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British Citizenship

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 14 November 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, having regard to the Chinese Nationality Law promulgated by the chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress on 10 September 1980 and the clarifications concerning implementation of Chinese Nationality Law in Hong Kong, adopted on 15 May 1996, a person who is a British National (Overseas) and is of Chinese ethnicity or race would be entitled to registration under Section 1 of the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997 under the following circumstances (a) he was born in Hong Kong; (b) he does not satisfy the criteria to be a Chinese national set out in Article 4 or 6 of the Chinese Nationality Law because (i) neither of his parents has ever held Chinese nationality, and (ii) neither of his parents was stateless; (c) he has never been naturalised as a Chinese citizen; (d) he is ordinarily resident in Hong Kong at the time of the application for registration; (e) immediately before 4 February 1997 he (i) was ordinarily resident in Hong Kong; (ii) was a British Dependent Territories citizen by virtue only of his having a connection with Hong Kong (within the meaning given by the schedule to the 1997 Act); and (iii) held no other nationality other than British National (Overseas); (f) since 4 February 1997 he has held no nationality or citizenship other than as set out above; and (g) he satisfies the requirements of Section 58 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. [HL99]

The person in this example would qualify for registration under Section 1 of the 1997 Act if he or she was not a Chinese national. However, paragraph 1 of the document entitled Explanations of some questions by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress concerning the implementation of the Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, adopted on 15 May 1996, indicated that, apart from the criteria laid down in the Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China for acquiring Chinese nationality, a Hong Kong resident would be a Chinese national if he or she was of Chinese descent and was born in Hong Kong.

Any person who, immediately before 4 February 1997, was a Chinese national, whether by virtue of the Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China or otherwise, would not be entitled to registration under Section 1 of the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997.