China grants permanent citizenship to 1570 foreigners in 2016?


World, Neighbours

About 1,576 foreigners became permanent Chinese residents in 2016, an increase of 163 per cent on the 2015.

Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: AP)

Beijing: China on Sunday said it is opening up more to foreigners and granted permanent citizenship to over 1,570 foreigners in 2016, a 163 per cent increase compared to 2015, the highest in its history.

About 1,576 foreigners became permanent Chinese residents in 2016, an increase of 163 per cent on the 2015, China's Ministry of Public Security said.

China has made huge progress in easing its residence and entry policies for foreigners since September 2015, which has helped attract more talent from overseas as well as boost international exchanges and the economy, the ministry statement said.

The timing of the release of the figures of granting permanent citizenship to foreigners, which is also the highest in the history of the Communist nation, coincides with concerns over US President Donald Trump trying to clamp severe restrictions over entry of immigrants and foreigners specially from seven Muslim-majority countries.

China is also welcoming foreign experts as it is investing billions of dollars in high-technology.

Foreigners with permanent residence will enjoy the same rights as Chinese citizens such as in investment, housing purchases and schooling, among other rights, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

One year after new measures were implemented, Shanghai saw an year-on-year increase of six times over the number of permanent residence applications from foreigners and their families.

The number of such applications in Beijing in 2016 increased 426 per cent from that of 2015.

Foreigners made over 56.5 million trips to China 2016, up 8.9 per cent from 2015, the report said.

At present, 15 Chinese cities allow a 72-hour visa-free entry for nationals of certain countries.

Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang offer 144-hour visa-free stays for international transit passengers from certain countries.