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A Facebook friend, who was born and raised in the US, has become the first person to be granted citizenship in the country.
A group of parents with a combined US-China citizenship have announced that their son, Chen, has been granted citizenship.
Chen has been living in the UK since his birth, where he was born.
Chen was born in the city of Beijing in 1991.
Chen’s father, Liu, who is the deputy director of the Chinese National Academy of Sciences, has since passed away, but his daughter, Chen Wei, and her parents have maintained his citizenship.
The parents are members of the National People’s Congress (NPC), a government body.
“I am grateful to our parents and our relatives for all the sacrifices that they have made for our son and to all the Chinese people for their support,” Chen Wei told Al Jazeera.
Chen and his father had a long and complicated road to become citizens, but they are now officially recognised by China.
They have been living here since Chen’s birth, in the Chinese city of Shenzhen.
In 2011, they married and moved to London, where Chen was educated and grew up.
The couple had been living together for the past 10 years, but Chen’s mother died in January this year, and he was forced to leave her.
Chen Wei was born to a family of four, with two siblings and a sister-in-law.
Chen became interested in politics after attending the University of London and then the National Cheng Kung University, before deciding to study international relations at the University for International Studies (NUS).
He is now the deputy editor of a website called China.org, which is an organisation promoting Chinese culture and history.
Chen is currently in China and will spend his first few months in Hong Kong studying at a college in Hong Li, an international university in Hong Kowloon, which has been set up by the NPC and run by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Chen has also been given a US passport and a Hong Kong visa, which means he is now free to work and study in the United States.
The news has shocked the Chinese community.
Chen, who studied English at the NUS and worked for the NCA as a researcher and editor, has also received support from a range of Chinese human rights organisations, including the China Human Rights Foundation (CHRF), which has helped Chen raise awareness of human rights violations in China.
“Chen’s father has now passed away and his parents are now struggling to find the money to pay for his education, which will take up most of his time,” CHRF said in a statement.
Chen will now be able to move back to his family in Shenzhen, where his father is living.
The US consulate in Hong Lim has confirmed Chen is an American citizen.
“We have made this announcement as a courtesy to Chen Wei and his family, as we know that they need to be supported in their decision to become US citizens,” said US Consul General Mark Zeng in a written statement.
CHRF has long campaigned against Chinese human-rights violations in the region.
“It is important to note that Chen Wei has been denied full citizenship in China, and has been forced to live in Hong Kok, a US-designated territory in the Philippines,” CHNF director Rachael Chiang told Al-Jazeera.
“China has never recognized Chen’s citizenship in a country, even though his father’s parents have been granted full citizenship.
It is unconscionable that the US government is refusing to recognize Chen Wei’s citizenship, when he has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about China’s human rights abuses.”
A statement issued by the Chinese Consulate General in the Netherlands said Chen’s family will be notified by the consulate, but declined to elaborate.
Chen previously worked for a Chinese media company, the Beijing News Agency.
The BBC’s Christian Fraser reported from Beijing.