Today I went to renew my passport at the Chinese General Consulate in Sydney. It turned out to be just 5 mins from my house. When turning into a lane, I noticed several Chinese people standing around either holding signs or delivering pamphlets about Falungong, then I realised that the big building on the side of the road must be the Chinese General Consulate. I was right.
I went in, grabbed the passport renewal form, filled it in and stood in the queue for " Passport Renewals". When it was my turn, the lady officer asked me to write down on a piece of paper the actual period of time that I have spent in Australia.
I realised that there is a requirement that any Chinese citizen who is an Australian permanent resident and has lived in Australia for more than 2 years must, when they renew their Chinese passport, submit proof that they are not an Australian citizen or have not applied for Australian citizenship. If they have lived in Australia for less than 2 years, a detailed time frame of living in Australia has to be indicated.
As you know, China is one of the few countries that do not allow dual citizenship. However, I always wondered how they actually enforced this policy. Today I found out the answer. By requiring an official proof from DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), they will easily avoid any "scam" of anyone renewing their Chinese passport while they are already a citizen of Australia.
I was lucky that I did not have to get a proof from DFAT, even though my passport showed that I have been living here for more than 2 years, because I was in Europe for 5 weeks. So it worked out that my total months in Australia was only 23 not 24 which would require me to get the DFAT letter. So after I wrote down a detailed period of time living in Australia, I was issued a notice saying that I can come to pick up the new passport on the 5th August which is this Friday. How efficient!
I often hear the comment that "China is a jealous country" because they do not allow dual citizenship. I know lots of Chinese in Canada are trying to convince the Chinese government to permit dual citizenship so that when they go back to China, they can still be treated as a Chinese.
In my opinion, it would be great for the Chinese government to allow dual citizenship because as far as I know, the Chinese people who are living overseas often tend to go back to China to either invest or do business once they have gained experience or learned more advanced technology. But the fact is by the time these Chinese people want to return China, they are probably already the citizens of the country they have been living in for many years. If they could return to China as a Chinese citizen, things would be more convenient for them than as a foreign passport holder. For instance, if they invest in some business, the tax would be more favourable for a Chinese citizen than a foreigner. In that case, they would be more encouraged to go back to invest in China; therefore, China would attract more talented Chinese back to her grand land and to speed up the process of prosperity.
I hope the government will change their policy in the near future so that I can retain my Chinese citizenship as well as being recognized as a citizen of Australia. I always love China and consider myself as a Chinese no matter where I am; but I also would like to attain the convenience of being an Australian passport holder so that I don't have to get a hundred visas whenever I want to travel for example :) I am so jealous of Brad who has both Australian and British passports which allow him to travel to England, all of the European countries and just about any other country without a visa.