HC Deb 10 June 1953 vol 516 cc214-6
35. Mr. Ian Winterbottom

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that according to the new electoral law of China the overseas Chinese have been given the right to elect 30 members of the All China Peoples' Congress; and whether Colonial Governments will make it clear to Chinese residents that participation in these elections will automatically disqualify them for all citizenship rights in British territories.

Mr. Lyttelton

The new electoral law of China to which the hon. Member refers provides for the holding of separate elections by the overseas Chinese for the All China Peoples' Congress. The regulations governing these elections are to be enacted separately and I am not aware that they have yet been promulgated. The holding of Chinese elections outside China is not a new idea. The Chinese Nationalist Government proposed in 1947 to hold such elections in British territories but the proposal appears to have been dropped.

Participation in the election under the Chinese electoral law will not, under the British Nationality Act, 1948, which is in operation in the Colonies, automatically disqualify Chinese residents for citizenship in the United Kingdom and Colonies.

Mr. Winterbottom

Will the Secretary of State agree, however, that the Chinese in Malaya should make up their minds where their loyalty lies, and that this is perhaps an opportunity for the Secretary of State to help them to make up their minds on the subject?

Mr. Lyttelton

In the last year the Chinese in Malaya have made up their minds in overwhelming numbers to which side they belong.

Mr. S. Sirverman

When the right hon. Gentleman says that to take part in the Chinese elections in this way would not automatically disqualify the Chinese, is it clear that he is referring to a subsequent application to be a British subject, or does he mean it is possible for a man to be a British subject and still take part in the political election of a foreign Government?

Mr. Lyttelton

I was merely giving advice on what I believe to be the legal position, which is that participation in the elections would not disqualify a Chinese resident from citizenship.

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