A national law adding protections to the rights of Chinese citizens returning home after living abroad should be enacted as a way to encourage them to contribute further to the country’s economic and social development, according to legislators.
Many overseas Chinese have encountered difficulties in their political, financial and social rights－such as social security, children’s education and applications for permanent household registration－and a national law will make changes, deputies to the National People’s Congress said during the top legislature’s ongoing annual session in Beijing.
“China has more than 6 million overseas Chinese who have contributed greatly to both the country that they reside in and their homeland,” said Dong Chuanjie, a lawmaker from Shanghai and director of policy and regulation for the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council.
“Many of these citizens are enthusiastic about returning to start a life back home and are an indispensable resource for the country in attracting top professionals from overseas,” he said. “It seems particularly important to protect the rights of those who have returned from overseas and their families through legislation.”
Regulations on the rights of overseas Chinese are included in several laws, but there are few and they are not implemented well, according to Dong, who has submitted a motion to NPC regarding the legislation.
“The absence of such a law also triggers problems ... such as trying to see which government department is responsible for dealing with affairs in a certain area,” Yu Jihua, another national legislator, was quoted as saying by China News Service.
Yu, vice-chairman of the Jiangxi Provincial Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, also suggested such a law be put in place.
Since 2015, regional regulations have been effective in Guangdong and Fujian provinces and Shanghai, and deputies say they provide good references for a national law.
The Shanghai rules, which went into effect in 2016, stipulate that the legitimate income of an overseas Chinese through business investments can be transferred overseas.
Regarding education, the Shanghai regulation also stipulates that children of overseas Chinese enjoy the same rights as those whose parents are permanent residents in the city.