The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) in South Korea plans to simplify the process of naturalization for children of foreign permanent residents to solve a persistent decline in population growth.
A MOJ database indicates that 95 percent of the people who benefit from this review are Chinese citizens. Many Koreans are concerned about the political motivations behind this revision, as it seems to favor the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Recently, more than 300,000 Korean citizens filed a petition with The Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae) opposing the measure.
Recent disputes between Korea and China include the origins of Korean kimchi, antique clothing and historical figures; the cancellation of the Australian SMT television series “Joseon Exorcist”, which is accused of distorting history; and projects including luxury hotels serving only Chinese tourists and the establishment of a Chinatown in Gangwon Province.
On 28 April, the MOJ plans to introduce a ‘simple policy for acquiring nationality’ in the proposed revision. Children older than 7 can apply for naturalization if they have lived in the country for five or more years, and children younger than 6 can do the same, but without any requirements.
It is also emphasized that children of permanent residents, where more than two generations of their family were born in Korea, or foreigners who have intimate ties over bloodlines or history, will be given preference.
Holders of Chinese nationality benefit most from it. According to the MOJ, 3,930 children will be immediately eligible to naturalize after this review. Nearly 95 percent of them are Chinese, followed by Taiwanese (5.11 percent) and Russians (0.1 percent). In addition, it is expected that 700 citizens will also receive citizenship.
Concerns about foreign infiltration and electoral fraud have led to 317,000 Koreans signing a national petition in opposition to the measure.
One of the petitions states that ‘it is absurd to resolve the issue of low birth rate and aging population by revising the Nationality Act’, adding that ‘foreigners can buy real estate more easily than Koreans, and they can make elections and enjoy other benefits. while the government ignores the demands of its citizens. ”
“Koreans should protect and uphold our patriotism and national pride against the intrusion of foreign propaganda.”
Many Koreans supported the statement and called on the Korean government to ‘stop selling our land to the CCP’.
Trial accused of ignoring public opinion
On May 26, the MOJ held an online public hearing on the proposed review.
In response, Ahn Cheol-soo, a representative of the People’s Party, noted on Facebook on May 28 that the biggest mistake with the review was that the people who benefit from it are mainly those of Chinese nationality.
‘It [proposed measure] offers Chinese citizens benefits by making changes, ”he wrote. ‘Is the government really thinking about the future of our Republic of Korea? I hope the government will listen to the voice of the people. ”
At a May 28 press conference, the MOJ denied that the bill had been amended to the benefit of Chinese citizens.
The MOJ maintains that although foreigners are granted citizenship, they will also have corresponding responsibilities, such as taxation and military service. Moreover, these proposed measures will not change the “jus sanguinis” – the basis of the Nationality Act – which refers to the idea that citizenship is determined or obtained by the nationality of one or both parents.