Sunday, August 14, 2011

President's Scholarship: The case of "dual citizen" Miss Xiao

Letter to Forum page Editor
Latest (18.8.11)(Letter not published but clarification by editor appended below)

14 August 2011

Dear Editor,

I read the media report ( about our latest batch of President’s Scholars with interest as it is likely that these scholars will be Singapore’s future leaders in politics and other fields. I like to congratulate these four outstanding young people.

Most Singaporeans agree with the ethos that to continue to punch above our weight in the world arena, infusion of our talent pool with immigrants is one of measures that are needed with the caveat that these new citizens must be willing and able to integrate and be one of us.

Many are still skeptical as we know of many immigrants who profess love and loyalty towards Singapore only to ultimately migrate to other countries after using us as a “stepping-stone”.

Hence the selection of 19-year-old Xiao Yifei (mentioned by the media as having “dual citizenship”) is very intriguing as it raises several questions as this information does not square with many known immigration policies and scholarship criteria that are generally known.

1. Issue of dual citizenship
It is generally known that Singapore does not recognize dual citizenship. Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA)’s website(link: is silent on dual citizenship although the website of US Embassy in Singapore (link: states “Singapore does not recognize dual nationality beyond the age of 21.” implying that Singapore recognizes minors who are dual citizens until they have the opportunity to renounce one of the nationalities.   

China also does not recognize this entity and it is stated in certain websites that when a Chinese citizen takes a foreign citizenship, he will automatically lose his Chinese citizenship. (

2. Issue of scholarship criteria
In Singapore’s Public Service Commission’s (PSC) website, in the FAQ page on “What are the eligibility criteria for the Overseas Merit Scholarship, the Local-Overseas Merit Scholarship and the Singapore Government Scholarship (Open)?”

One of the answers was “Be a Singapore citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident who will take up Singapore citizenship before leaving for studies”.

I was unable to find the criteria for the President’s Scholarship but I assume that they are not too dissimilar as Singapore’s most prestigious scholarship is generally given in conjunction with the above scholarships or the SAF Scholarships.

Can the ICA or the PSC comment on the following?:

1.Is Miss Xiao a Singapore Permanent Resident or a Singapore citizen?

2.If she is indeed a citizen of both Singapore and China, has she had the opportunity to renounce her Chinese citizenship and why has she not done so?

3.Will she only leave for her studies after becoming a Singapore citizen (if she is not already one)?

I hope that the relevant authorities will clarify the situation quickly so that all doubts about the integrity of our publicly funded scholarships will be removed expeditiously so that Singaporeans can be assured that these are given only to properly vetted young people who will be an asset to all of us for the long term.  

Very sincerely yours,

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan
18.8.11 (Latest-clarification by newspaper editor) 
Dear Dr Huang,

Further to my first email, I wanted to also respond to your contribution on this other topic.

You are right that dual citizenship is disallowed. That is why a minor who becomes a citizen by descent shall cease to be a citizen at the age of 22 unless, at the age of 21, he or she divests any foreign citizenship or nationality and takes the Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty.

I checked with our reporter who did the story and learned that the scholar’s parents are Singaporeans and that she is not 21 years old yet.

I hope that helps.

TODAY, MediaCorp Press


JeffGoh said...

By any chance anybody knows which part of China she is from? What’s her background?; an ordinary Chinese citizen, or perhaps daughter of some official.

nofearSingapore said...

Hi Jeff:
More likely she is not of blue blood. The Chinese are very sensitive of their blue blood ( i.e. princelings - children of powerful officials) leaving the motherland.These blue-blood if they do migrate would be to USA/UK etc.
Their blue blood don't need our help to get scholarships etc. If they don't get into Beida/ Fudan etc, they will just walk into Harvard or Yale.
Dr Huang

Anonymous said...

>>By any chance anybody knows which part of China she is from?

Er...i thought ST (if i remembered correctly) reported the family from Wuhan, both parents engineers & she got a younger brother

Anonymous said...

Surprising i'm not able to locate the ST's version...the other newspaper exclude details on her family...

auntielucia said...

I caught that part of the news too and sat up thinking: oh, now Sg allows dual citizenship which is good for Sgporeans wanting to go that way. But I think ST report states flatly she's Sgporean.

Anonymous said...

well ask question dr. but now govt say ppl can go to gp to see them no need go polyclinic but the family income must be $1500 and below. please ask govt to raise to $2500

Anonymous said...

2.If she is indeed a citizen of both Singapore and China, has she had the opportunity to renounce her Chinese citizenship and why has she not done so?

I don’t think she would have had the opportunity as yet, because she has not turned 21 and is thus legally unable to renounce dual-citizenship. This is why she is still a dual-citizen.

3.Will she only leave for her studies after becoming a Singapore citizen (if she is not already one)?

The PSC will not confirm a scholarship award until and unless the scholar becomes a Singapore citizen, so no worries about that.

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