Changing Chinese Migration Law: From Restriction to Relaxation

Abstract

This paper offers new insights into Chinese migration law since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, set against a backdrop of briefly examined historical developments in international migration law. Despite significant changes during its years of reform and opening up—with the massive influx of foreigners into, and exodus of Chinese citizens from, China—Chinese migration law is still restrictive and unadvanced. As part of its reform and opening-up policies, China has been relaxing its control on persons crossing its border, and advancing its exit and entry administration. The paper also offers an exploration of fresh perspectives on Chinese migration law’s history, including insights into the comparative value—for Chinese migration law—of international migration law experiences.

Résumé

Cet article offre de nouvelles perspectives sur la loi chinoise en matière d’immigration depuis l’établissement de la République populaire de Chine en 1949 et ce, dans le contexte d’un aperçu sur des développements historiques relatifs à la loi sur la migration internationale. Malgré les changements significatifs qui ont eu lieu pendant les années de réformes et d’ouverture, et en dépit de l’afflux immense d’étrangers vers la Chine et l’exode de citoyens chinois, la loi chinoise en matière d’immigration demeure restreignante et rétrograde. Dans le cadre de ses réformes et ses politiques visant l’ouverture, la Chine relâche son contrôle des mouvements transfrontières et fait avancer les conditions d’entrée et de sortie. Cet article propose de nouvelles perspectives sur l’historique de la loi chinoise en matière d’immigration, y compris une approche originale quant à la valeur comparative des expériences relatives à la loi sur la migration internationale.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. 1.

    Huaqiao refers to Chinese citizens born in China and legally residing outside China. See Article 2 (1) of the Law on Protection of the Rights and Interests of Returned Chinese Citizens who Legally Resided Outside of China and the Family Members of Chinese Citizens who Legally Resided Outside of China (Amendment) 2000 (PRC).

  2. 2.

    Right-wing political opposition refers to people who oppose Marxist, people’s democratic dictatorship, communist system, state ownership, and one-party reign of the Chinese Communist Party in China.

  3. 3.

    In 1985, the average annual per capita income for a rural person was C¥574.31 ($US 66.18), whereas the average annual per capita income in urban areas was C¥748.92 ($US 90.56). This was calculated based on the data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China at “Per Capita GDP from 1952 to 2002” (1952 Nian – 2002 Nian Renjun Guomin Shengchan Zongzhi), http://www.menet.com.cn/shuju/gmjj/gmjj-rjgdp.htm.

  4. 4.

    International migrant refers to persons who currently reside in a country other than where they were born, at Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations (2002). International Migration 2002.

References

  1. Asian Political News (2006). LEAD: U.N. refugee agency to work with China on asylum system. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0WDQ/is_2006_March_27/ai_n26810678.

  2. Best, K. (2008). 21st Century migration trends and some select policy responses. Presented at the 21st Century Exit and Entry (migration) Conference dated from 27 to 28 November 2008 in Shantou, China.

  3. Brown, J. M., & Foot, R. M. (1994). The Asian experience. London: Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  4. China Daily (2006). China’s first passport law comes into effect. http://www.china.org.cn/english/government/194422.htm.

  5. China Daily (2001). China to reform exit–entry administration. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2001-12/21/content_99065.htm.

  6. China Net (2005). Press Conference of the Ministry of Public Security, P.R. China on the Achievements Reached from 1986 to 2006. http://www.gov.cn/xwfb/2005-11/22/content_106081.htm.

  7. Committee of Exit, Entry Administration under Chinese Association of Police (ed). (2001). The Proceedings of Papers on the Control of Exit and Entry (III) (Churujing Guanli Lunwenxuan (san)), (Internally Published within Public Security Organs) (Gongan Jiguan Neibu Faxing). Beijing: Qunzhong.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Division of Border Control of Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration, Ministry of Public Security (1999). Great Change over the Last 50 years: the Analysis of the Data of Entry and Exit of Individuals (Fenyun Bianhuan Wushi Nian: Cong Churujing Renyuan Tongji Shuju Kan Jianguo Yilai De Jubian), People’s Public Security (Renmin Gongan), No. 22 (1999).

  9. Grant, S. (2006). GCIM Report: Defining an ‘ethical compass’ for international migration policy. International Migration, 44(1), 13–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Guangdong Local Chronicles Office (2008). Huaqiao. http://www.gd-info.gov.cn:8080/was40/outline?page.=1&channelid=16143.

  11. Hefei Local Chronicles Office (2001). Exit and Entry Administration (Churujing Guanli). http://61.191.16.234:8080/was40/detail?record=5&channelid=28109.

  12. Ma,Y. (2008). The legal issues of drafting the unified entry and exit law of China. Presented for the Asia Pacific Law School Deans Joint Conference held from 19 to 21 May 2008 in Law School, Shantou University, China.

  13. Martin, P., & Widgren, J. (2002). International migration: facing the challenge. Population Reference Bureau: Washington D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  14. National Bureau of the Statistics of China. (2003). 2002 Year book of china statistics. Beijing: China Statistics.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Newland, K. (2003). Migration as a factor in development and poverty reduction. http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?id=136.

  16. Papademetriou, D. G. (2007). Selecting economic stream immigrants through points systems. http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?id=602.

  17. People’s Daily (2002). Shanghai simplifies passport application procedure. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200209/03/eng20020903_102522.shtml.

  18. People’s Daily (2003). Simplifying Exit–Entry Procedures, A Vital Step for China. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200111/23/eng20011123_85161.shtml

  19. Population Division Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations (2002). International Migration: Explicit Policies, Uncertain Consequences, UN/POP/MIG/2002/BP/2, New York.

  20. Skeldon, R. (2008). Migration and development. Bangkok, Thailand: UN Expert Group Meeting on International Migration and Development in Asia and the Pacific held from 20 to 21 September 2008.

  21. Song, Q. (2006). On the social integrative process of German migrants. Journal of Germany Study, 78(2), 43–47.

    Google Scholar 

  22. United Nation High Commission Refugee (2007). Vietnamese refugees well settled in China, await citizenship. http://www.unhcr.org/news/NEWS/464302994.html.

  23. Wong, L. (1996). Chinese migration legislation and international norms (Zhongguo Yiming Lifa Yu Guoji Guanli). Journal of Hangzhou University (Social Science Version), 26(2), 25–29.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Wong, L. (2001). International immigration law and the practices (Guoji Yiminfa Lilun Yu Shijian). Biejing: Law.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Xiang, D. (1998). The guide to the law of entry and exit in china and foreign countries (Zhongwai Churujing Falv Zhinan). Beijing: China University of People’s Public Security Press.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Xinhua News Agency (2003). Extension: Residents in Four Districts of Hainan Province May Apply for `a Passport More Simply (Fanwei Kuoda: Hainan Si Diqu Ke Jianhua Shenling Chuguo Huzhao Shouxu). http://news.21cn.com/domestic/guoshi/2003/10/21/1309848.shtml.

  27. Xinhua News Agency (2006). China passes passport law. http://english.gov.cn/2006-04/29/content_271127.htm.

  28. Xinhua News Agency (2002). Citizens may exit abroad for private purpose easier and faster (Woguo Gongmin Yinsi Chuguo Gengjia Bianjie). http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2002-08/29/content_543014.htm.

  29. Yu, H., & Gong, Y. (1997). The legal study on exit, entry and international trade (Churu Jing Yu Guoji Jingmao Falv Wenti Yanjiu). Chongqing: Xinan Normal University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Guofu Liu.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Liu, G. Changing Chinese Migration Law: From Restriction to Relaxation. Int. Migration & Integration 10, 311–333 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-009-0105-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • China
  • Migration law
  • Historical development
  • Reform
  • Restriction and relaxation

Mots clés

  • Chine
  • loi en matière d’immigration
  • développement historique
  • réforme
  • restriction
  • relâchement