文字实录 · Transcript
Starting on May 15, the Beijing police will serve in a 100-day campaign to crackdown on foreigners who live, work and travel in China illegally. That's according to the Beijing Public Security Bureau. Media report that officials in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, and Yanbian in Jilin province, are rolling out similar actions. Are these actions isolated moves or rooted in a deeper social, cultural and legislative context? Let's hear what people say first.
Respondent: I just heard that they check better passport and visa (of) foreign people on the streets. I've been living in Beijing (for) two weeks, and my mother and father already told me to go to the police (to complete all my paperwork).
Reporter: Has the action affected your life in any way?
Respondent: I don't think, really. Because I'm a student, I spend all my time at my school, and I don't go a lot of times out of the school.
Respondent: No, I haven't seen anything yet. Actually, I do carry my passport. I didn't use to do that, but now I actually do.
Respondent: It doesn't influence (me) in any way. I think I always bring my documents with me.
Respondent: First, I have to register with the police to tell exactly where I'm living. And if I leave the place I'm living at, I have to tell the police and notify them where I'm going to be staying.
Reporter: What do you think about their action?
Respondent: I don't really understand why (they're doing it) now. It's more severe than before.
Respondent: I think it's a very difficult condition. I'm in my second year in China, but they never asked me about my papers, and sometimes it's so difficult to bring your papers with you, because you'll forget it.
Respondent: I think it's pretty normal, because in my country in France, police also check immigrants' papers. I don't see police much in China. Usually in France, we have a lot of police everywhere, but in here, I don't see so much.
Respondent: I think it's OK if it's not too much, all the time on the corner of the street. I think (it's OK).
Respondent: I think it's the right thing to do. I totally agree with it.
Respondent: I think it's a bit excessive, maybe, to blame all the foreigners for the action of one person. Tracking down all the foreigners for the action of one person just seems not fair.
Reporter: What do you think to be the reason behind it?
Respondent: I have no idea. There are different rumors on it, but as far as I read, it's just (that) the officials want to check the documents and really want to bring down illegal immigration.
Respondent: I guess it (is related to) this recent event of this British guy trying to rape a girl on the street, and now they just want to check better about foreigners coming in China.
Reporter: What do you think about the action?
Respondent: I support the action.
Respondent: I think it's good that foreigners live in China, but some people's visas might have expired. If there is no regulation, they might do something against China's laws, they might not even be aware of, but they would harm us.
Respondent: I think foreigners in China are just ordinary people. We should treat them just as regular people as we are.
Respondent: I think every country is legitimized to have certain regulations on its foreign population.
Reporter: What do you think to be the reason behind the action?
Respondent: I think it comes from our social anxiety. There are so many things happening in the society. Some illegal immigrants don't have stable income and jobs. Some ended up disturbing our social order, so I support the action.
Respondent: Talking about the rape of a Chinese woman in Xuanwumen area, let's not see it as something done by a foreigner. It's actually an ordinary case. Many Chinese feel outraged, but I don't think they were furious with what foreigners did to Chinese but were disappointed in the government. They feel Chinese citizens don't enjoy as much privilege as foreigners.
Respondent: I think that incident is a trigger. It makes people more aware of issues of some foreigners staying in China illegally or violating Chinese laws.
Respondent: I think it's linked to the international environment. For example, some people might be spies.
Reporter: What is your impression of foreigners living in Beijing?
Respondent: In general, I think the foreigners I know are OK. I think the foreigners I know are OK.
Respondent: Most of the foreigners I meet are actually quite friendly.
Respondent: They vary. Most of them are good, but some might have been hooligans even before they came to China.
From the street interviews, we found many people mentioned one incident when asked what they think to be the reason behind police's crackdown. A recap of the event might give you more ideas.
According to China Daily reports, a British tourist was suspected of sexually assaulting a Chinese woman on Xuanwumen Dajie in Beijing at about 11 pm on May 8. The man's actions were caught on video and then posted online. The video shows the woman crying out in distress and saying she doesn't know the foreign man. A few Chinese men came to the woman's aid after they heard her calls. They beat the British tourist, who was then lying in the middle of the road. Millions of people watched the video, and tens of thousands have expressed their outrage online.
A week later, the Beijing police issued the 100-day campaign to check passports and accommodation registration in areas where foreigners gather in Beijing. The interval between the two events was so short that many couldn't help think one caused the other.
But China Daily reported that the police denied that idea and said the crackdown only aims at tackling the illegal employment of foreigners, overstaying and illegal entry. After all, the police said the suspected British man involved in the incident does have a valid visa. But why start the crackdown now? How serious is the problem of illegal immigrants in China? Let's look at some numbers.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, foreign visitors made about 54 million trips to the Chinese mainland in 2011. They came to China for various purposes like tourism, business and conference, employment, study and reuniting with friends and families. Beijing alone hosts an average of 200,000 foreigners per day. That's according to the city police.
The 10 countries that sent the most visitors to China in 2011 were: the Republic of Korea, Japan, Russia, the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Mongolia, the Philippines and Canada. China's latest census shows the top 10 Chinese regions that receive most foreign residents are: Guangdong province, Shanghai municipality, Beijing municipality, Jiangsu province, Fujian province, Yunnan province, Zhejiang province, Shandong province, Liaoning province and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
1980年外国人入境74万人次，这个数字到2011年增长了近36倍达到2700多万人次。1980年，在华居住超过六个月的外国人有近2万人, 到2011年增长到60多万, 增长了大约30倍。这些常住居民主要为三资企业工作人员、留学生、教师、外企驻华机构代表及其亲属。截至2011年底，约有4700个外国人获得中国永久居住权。
About 740,000 foreigners entered China in 1980; the number grew 36 times that – to over 27 million – in 2011. In 1980, there were 20,000 foreigners that lived in China for more than six months. That number went up to 600,000 in 2011, representing a 30-time increase. These long-term residents were mainly employees of foreign-funded enterprises, students, teachers, and representatives of foreign companies as well as their relatives. As of the end of 2011, about 4,700 foreign residents held China's permanent residence.
Chinese police dealt with 10,000 foreigners living, working and travelling illegally in 1995. That number doubled in 2011.The ministry reported most illegal immigrants who outstayed their visas in China were not aware of China's law. Those who entered illegally mainly came from neighboring countries. And those who took jobs illegally were mainly working as teachers, performers or housekeepers.
While these numbers seem to show China is getting more and more popular as a destination for international migration, the United Nations Population Division presents a bigger picture.
As of 2009, international migrants were still concentrated in a limited number of countries in Europe, North America and Australia. Migrants in these countries took up 7 to 20 percent of their total population, whereas China's migrants account for less than 0.1 percent.
While the number of China's foreign visitors and residents is growing significantly, China's current law on exit and entry, which was passed in 1985, seems quite outdated. Because of this, the State Council submitted a draft law to the National People's Congress for its first hearing in December 2011. The NPC just had its second hearing this April.
Lawmakers added a number of items in the draft. For example, foreigners entering China are required to provide their biometric data. They need to get a residence permit if staying in China for longer than 180 days. The draft law made specific regulations on the "three illegals", referring to those who live, work and travel in China illegally.
Lawmakers also added "green cards", or provisions for permanent residence, to the statue by specifying the criteria one has to meet. We've looked at foreign visitors in China from social, historical and legal perspectives. But what do all these numbers mean? Are foreigners willing to risk illegal residence in China to pursue job and business opportunities? And, if so, is that a symbol of China's rise as a land of opportunity? We called Liu Guofu from our studio. He is a scholar on immigration law and took part in the NPC's legislation process as a consultant.
Feng Xin: Mr Liu, I heard a view that the growing number of incidents involving illegal immigrants can partly be seen as a symbol of China's rise as a land of opportunity.What's your opinion?
I think it's only half correct. Foreigners definitely come to China because there are a lot of opportunities here. That's one side of the story. As the base number of immigrants increases, the chances of problems grow, too. So does the problem of illegal immigrants. But what's more important, as far as I see it, is that our administration of foreigners is inadequate. What I mean is that the increase of foreigners doesn't necessarily result in "three illegals".
Feng Xin: What do you mean by "inadequate"?
Liu Guofu: Let's say illegal entry. Why are there so many cases? It might be due to our border inspection. Also, why do some dare to stay in China illegally? Don't they know when their visas will expire? If they know and still dare to challenge the law, what does this imply? It implies there are problems with our administration. In other words, the punishment might not be severe enough or the inspection is incomplete. And therefore, some think they can get away.
Feng Xin: In your opinion, how has China's policy on foreigners changed over the last 10 years?
Liu Guofu: Generally speaking, the government has been continuously relaxing its policies. In 2008, there was a visa program for attracting foreigners with special talents. It was led by the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It offers a lot of special treatment to foreigners with talent, like the convenience of leaving the country, permanently staying in the country and even acquiring Chinese citizenship.
In 2004, officials passed the Measures for the Administration of Examination and Approval of Foreigners' Permanent Residence in China. Then there are also crackdowns on the "three illegals". Guangdong and Zhejiang province both did that before. So did Beijing.
Feng Xin: In your opinion, where will China's policies on foreigners head to in the future?
Liu Guofu: The main purpose of immigration law is to welcome those who can make contributions to a host country. If you can make contributions to our country, we will welcome you. If you can't, and even do us harm, we will stop you from coming. That's it. People can flow to the Chinese mainland as well as to Japan and Taiwan.
Also, countries compete with each other on receiving immigrants. It's a changing and evolving issue. It's flexible and competitive. We can't simply make it easier or harder for people to come. Can we create an elaborate system of laws to attract those we need, those who can make contributions to our economic development as well as to stop those who are not welcome from coming? That should be the principle of immigration law.
Feng Xin: Well, from the police's action on the "three illegals", we see a deeper question, which is how China should treat its foreign population. What do you think?
Liu Guofu: The international flow of population has its own rules. The more developed a country is, the more frequently its population flows and the higher percentage of its population foreigners take up. In developed regions, the percentage usually reaches 10% to 15%. Some regions in northern Europe even reach 20%. But Beijing hasn't even reached 1%, which is far from developed countries. So, there are certain rules.
The law is to help a country adjust its policies to best follow the rules. If people want to come to China, we can't simply reject them. We can't go against the pattern of international migration. For those who should be welcomed, we should offer them more opportunities, but for those who shouldn't, we must strictly control their arrival.
To measure the degree of a country's modernization and globalization, there are many indicators. International migration is one of them. International migration is the flow of people. The flow of people will energize a society. It injects new capital, technology and ideas into a society. It stimulates old technology, capital and ideas. When they collide, there will be new things created. If a region is only inhabited by its indigenous residents, it must be conservative and underdeveloped.