestry is softened to the effect that children of Chinese people living abroad long-term do not obtain citizenship if the country in which they are born grants citizenship based on the territoriality principle (jus soli). This is intended to prevent the dual citizenship, which is forbidden according to Article 3 of the Citizenship Law.
According to Article 9, Chinese people who have taken on another citizenship automatically lose their Chinese citizenship. This regulation has historical roots: in the first years after the founding of the People’s Republic, the Chinese living in Southeast Asia were still allowed to possess dual citizenship. States such as Indonesia, however, that had only just become independent and, for the most part, were anti-communistic perceived this as a danger for their own state-building process. As a consequence, in order to avoid diplomatic tensions, China concluded a treaty with Indonesia prohibiting dual citizenship for the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. The treaty entered into force in 1960. Government advisors have recently suggested moving away from the non-recognition of dual citizenship. So far, the government, however, has not changed its course.
Article 7 of the Citizenship Law allows for the naturalization of foreigners under certain conditions, for example if a close relationship with a Chinese citizen exists or if the persons concerned reside in China long-term. The number of naturalized people thus far, in particular those without a relationship with an ethnic Chinese person, is small.
This text is part of the Interner Link: country profile China.