Netizens Outraged Over China's Proposed Permanent Residence Rules

By That's GBA, March 2, 2020

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The Ministry of Justice proposed new rules on foreigners’ permanent residence in China last Thursday; the draft legislation has received a strong backlash on Chinese social media.

According to the draft rules, foreigners who are internationally acknowledged for achievements in fields such as science and technology, sports, education and economics can apply for permanent residence. Folks who’ve heavily contributed to China’s development – economically or socially – are also able to apply upon the recommendation of relevant governmental bodies. 

One stipulation of the proposed legislation requires permanent foreign residents to live in the country three or more months each year.

A hashtag about the proposed regulations on permanent residence for foreigners (#外国人永久居留管理条例#) has been recently trending on Weibo, with over 4.4 billion views and 3.3 million posts and comments, as of press time.

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A poster shared on Weibo encouraging Chinese nationals to oppose the draft rules on foreigners’ permanent residence (email and website for public opinion at the bottom). Image via @Cyril丶晨/Weibo

Some of the top posts on the trending topic include a heavy dose of nationalistic rhetoric, with one Weibo user writing: “I fear that our motherland will be turned into other peoples’ sleepaway country... I fear that when my teacher speaks about the ancestors who heroically resisted the foreign enemies, the black and white children won’t care.” The post (which has since been deleted), also stated that Chinese women may be too scared to leave the house at night because of the draft rules, receiving over 400,000 likes and been copied and posted by other users as well.

Many have taken to social media to oppose the proposed draft rules, which are open for public comment until March 27. “I’m firmly opposed, this draft rule is a complete loophole. Foreigners who actually aren’t talented but just ordinary people can get in…” wrote one netizen, while another posted, “I hope more people can pay attention to these regulations, we need your strength, thank you.”

On Sunday, state-run newspaper China Daily published an editorial on the draft rules, arguing that the legislation includes specific requirements “like the rules that have been in effect since 2004,” and that the possibility for “unqualified candidates” being approved is quite low.

Editor’s Note (March 4, 2020 10:39am CST): This article has been updated to reflect that a trending post on Weibo we quoted was deleted after the article was published.

[Cover image via @Cyril丶晨/Weibo]

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