PRC nationalist propagandist and wolf warrior diplomat inspiration Hu Xijin, the former editor of the Global Times (a publication in the People’s Daily media family that had gotten too much foreign attention because it has an English-language edition) has finally written an opinion piece I can wholeheartedly agree with!
Hu writes Eileen Gu is just barely 18. She wants to be both Chinese and American but that may not be possible. PRC guidance to meda, he writes, should be ‘Don’t emphasize the patriotic angle such as “she brings glory to China!”.
Depending upon the nationalities involved, children of international marriages may need to make choices when they become an adult. Some countries, like Japan, require a person to affirm or reject their Japanese citizenship when they become an adult since dual nationality is illegal under Japanese law. China doesn’t allow dual nationality even for children, sometimes resulting in difficult situations for children born in China. In the case of Eileen Gu aka Gu Ailing, her membership on the Chinese Olympic Team may mean that the Chinese government has made arrangements outside of Chinese law, made a special law secretly or made a new interpretation.
In any case, every country decides citizenship according to its own laws. US law does not require its citizens to renounce citizenship in another country although they must enter and depart the US on their US passport.
U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one nationality or another. A U.S. citizen may naturalize in a foreign state without any risk to his or her U.S. citizenship. However, persons who acquire a foreign nationality after age 18 by applying for it may relinquish their U.S. nationality if they wish to do so. In order to relinquish U.S. nationality by virtue of naturalization as a citizen of a foreign state, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign nationality voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. nationality. Intent may be shown by the person’s statements and conduct.“Dual Nationality” on U.S. Department of State Consular Affairs website
For an American citizen, renouncing U.S. citizenship involves a careful process including an interview to ascertain that the renunciation is voluntary and later in Washington, DC, additional review to ensure that the renunciation was actually done voluntarily. Once finally accepted, the name of the former U.S. citizen is entered in a register which becomes a public record.
In 1992 – 94 while working as a Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Okinawa, Japan, I was visted by a retired missionary who had worked for decades in Japan. In accordance with the policy of his order, he had taken Japanese citizenship and so, in accordance with Japanese law, renounced his U.S. citizenship. Now he was old and his sister wanted him to live with her in the US. During our interview he told me that when he visited the US office in Okinawa (during the U.S. Administration there) he laughed at him and hadn’t taken him seriously. Recalling my consular training (what we called ConGen Rosslyn back then) about the citizenship renunciation process, I sent a telegram back to the State Department. It turned out that his name had not been entered in the register, so I issued him a U.S. passport (a primary documentation of U.S. citizenship) and he returned home.
Eileen Gu’s name is not on the official list of US citizens who have renounced US citizenship so she remains a US citizen — Quarterly Publication of Individuals, Who Have Chosen To Expatriate, as Required by Section 6039G
If China wants to make her a PRC citizen (notwithstanding conventional understandings of PRC law) well that is up to China.Hu Xijin’s article on his personal blog is interesting for being written in a propaganda guidance voice too. The article resembles media guidance that the PRC propaganda people send out to Chinese media on what to report, what not to report and how to report it. The China Digital Times used to manage to obtain press guidance the propaganda people had issued and published it in translation on the CDT website. Some of the examples are here in their Propaganda Department collection.
Academics Address Dual Nationality in PRC Law and Practice
Habicht, Jasper and Richter, Eva Lena, De Facto Dual Nationality in Chinese Law and Practice (February 25, 2022). China: An International Journal 2022, 20(1), 24–45, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4043945
De Facto Dual Nationality in Chinese Law and Practice
Jasper Habicht and Eva Lena Richter
While recent policies issued by the government advocate the return of overseas Chinese and the attraction of skilled foreign nationals to the country, the People’s Republic of China still rejects the recognition of dual nationality. This article aims to present scenarios of de facto dual nationality, resulting from the implementation of Chinese nationality law. It discusses three main scenarios: children who acquire Chinese and foreign nationality by birth, former Chinese citizens that do not cancel their household registrations, and Chinese officials who naturalise elsewhere but yet are denied the right to voluntary expatriation by the Chinese state and are treated as single nationals. These scenarios are examples of how the non-recognition of dual nationality under Chinese law conflicts with the interest of individuals. Legal and procedural inconsistencies of the Chinese state, too, have created inconsistent implementation of nationality law. Public administration of nationality law and the Chinese household registration (hukou) system are often conflicting, and China’s diplomatic efforts in holding up single nationality as the sole legal rule have contrasted with its focus on maintaining control over former citizens who naturalise elsewhere. The authors conclude that enhanced cooperation between authorities will make problems related to the enforcement of the single nationality rule more obvious, while underlying major problems persist, such as the conflicting implementation of nationality and household registration or inconsistent interpretation of the scope of control of the state over its former citizens. The authors suggest that the possibility to apply for permanent residence and the rights attached to it should be enhanced to safeguard participation in social security and political life, especially for foreign children and skilled foreign nationals.
Original Hu Xijin Hu Xijin Watch 2022-02-13 23:05
Gu Ailing has been a great success at the Winter Olympics. I, like most Chinese, am happy that she won a gold medal for China. At the same time, I would like to remind everyone that propaganda directed at Chinese public opinion about her should be moderate, limited to the scope of her athletic success and her Olympic spirit. There should be no patriotic emphasis such as “she won glory for China”. Such statements are better avoided; better to say she “she won glory for the Chinese Olympic Team”.
The reason for this is that Gu Ailing has barely turned 18 and for at least the next several years, she is likely be based mostly in the United States. We cannot be certain about the decision she may make about her nationality and how she will manifest her national identity as she matures. Propaganda towards domestic Chinese public opinion regarding her should leave some areas ambiguous so as to avoid a shock in the future.
If Gu Ailing wins another gold medal and manages herself properly, she could have more commercial value in the Chinese market than any athlete before her. There’s no denying that. European and American athletes and Korean stars with no ties to China make money in China. It is only logical that Gu Ailing would make endorsements for Chinese companies. She has brought joy to the Chinese public and should reap the commercial rewards. It will be important, however, to minimize political factors as far as possible since these could be some risks in Gu Ailing doing endorsements in China.
Now in U.S. public opinion there have been some attacks on Gu Ailing, but not to any great extent. She herself says “I am American when I am in America and Chinese when I am in China.” I believe this is her honest feeling and that she hopes very much to do things this way. The real world may not allow her to do as she wishes however. The deterioration in SIno-American relations has turned this road into a dead end. There are also legal issues may also be insurmountable. Gu Ailing will very likely face a difficult choice. What I am trying to say is that China’s national honor and credibility cannot be put at stake in the case of Gu Ailing. The country’s room for maneuver cannot be constrained by the personal choice any individual may make.
Original 胡锡进 胡锡进观察 2022-02-13 23:05