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Daily Drip

China’s Plans to Ease Permanent Residence for Foreigners Stir Online Debate

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The topic of foreigner citizenship in China is trending on Weibo. When the Ministry of Justice published a surprisingly liberal draft of new policies this week, social media began to swell with opinion.

Some were caught unawares by the generally inclusive policies, which would welcome foreigners who fit certain criteria. If you’ve made internationally recognized achievements in the arts and sciences, contributed to China’s economic and social development, or hold expertise in key fields, the proposals would make it easier for you to apply for permanent residence in mainland China. Additional rights would grant foreigners greater freedom in purchasing real estate and housing in China.

Online, the subject has generated considerable discussion, with a mix of anti-immigrant sentiment and more open views similar to that found in many other countries at present, as well as debates over Chinese identity.

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“Do you think that giving you a piece of paper, with the Chinese ‘nationality’ printed on it, makes you a real Chinese citizen? Impossible!” one user wrote, “The cultural ancestry must be absolute.”

Another added, “There is no reason to introduce any foreigners to the protected Chinese national land!”

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Others felt more optimistic. “A good thing!” writes one, “More talent to be introduced!”

It remains to be seen how China’s lawmakers will respond to the court of public opinion.

Featured image: Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

Elsbeth van Paridon
Sinologist Elsbeth van Paridon is an aficionada of fashion and urban culture. Deeply devoted to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon also reports on trends in her own publications “The China Temper” and “China Under The Radar“.