Chinese web users debate whether joining the U.S. is so great anymore.
A woman reads a pamphlet prior to being naturalized as a U.S. citizen / Reuters
Shortly after I left China to return to the U.S., a friend from Beijing wrote to urge my return. "Come back to China," she said, "The U.S. is no place to look for work. It's like a third world country now, we hear."
This view is a relatively new and unusual one in China. Some immigrants to the U.S. have gone so far as to claim that they practiced Falun Gong, whose members are officially branded as cultists in China and sometimes tortured, in order to claim political asylum in the U.S.. American citizenship, in other words, has typically been considered to be a big deal.
Now, with the U.S. stalled and unemployment high, while the Chinese economy flourishes, maybe that perception is changing. Spanning nearly 1.5 million micro-blogs on Sina Weibo, Chinese users yesterday discussed the hash-tag: #Is American citizenship no longer desirable?#
The associated Sina News article argued that, in San Diego, according to the immigrant advocacy group Naturalization Collaborative, some 150,000 immigrants eligible for citizenship had not applied for U.S. nationality. Around a third of the million Chinese residents in the United States are not U.S. citizens, according to U.S. Federal Census Bureau statistics published in the article.