BEIJING BAIRUI (SHANGHAI) LAW FIRM
chinalawtax.com
Call Us: (+86) 157-2157-1627 | About Us| Contact Us| 中文|
Live in China
Live in China
Living in China is a totally new experience. This country has so much to offer for you to explore and feel. But the legal and cultural environments may be a great contrast to your home country. If you are going to stay in China for a long time, you need to have a personal lawyer at your service.

We offer clients from all around the world services from daily encountered petty disputes (should be in the city where our firm has branch offices) to big issues like criminal charges and personal injury incidents.

Should you are in trouble, you can contact us directly. If we happen to be not good at your issues, we will recommend other lawyers to you free of charge.

The services we offer include but is not limited to:

1. Car accident
2. Drunk driving
3. Drug related crimes (advise you not to touch drugs in China)
4. Personal injury (injury and death)
5. Sex related issues
6. Lease agreement disputes
7. Property disputes
8. Marriage
9. Divorce
10. Domestic violence
11. Negotiation with counterparties
12. Personal legal consultant
13. Others


Our aim is to make sure that you enjoy a legal, safe and unforgettable experience in this dynamic country.

Basic Knowledge Helpful to Your Living in China

Marriage


China implemented monogamy since its founding in 1949; one may only have one spouse. To make the marriage recognized by the Chinese law, the couple must register the marriage with the government. Otherwise, the “marriage” does not have any legal effect.

If a foreigner is going to marry a Chinese, he/she has two choices, either register the marriage in China, or obtain a certificate that recognizes the marriage in that foreigner’s home country.

But if you are going to stay with your spouse in China, the advice given to you is to register the marriage in China.

Divorce

There are two ways to divorce in China, mutual agreement and lawsuit. If the couple reached a written agreement on how to deal with their kids and property, the couple can go to the governmental office to register a divorce. Once registered, the marriage will be deemed terminated legally.

However, if the couple is disputed on kids and property, divorce can only be reached in a lawsuit.

According to the laws, any property that is accrued in the course of marriage will be deemed common/mutual property, and will be split evenly; the liabilities (debts) apply the same principle. But if the divorce is led to due to one party’s fault, the share of property awarded by court will be adjusted accordingly based on their fault.

As for the debt, if it is incurred by one spouse and is in a big amount, and that it is not acknowledged to the other spouse, such debt will NOT be considered family debts, thus will not be required to pay by the other spouse.
The kid is usually awarded to the party that can offer the kids the best growth conditions (salary, work, social status, etc.), unless this party has some extreme circumstances, such as using drugs, child abuse, contagious diseases, etc..
There are also two basic rules on child in a divorce. If the child still needs breast milk of her natural mother, the kid is normally awarded to her mother, and that if the child is over 10 years old, the court will usually respect the child’s opinions regarding which party she is going to live with.

Permanent Residence Permit (Chinese Green Card)

Since its introduction in the early 2000s, the so called green card has been a hot topic. Basically, once you have a green card, you become a de-facto Chinese citizen, because you enjoy nearly all rights that a Chinese citizen could have.

But unfortunately, only several thousand foreigners are qualified to get this card.

The criteria for applying this card is very demanding.

Let’s take a look if you are qualified (relatively easier if you have investment in China).

According to the relevant laws, the conditions set by the Chinese government are as follows (please refer to Regulation on Approval for the Permanent Residence for Foreigners):

Article 6 Aliens applying for permanent residence in China shall abide by Chinese laws, be in good health, have no criminal record and meet one of the following requirements:

(1) Stable direct investment in China for three consecutive years and good tax record;
(2) Having held the post of deputy general manager, deputy factory director or above in China, or having the title of associate professor, associate researcher or above and enjoying the same treatment, having been in China for four consecutive years or more and having a good tax record for not less than three years in total;
(3) Having made significant and outstanding contributions to China and special needs of the state;
(4) The spouses of the persons referred to in items 1, 2 and 3 of this paragraph and their unmarried children under the age of 18;
(5) The spouse of a Chinese citizen or an alien who has obtained the qualification of permanent residence in China, whose marriage relationship has lasted for at least five years, who has resided in China for at least five consecutive years, who has resided in China for at least nine months each year, and who has stable life security and residence;
(6) Unmarried children under the age of 18 who have joined their parents;
(7) Those who do not have close family members abroad, who have joined their close family members in China, who have reached the age of 60, have resided in China for five consecutive years, have resided in China for at least nine months each year, and have stable living security and residence. The term referred to in this article refers to the consecutive term before the date of application.

Article 7 The registered capital actually paid up by a foreigner referred to in article 6 shall meet one of the following conditions:

(1) The total amount of investment in the industries encouraged in the catalogue for the guidance of foreign investment industries promulgated by the state is more than 500000 US dollars;
(2) Investing more than half a million US dollars in the western regions of China and the key counties for poverty alleviation and development;
(3) Investing more than US $1 million in Central China;
(4) The total investment in China is more than US $2 million.

Article 8 For foreigners referred to in item 2, paragraph 1, article 6 of these measures, their employment units shall meet one of the following conditions:

(1) The departments under the State Council or the institutions subordinate to the people's governments at the provincial level;
(2) Key institutions of higher learning;
(3) Enterprises and institutions that carry out key state projects or major scientific research projects;
(4) High and new technology enterprises, encouraged foreign-invested enterprises, foreign-invested advanced technology enterprises or foreign-invested product export enterprises.

You can contact the related government department for detailed information, or contact us for recommendations on the agencies that specialize in this service.

Nationality

China does not recognize dual citizenship. One must renounce one’s nationality before applying to obtain a Chinese nationality.

According to the Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China, foreigners or stateless persons who are willing to abide by the Constitution and laws of China and meet one of the following conditions may apply to obtain Chinese Nationality:

1. Close relatives of the Chinese;
2. Those who have settled in China;
3. Other legitimate reasons.

For the babies that were born in China, they can obtain Chinese nationality under one of the following circumstances:

1. Both or one of the parents is a Chinese citizen, and the baby was born in China;
2. If both or one of the parents is a Chinese citizen, but the baby was born in a foreign country, the baby will have Chinese nationality; however, if both or one of the parents are living permanently in a foreign country and according to the laws of that country, the baby has obtained a foreign nationality at the time of birth, the baby will not have the Chinese nationality;
3. If the parents are stateless or that their nationality cannot be identified, but they are domiciled in China.

The main difference between a Chinese Green Card and a Chinese Nationality may be that a Green Card can be taken back by the government if the card holder violates some laws grossly.

Individual Income Tax

The foreigners working and/or living in China are subject to nearly the same individual income tax rights and obligations as Chinese before the new Individual Income Tax Law came into effect in 2019.

Since the beginning of 2019, foreigners in China will pay individual income tax differently from Chinese.

The differences between the two are very complex, but the main difference is only about the deductions. For example, for a Chinese taxpayer the expenses on baby feeding (1000 per month), expenses on supporting old parents (1200 month maximum), etc. can be deducted from its salaries, while foreign taxpayers do not have this rights.

However, foreign taxpayers also have deductions that a Chinese taxpayers do not have, such as language learning expenses, renting expenses, expenses on air or train tickets to his home country, meal allowances, etc.

For the above considerations, tax planning can be designed by employers if they intend to grant its employees some benefits out of the salaries.

Social Security (insurance)

The so called “Social Security” actually refers to the five types of social insurance. They are: Social Endowment Insurance for retirement, Social Medical Insurance for health and disease, Social Work-related Injury Insurance for work related injuries (including occupational diseases), Social Maternity Insurance for maternity, and Social Unemployment Insurance for dismissal.

Together the above social premiums payable by EMPLOYERs accounts for around 25% of the employee’s salary.

According to the relevant laws, employer MUST pay social insurance fees for employees, no matter whether the employees have sign a written waiver or not. In legal practice, the court will NOT admit the validity of such a waiver.

Something You Should NOT DO in China

First and most important, do NOT use or touch drugs! Drug-related crimes can be prosecuted with very harsh punishment, with death penalty the most severe one. Marijuana is legal in some countries, but it is strictly forbidden in China. Smoking, selling, taking, transporting, storing, owning drugs are all illegal and will face criminal charges.

Soliciting prostitutes is also illegal, but not a crime. One may face monetary punishment or administrative confinement (up to 15 days) if is established to commit this offense. But having sex with young girls under the age of 14 is a crime, and will face rape charges, no matter whether one has knowledge about the girl’s age or not.

Bigamy is a criminal offense. According to the Criminal Law, if one evidently knows that the other one is married, yet chooses to live with that married man/woman, both of them may face criminal charges. In legal practice, it is difficult to establish a bigamy offense, because some critical conditions must be met. But if enough evidence is presented to the court, such a charge can still be possibly established.

Drunk driving is illegal and may face criminal charges. Drunk driving is illegal, and if one is tested to be driving drunk, one will face criminal charges. If car accident occurs or people are hurt or killed in drunk driving, such a drunk driving can also constitute another offense “endangering public security by hazardous actions”, which is punishable by death penalty.