Hu Xijin: Don’t Go Too Far with Eileen Gu Propaganda

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

Abstract

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.


Hu Xijin: Don’t Go Too Far with Gu Ailing Propaganda

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.

Chinese text:


胡锡进:对谷爱凌的宣传不宜拔高

Original 胡锡进 胡锡进观察 2022-02-13 23:05

谷爱凌在冬奥会上获得巨大成功,老胡像大多数国人一样,为她代表中国队赢得金牌而由衷高兴。同时我要提醒,舆论对她的宣传要适度,应局限在体育成功和奥运精神范围内,不要往爱国主义方向靠,像“为国争光”这样的说法宜少用,代之以“为中国队争光”更加妥当。

原因是谷爱凌刚满18岁,至少今后几年,她的生活基地大概率要在美国,她未来怎么确定自己的国籍归属,在自己的人设中如何展现国家认同,都有不确定性。中国舆论对她的宣传要预留一个模糊地带,防止未来被动。

谷爱凌如果能再得新的金牌并且运作得当,她在中国市场的商业价值可能超过以往任何运动员。这无可厚非。与中国没任何关系的欧美运动员和韩国明星都能在中国挣钱,谷爱凌给中国企业代言,更顺理成章。她给中国公众带来了快乐,她就无愧于商业回报。只是,要尽量减少政治因素的加入,谷爱凌做那样的载体是有风险的。

现在,美国那边的舆论有一些攻击谷爱凌的,但程度不重。她自己说她“在美国是美国人,在中国是中国人”,我觉得这是她的真实自我定位,而且她很希望能够这样走通。但现实未必能如她所愿,中美关系恶化致使这样的通道几乎被封死了,法律问题也难逾越。未来谷爱凌很可能面临艰难选择。我想说的是,在谷爱凌的问题上,中国的国家荣誉和信誉不能有风险,国家的回旋空间一定要大于任何人的选择空间。

About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated, with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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