Due to historical and diplomatic reasons, Chinese law does not recognise dual nationality

Non-recognition of dual nationality, however, leads to several unwanted side effects

Household registration undermines nationality law

  • Communication between local police and national authorities insufficient
  • Data on nationality and on household registration (hukou) is not integrated
  • Persons who lost Chinese nationality can use hukou to get new passport
  • Improved data exchange will prevent such illegal access to social benefits
  • Conflicts with needs of internationally mobile individuals may emerge

Children born abroad get peculiar legal status

  • Children of Chinese nationals will typically get Chinese nationality
  • But not if parents reside abroad and ius soli applies in state of residence
  • Renunciation of Chinese nationality is only possible out of ‘own free will’
  • Only after the age of 18 is it possible to decide against Chinese nationality
  • In certain situations, children will become de-facto dual nationals

Sanctions against officials expand to non-nationals

  • Chinese officials are not allowed to renounce Chinese nationality
  • This policy aims to retain the possibility of judicial prosecution
  • In practice, even the acquisition of another nationality is not allowed
  • Under the pretext of fighting corruption, officials are sanctioned
  • Even non-Chinese family members may be restricted from leaving China

Unsolved problems of Chinese nationality law

  • Single-nationality rule stands in contrast to Chinas opening to the world
  • Benefits of multiple nationality entices individuals to ignore regulations
  • Poor communication between authorities facilitates circumvention of rules
  • Despite non-recognition, legal provisions can lead to dual nationality
  • Individuals who renounced Chinese nationality are still considered Chinese
  • Chinese state only partly adheres to its own single-nationality policy

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