Updated: Mar 25
The "two sessions" ("lianghui"), namely the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), are one of the most significant political scenes in China. Although many pointed out that the NPC is largely a rubberstamp and the CPPCC is only advisory in nature, they still play considerable politically symbolic functions at least. This post combs the track record of proposals by members of the two sessions to abolish the prohibition of dual nationality in recent years. Chinese law still has not recognize dual nationality till this day.
In summary, there have been 5 proposals in the NPC and CPPCC from 1999 to 2021 to lift the ban on recognition of dual nationality, but the law has remained unchanged.
1. The 1999 Proposal in the CPPCC
In 1999, 12 members of the CPPCC, including the famous TV host Chen Duo, jointly proposed to revoke the non-recognition of dual nationality. The Ministry of Public Security responded that China’s policy of non-recognition of dual nationality “played an important role in handling the issue of conflicts of nationality and conformed to China’s national conditions and national interests.”
(Source: Wu Xiaoan, Forgotten History and Abruptly Changing Facts: Dispute on the Dual Nationality Issue of Overseas People with Chinese Descent, in Zhou Nanjing (ed.), Discussion of the Nationality Issue of Overseas People with Chinese Descent (2005), at 64-65, 175-78)
2. The two 2004 Proposals in the CPPCC
In 2004, at the Second Session of the Tenth National Committee of the CPPCC, Huang Yinhui put forward a proposal titled "Recommendation to Amend the Relevant Articles of the Nationality Law to Recognize Dual Nationality Selectively and Reciprocally" (Political & Law No. 019, Proposal No. 0222). He recommended to amend Articles 3, 5, and 9 of the Nationality Law so that Chinese citizens who have acquired foreign nationality can choose to retain or renounce their Chinese nationality. In its response to the proposal, the Ministry of Public Security stated that "amendment and improvement of the Nationality Law are included in the Ministry's Tenth Five-Year Legislative Plan, and the relevant work is now stepping up."
In the same year, Han Fangming submitted a proposal titled "Recommendation on Flexible Handling of Nationality Issues and Promoting Overseas Students in Service of the Country" (Political & Law No. 31, Proposal No. 0320). His recommendation is to adopt an intermediate approach between the dichotomy of recognition and non-recognition of dual nationality, including convenient entry and exit visas, Chinese permanent residence (green cards), and the issuance of "Chinese Citizens (Overseas) Passport" to overseas students who have joined foreign nationality, which can only used as a "travel documents" to return to the mainland China.
(Source: Zhou Nanjing (ed.), Discussion of the Nationality Issue of Overseas People with Chinese Descent (2005), at 241-52.)
2004年， 在全国政协十届二次会议上，全国政协委员黄因慧又提出了“关于建议修改《中华人民共和国国籍法》相关条款 ，有选择对应承认双重国籍的建议”（政治法律第019号，提案第 0222 号） ，建议修改国籍法第 3、 5、9 条款 ，使取得他国国籍的中国公民可以自愿保留或放弃中国国籍。公安部在提案答复中说明“修改和完善《国籍法》列入公安部‘十五’立法规划 ,现正抓紧进行有关工作。”
3. The 2005 Proposal by the Central Committee of China National Democratic Construction Association in the CPPCC
In 2005, during the third meeting of the Tenth National Committee of the CPPCC, the Central Committee of China Democratic National Construction Association (one of the non-communist "democratic parties" in China) submitted a party proposal to recognize dual nationality, and allow overseas immigrants to get involved in politics and to participate in the People’s Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conferences as citizens. The proposal argued for revision of the Nationality law to recognize dual nationality correspondingly. If immediate amendment turns out difficult, the proposal urged following the examples of Hong Kong and Macau to deal with the issue of Chinese nationality flexibly: to issue a "Chinese with Foreign Nationality Home Return Permits" like the permit for Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan residents, or to issue "Chinese Citizen (Overseas) Passports" as a "travel document" for home-returning residents who have acquired foreign nationality.
4. The NPC Member Shen Zhiqiang's Proposal in 2011
Shen Zhiqiang put forward suggestions on amending the Nationality Law as soon as possible. He pointed out that single nationality is contrary to the trend of nationality changes in emerging global developed countries; it severely restricts overseas Chinese returning to China for innovation and entrepreneurship; it is contrary to the win-win trend of international cooperation; the single nationality system is undoubtedly an abdication of the responsibilities and obligations of the national government, which is not conducive to either safeguarding national sovereignty and dignity or protecting the survival and development of overseas Chinese. Therefore, he made the following suggestions: first, to learn from the experience of dual nationality countries around the world to improve the legal system of dual nationality; second, to recognize dual nationality and apply the principle of reciprocity. The liberalization of dual nationality contribute to attracting overseas talents, funds and technologies in today's globalized world, while opposing dual nationality cannot prevent the loss of talents or property. Similarly, by opening up dual nationality, overseas Chinese will gain or no longer lose Chinese nationality. China's centripetal force and attractiveness to overseas Chinese will greatly enhance, and the sense of national identity will rise like never before.
Wu Lang, Shao Huili, Memebr Shen Zhiqiang: Science and Technology Innovation Needs Talent Support, Shandong Lvdu Biotechnology Co., Ltd., May 26, 2011, https://www.lvdu.net/index.php?m=content&c=index&a=show&catid=18&id=1070.
5. The 2016 Proposal in the CPPCC by Li Wei
Li Wei, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Standing Committee and vice-chairman of Guangdong’s Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, told media outlet Caixin that the Nationality Law provision to automatically revoke the Chinese nationality of those who gain foreign nationality was “out of date” and should be revised.
6. The 2018 Proposal in the CPPCC
Zhu Zhengfu, a member of the National Committee of the CPPCC and the vice president of the Chinese Lawyers Association, submitted a proposal in 2018 to amend Article 9 of the Nationality Law: if a Chinese citizen does not voluntarily apply for renunciation of Chinese nationality after obtaining foreign nationality, China will only recognize the Chinese nationality instead of the foreign nationality of him. “You cannot equate the acquisition of foreign nationality with being unpatriotic. Many Chinese people acquire foreign nationality not because they have no feelings for the motherland. It may be due to employment needs or other reasons.” Zhu Zhengfu told the Beijing Youth Daily that when the Nationality Law was enacted (in 1980), China's national strength is still relatively weak. Now the situation is different. The world, especially the developed countries in the West, are competing for talents and resources. Nationality has become an important means of the competition. Automatic loss of Chinese nationality upon joining foreign nationality and giving up talents to other countries are not in the long-term interests of China. In addition, amending this provision can also enable China to retain jurisdiction over citizens in terms of justice and taxation.