Ask The Yangxifu: When Politics Interfere With Love in China

A girl leaning against a brick wall looking sad and alone
(photo by Cherie Wren)

AK asks:

I am a white 19YO university student living in America, and for one year now I have been in a serious relationship with a PRC national six years older than me. I was already studying Mandarin before I met him and his English is commendable, so communication hasn’t been an issue, and therefore everything between us on a personal level has been ideal. We both feel completely comfortable talking about the future, already assuming we’re working toward marriage after graduation.

However, my parents are none too pleased. They remained generally quiet for the first six months of dating, then all of a sudden began voicing protests. I do my best to ignore their complaints about his age and religion (we’re Christian, he was raised Buddhist), but there is one problem that really puts me between a rock and a hard place.

My father’s job requires him to have a high-level security clearance. Because of this, my parents understandably fear that were I to marry my “Communist” Chinese boyfriend, my father would be forced to quit his job. Even though my boyfriend is not a CCP member, his nationality is all that matters in the clearance. Every time I go home or open an email, I am reminded that I am ruining my family with attacks like:

“Some relationships shouldn’t be allowed to begin in the first place!”

While I do not agree, I can unfortunately understand their extreme hatred of my relationship. My father losing his job is a serious issue; I constantly think of the effect that would have on our finances and my little brother’s chance of going to college. However, I’m seriously in love with my boyfriend, and China in general. The career I’m working towards in school revolves around the country and it’s very likely I will live in mainland China one day.

At this point, I see two possible futures. The first is that I devastate my family by marrying the non-Christian PRC man I love, and am ostracized from my family. I know this is possible because ironically, my mother was ostracized from her own parents for being Christian. The second is that I will be eventually compelled to break up with my boyfriend. If that is that case, I feel bad because I should do it early, shouldn’t I? I don’t want to lead him on and deprive him of the chance to meet someone new and better. I’ll take the heartbreak if it means he can find someone to marry and have a family with.

I hope I am not sounding too dramatic. I have been under this barrage of accusations for half a year now and it is affecting the confidence I have in my relationship. I feel like day by day, I am working toward an unpleasant end.

Have you ever met a couple with political problems like mine? The couples in this site’s stories seem to be free of the grief of government relatives.


I don’t meet many couples with your political problems. But that doesn’t mean you’re the only ones.

Consider what Ericka, the Shandongxifu, wrote back in December:

I finally achieved my dream job after blood sweat and tears to have it taken away from me because of my husband’s citizenship. Even when he does eventually apply for American citizenship, his background and connections in China will always be a red flag.

…Now that I am married to a Chinese national, I have a red flag in my file that may forever keep from getting the security clearance I need to start the career that I want.

In the comments, readers echo that experience, too — some with optimism, some with doubts.

I’m also reminded of that question I answered from a Chinese military man who dreamed of wedding a foreign woman — except, according to Chinese law, he’s barred from such a marriage.

Then there’s the rest of us in Chinese-foreigner cross-cultural relationships. Maybe politics don’t translate into your kind of drama, but that doesn’t mean we’re free and clear — not even John and I. There’s the time John got denied a US tourist visa to come home with me, and then had to stay in Shanghai while I went to that rogue island of Taiwan. We also slogged together through the long and stressful process of getting a green card. Politics even means John can’t have it both ways in citizenship — he can be either a Chinese or a US citizen, but not both.

But look, that’s little comfort to you and the dilemma you face — marry and you get a broken family; don’t marry and you get a broken heart.

Still, I have a feeling that once people read your letter, you’re going to hear about even more couples just like you — and discover you’re a little less alone in your grief.

Good luck, AK.

What do you have to say?


Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China/Chinese culture (or Western culture)? Every Friday, I answer questions on my blog. Send me your question today.

42 Replies to “Ask The Yangxifu: When Politics Interfere With Love in China”

  1. when it happens to an Asian woman from China. i’m sure Nobody would complain about she is a PRC national ,Buddhist or not .
    Hmm, that’s a bit of double standard eh?
    well ,at least her boyfriend is not a Muslim guy from the Mid-east,
    or Africa.that means he has Zero chance in a “white society

    Deutschland 1933 ,here we go

  2. Girl, I suggest you go with your man. First of all, you are likely to spend the rest of your life with him not your parents. Secondly, your parents being wiser and loving, will one day (hopefully) forgive you, especially given that your mum went through the same thing…. Good luck.

  3. Jin Feng, this sounds very idealistic and romantic of course, but AK is also very young and in love, this is her first relationship, she knows the man only for 6 months, how can she be actually sure who he is? She met his parents, do they accept their relationship? Does the guy know what her father’s job is and how their relationship can influence the future of girl’s family? Life is not a bollywood movie (what a pity) where everything can be sacrificed for love, she goes to China (AK, do you really want to? how can you know, have you ever left States?), with time her parents and brother forgive her and they all dance together in the final scene.
    Sorry for being so sceptical, but:
    1. I’ve been in a relationship where my ex was 11 years older than me, I was very young and naive then,
    2. the guy could manipulate me very easily and hiding the truth about himself (he was divorced, with a child and police was searching for him, still I don’t know why, but I’ve learned about this after 6 months of dateing from a police officer),
    3. my parents also experienced communism and although nowadays it might sound unbelievable for people living in democratic countries, they really were spied by their friends and family members in 70′ and 80′
    4. I never had problem with my boyfriend’s family, they like me, but he told me before he introduced me to his parents that if they won’t accept me – we will break up. He knew that they will accept me, but he made the situation clear, that he’d never stand against his parents.

  4. Really hard decision to make.. But did this girl already knew the possible consequences of her relationship in the first place, that her father’s job will be at risk? Did she still start the relationship knowing this? Then she should carry on the relationship in my opinion.

    If she didn’t know, why didn’t her parents tell her earlier and they just remained quiet? The longer time passes, the harder the decision will be..

  5. @orange_rain: She probably knew. For certain positions, they’re pretty clear on family notification. My mother knew from the time she was a very little girl what the rules were with my grandfather’s security clearance (i.e., never never NEVER touch his computer punch cards, don’t be in the same room as his briefcase, etc.). And he just worked for IBM as a computer programmer; he didn’t have anywhere near the type of clearance she’s describing.

    My advice? Life isn’t a rom-com. Unless you can pay for your parents’ house, car, living expenses, etc., don’t. It’s not fair to ruin the lives of people who’ve supported you your entire life.

    Yes, you love him. But you are quite young and this is your first relationship. The odds suggest that it won’t work out in the long run. Yes, you could be an exception to the rule, but when you make decisions, it’s best to assume that you’re just like everyone else.

  6. @Nova: If anything, the government’s slightly more paranoid about men marrying Asian women. There were several cases in both the Canada and the U.S. where the diplomats lost their jobs after marrying Chinese and Russian nationals. It’s been repeatedly upheld by both Canadian and U.S. courts. In the rationale, the judges noted that it was a valid concern because these countries became notorious for marital spying (i.e., sending in a woman to woo a man, marry him, and then get documents out of his briefcase). While this type of spying was mostly used against Germany and Japan in WWII, the governments were afraid it could be used during the Cold War as well. The Cold War may be over now, the culture of governmental paranoia isn’t: these guys still lose their jobs. If you don’t want to claw your eyes out from the boredom of reading court cases, I’d recommend watching the Canadian series Intelligence. There’s a minor story arc addressing this topic, and it seems to be based on the court’s worst-case scenario.

    AFAIK, it’s more an issue for people who work directly for the government than for those who need security clearance to work for subcontractors (e.g., Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas, IBM, etc.). But that may be due to a legal fluke. Because contractors usually force their employees to go through binding arbitration, so the records aren’t public. However, government employees are free to use the courts, so anyone with a Westlaw subscription can see the documents.

  7. My advice would be to stay together but don’t get married for now. I understand that with your Christian background (and his Chinese background) possibly it isn’t considered acceptable to have a long-term relationship without marriage, but it could be a solution that works for everyone. Maybe eventually your parents will get to know him better and be more accepting. Or maybe you will stay in love but unmarried until your father retires.

    To me, it seems unfair to ruin your father’s career over this, but that doesn’t mean you have to break up. I know I’m a bit untraditional, but I don’t see why it has to be a choice between legal marriage and breaking up.

  8. hahahahheheheh hahah LOL , only six months huh? Come on, this is puppy love my dear. Date for another 3 yrs that’s my advice!

  9. Number one, regarding the security clearance…I have a close friend who lived in China for three years and married a Chinese national. Now he is back in the US in a government job, and he holds a Secret level clearance. Of course the fact that he lived, worked, went to school in , married into, and had family in China was plastered all over his security clearance application, but it wasn’t a (major) problem. Now that was a Secret-level clearance. Seems like financial interests and close relationships with government officials in China are the biggest concerns. Top Secret or SCI might be a bigger problem… If you have questions on that front, have the website admin put you in contact with me.
    Of course, it sounds like the security clearance thing might be partly a cover excuse for their real feelings. I myself am an American Christian who married a Chinese Christian. I guess the real question is, are you (and your family) cultural Christians or heart Christians? If you all are cultural Christians, where Christianity is more about a cultural identity and church a few times a year, then marrying someone with a Buddhist background should be no different than marrying anyone from a different country/culture, and can be treated as such. If you are a heart Christian (like my wife and I are), then a faith in Christ is an integral part of your life that affects everything that you believe, do, hold important, etc. In this case, you need to seriously ask yourself if you can share your entire life with a man who does not share what you believe as a core part of your identity. Also ask yourself, what are we going to teach the kids? Believe me, that is a HUGE issue, even with a couple with the same religious beliefs!
    On top of all that, I think the age difference (19 and 25?!) may be seriously freaking out your parents. That’s a huge difference at that age! In the end, I think your best bet is to have him meet your parents; numerous stories where Chinese parents were disapproving of a foreign boyfriend/girlfriend demonstrated that meeting the other person helped dispel a lot of bad feelings.

  10. David L,
    It’s not that big age difference, it depends on the peoples youth of mind.. I met my husband when I was 18 and he was 24, nobody ever had any issue with that. My other friend (19) have been dating 30 yr old man for about a year, that freaks me out a little..

  11. @Kate: for government clearances, a daughter’s marriage to or shacking up with a foreign national is pretty much the same thing…constitutes a “close and continuing foreign contact”

  12. @hanren: not really a fair comparison. The Japanese in WWII had no recent history (only bigotry really) to indicate they would betray the US, and no particular access to US secrets. On the other hand, if you are familiar with the Chinese-US espionage relationship in the past few years, there has been a HUGE problem with Chinese “honeypots” seducing and subsequently stealing secrets from high-level government officials and businessmen from foreign countries. Government paranoia in this case is somewhat justified.

  13. Wow, I thought communism stopped have a meaning in America. I’m surprised that something like that still exists. (Since I come from Russia, it makes me wonder how it affects me now…) Your situation isn’t fair and really there isn’t an easy way out unfortunately. I think you should be with your boyfriend a little longer than a year and see how things will work out. I do feel bad that you’re going through all this though. I wish you the best of luck though.

  14. the US gov is more narrow-minded. Rarely you would see a ccp offical getting trouble after his children or spouse acquired US citizenship

  15. @Nova…Dutschland did not permit pure white German men to marry Jewish women.

    @Barbara…is your bf from China or is he born in the US? As far as spying by neighbors…they are doing that in Arizona even as we speak.

    @orange_rain…they probably did not explain because what was the chance of a white American female even dating a non-white man? Based on a 2007 study published in the Review of Economic Studies in 2009, the chances are pretty slim to none. And I still insist that beyond participants in this blog and the AMWW magazine, the number of white women dating Asian men, you can probably county in two hands. More date African Americans, but probably ninty percent of white American women probably think like what the former US Vice Consul in India thought of Tamils…non-whites are dark and dirty and that is the reality and the parents probably thought that their daughter would react the same way and 90% of the time it works. Now with men, probably they will be very careful as the proportion is a lot higher…at 50%. On age difference read about a 15 year old girl’s parents who did not like her boyfriend (both wihte). He was 17. They nailed him when he turned 18 and he was marked as a pedophile after he was arrested and thrown in jail.

    @C…it sounds somewhat similar to the attitudes in India. Also the government is not too enthused about taking in immigrants and the American people are not too enthused about too many non-white immigrants, male or female. Immigrants through marriage account for more than half of all the immigrants admitted into this country and most of them are not white. Most of these immigrants are well qualified and once a threshold ofr 20% of Asians in a firm is reached, someone complains. And then the ICE investigates, wastes time and money and comes to the conclusion that most ethnic Asian employees are married to US citizens or are US citizens themselves (many born in this country). There are many Americans who still cannot accept the fact that Asians could be US citizens. Many times media still refer to Jeremy Lin as Chinese or Taiwanese, not American. The highest rate of rejection of US visas (temporary) is for unmarried Asian women especially from the Philippines. Used to be Korean women, before they got visa waiver. In fact the US Ambassador to Korea in 2002 stated as much.

    @David L. The first reaction of many white American parents regarding an Asian boyfriend is that he possibly cannot be a Christian. I know people who have experienced this. Actually in many cases, race is more of an issue and religion is used as a cover. All you say is true but as far as the public is concerned, Japanese, Chinese, Korean…American or otherwise, no difference.

    @Sveta…Union of American Socialist Republics is comprised of five states at present…Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Oklahoma. Spying on neighbors and stopping and searching Hispanic or even Asian looking folks is very common. Arapaio, Brewer, Pearce, Bentley, Bacchus, Steve King, Dana Rohrbacher, Nathan Deal all epitomize American form of communism at best and in some respects Pat Buchanan sounds like a true Marxist, better than any one you will get in China. They all believe in a police state!

  16. I hate to say this, but 6 months is too soon to decide especially when this is your first relationship. We all had our first serious relationship and dare I say in restrospect most of us were young and naive. My advice is to keep the relationship but not in a commitmental way. Find out if he is really suitable for you, if you really want to spent your whole life with him.

  17. @David: my boyfriend is cantonese and he has never been abroad. As for me, I’ve never been to States. About friends and family spying I meant spying for the polish communist police before 1989, the files were officially published a few years ago.

  18. A lot of it is racism rather than political. The reason is that the Chinese people, not just citizens of the PRC are often viewed with unjustified suspicion in the US especially by some places requiring clearance. We can see the persecution of people like Wen Ho Lee and a bunch of other Chinese Americans falsely accused of spying in the past and how the media, FBI and politicians racially profiled Chinese people. This is one of those rare cases where white people get to intimately understand the racism faced by Asians in this country through association with an Asian. It ultimately affects everyone if only indirectly.

  19. I’m now studying aerospace engineering in a leading public school in US, I know exactly what ‘security clearance’ means. That’s legal racism under politics, and it is unfortunate for advances of human wisdom. As a ‘communist’ PRC citizen, though I have nothing related to the Party, I am deprived of all opportunities of applying for all fellowships from NASA and Aerospace Industry; all of them require US citizenship. So after I read through the first few lines of AK’s letter and I can fit my experience well into her boyfriend’s. I am in sympathy with AK and his boyfriend.

    My solution is supposed to be, if I were AK’s boyfriend, I would get US citizenship a.s.a.p (high tech immigration?) before marriage. Once both are US citizens, no ‘security’ reasons remain. Maybe I am wrong and reality is much more complicated than what I think. But I would try this if I was in AK’s boyfriend’s position.

  20. @ David: I’m not talking about immigration generally. I’m talking specifically about cases involving top secret clearances, particularly among diplomats and intelligence officials.

    Problems with ICE officials and immigrant wives involve completely different issue.

  21. *issues.

    @ploppers: As I understand it, clearances are more complicated than that, particularly for TS and TS/SCI (which is what the OP seems to be referring to). But David L. seems to know more about it than I do, so I’ll defer to him.

  22. Wait, it’s been six months and your parents are already talking about marriage?

    The security clearance issue is a red herring. You’re dating him, not engaged to him. Marriage is probably several years down the track at the very least. If that remains an issue he can simply take up US Citizenship through work.

    Have you checked the level of clearance your father has and the conditions surrounding them? I’m talking legal fine print and combing through precedents and cases. While an ambassador marrying a person from a country with hostile intelligence practices is an issue, I fail to see what an adult child of a government worker has to do their father’s line of work after they’ve left home.

    But if their daughter’s private life is too much to bear when it could possibly impact on them, it’s a selfish reason to harass her over.

  23. AK – You dated him for 6 months. Your parent raised you for 19 years. Chinese or not, the math is very clear. They were silent because they thought it was just a phase, and you might move on soon and they did not want to make a scene for something temporary. Dating is one thing, marriage is another.

    Please don’t ignore your parents, and try to talk to them and find out all the facts about security clearance. You can even write letter to the government for official written rules, in case something adverse happens you can suit with the evidences. If it is indeed a problem for your father’s job, move on. You may have more than one love in your life time, but you would always have only one parents.

  24. Hi there AK,

    I tend to agree with cvaguy. It’s a lot to consider on both sides. You’re in love with the guy after 6 months, which is fine, but it’s a first relationship and there’s still a good amount of time between now and graduation so many things can happen. This might not even be a concern then. For your parents, it’s clearly a concern for them now. If it were me, I’d look into the “security clearance” argument to see if they’re blowing steam or not. If the clearance issue is not a concern, then it’s something to discuss with them rather than try to use it to validate running off with this guy. The issues are bigger and they may not want to admit to the bias against your beau. However, if it is a valid concern (even with you out of the house), then I think it’s important to consider what it will do to your family. Going against their wishes in this situation will wipe out what they have spent their lives working toward, and I don’t think you would want to be a part of that decline. They have been your parents longer than you have known this guy and will continue to be so whether you stay with him or not. Your mother has experienced being ostracized by her family. That may work in your favor if she is of the mindset that she will do better for her children. Moms are good that way.

    You have a lot to think about. I wish you the best of luck with all of it.

  25. Another lonely sunday again. actually there is a song for that. ahahhaha heheheh lol . work work work I love it!!!!It’s okay because I bring my gym to my office hahahaha. just gained another 5lbs of muscles :). DON’T GET MARRIED ! Listen to me okay for these reasons:

    1) there are lots of places in this world you haven’t seen before so travel please.
    2) At 19, you think differently when you’re 27 or 31 yrs old . This is not ancient time that you have to get married at 19.
    3) Get your college degree first and then think about marriage. I don’t want to see you work at a restaurant and say ” may I help you 24/7″ 🙂 It’s a dead end job.
    4) Only six months.. The time is just too short . don’t be delusional my dear. After six months you will see more exciting 🙂 incidents coming out of your relationship. blah blah blah
    5) You might get pregnant when you get married so lots things will spin around you unexpected.
    6) Look at #1 . You will regret it when you get older. There is no doubt that you will regret it. Travel travel travel all you can before 67. Life is short , we can die tomorrow.

    Listen to this shifu right here and you won’t go wrong.

  26. Hi all, I agree with Bruce mostly, but I don’t understand why everyone is saying they have been together for 6 months when she is saying they have had a SERIOUS relationship for over a year. OK, at 19 it isn’t that much either. The other thing is, does she really mention it is her first relationship? Or I just cannnot read, that is all. Anyway this is a really nasty situation. Security clearance, religion, parents, love, uhhhh.

  27. I think we all got caught with that one. She did mention being with him for about a year but all of this stuff with the parents starting after 6 months of dating. She did, however, say that it is her first relationship. But either way, not an ideal situation to be in.

  28. Just take it one step at a time. It doesn’t sound like you two have dated for nearly long enough. If you still love him when you graduate from college, then you should start considering marriage.

  29. @ploppers:

    The fear is that even if he naturalizes, his parents are still in China and could be used as leverage against them as China is not well known for its respect for human rights. The US government doesn’t want them to get a phone call in the middle of the night from PRC state security telling them to divulge secrets unless they want their in-laws to never be seen again.

  30. @SB:
    Precisely. I think you said it better than anyone else could have. This is a real and legitimate concern for the US government. There may or may not be elements of racism or nationalism tinging the US government attitude towards China, but the core of it is a very realistic national security concern.

  31. “national security” has always been used in the US as a pretext for exercising racism especially against Asians and Chinese specifically. Unfortunately for the victims, these allegations of potential security violations almost never pan out. Racists have used all sorts of excuses in history and the appeal to “security” is one of the most used. There is no excusing racism.

  32. Hi,
    I am not sure if its exactly your position, but in terms of lack of support from family and friends, my boyfriend happens to be in this position. He is a PRC national and upon finding out that he had a foriegn (non white) gf, his family and friends mostly kept silent and were amicable for the first year of our relationship. And then they turned around and started pushing him to “see other chinese girls” and spoke about “loosing face” etc. All I know is he is under a lot of pressure, and even though its not the same kind of pressure as you, I can imagine it must be hard for him too as loss of face is something serious.

    I guess from the perspective of the other, I would say think about the situation carefully. Its hard as you are still young, but you owe him as much. First examine the consequences, are your parents simply not ok because this is a PRC man? Would they be ok with say a Taiwanese guy? If their issue is your fathers job, it is serious. But if race also has something to do with it, then it is your choice to make.

    Reading your post I can understand my boyfriends perspective and dilemma to some extent. I think for us, we speak about it, and try to unerstand the issue and see if there is a way around it. (for instance, if there is a problem with me not being chinese then thats not something we can do much about and they ll just have to accept it, but if its about the cultural gap then I should start learning mandarin in earnest and not just for fun as I have been).

    In the end, you have to spend your life with this person, and all relationships have some trade offs. Only you can decide what trade offs you are willing to make. It might also be helpful to talk with him about this, but from my experience know what you think first. Telling him this and being highly confused might hurt him and if you dont communicate clearly you may make him think that you are leaning towards going with your family. Either ways if you both love each other (I am assuming this is a mature relationship) then communication helps and you can overcome the difficulties. There is no guarentee, but which relationship has one.

    And about breaking up so he may find some one better; I think you should tell him the situation and let him make that decision for himself. That shouldnt be the reason for breaking up with him…

  33. “national security” has always been used in the US as a pretext for exercising racism especially against Asians and Chinese specifically.”

    Don’t forget the middle eastern and south asian.

    I am a south asian by the way.

  34. “Don’t forget the middle eastern and south asian.”
    I am South Asian origin but brought up in my teen years in South East Asia, among the Chinese….Comic tragedy when US police stop and investigate a Kerala Christian thinking he is moslem (his family has been Christian since the time of the Druids and the primitive Germanic tribes described by Tacitus). But, then again, most dont like Hispanics who are mostly devout catholics and have nothing to do with terrorism. Heck, most Hispanics are more catholic than Rick Santorum, but he wont go after their vote because of what he thinks is a defect: skin color is different. If he did, he will be closer to winning the Presidency and imposing catholic values on this country that he vehemently supports but many oppose.

    Are you from another East Asian country? There is more resistance to marrying East Asian of another ethnicity over marrying a white person among all East Asians. This is also true in South Asia.

  35. I thought communists and communism are no longer everyone’s favourite bogeymen? But be it what it may be, I think you should give yourself more time. 19 is still a very young age. And do try to find out what exactly that security clearance thing is all about and work around it. Must everything be a black or white choice? Either this or that? Is there not a central ground? Or a little right or little left of central? Or whatever?

  36. Sorry to say, but your parents are right about this one. National security matter is serious business. I got denied employment for a gov agency because some of my relatives are still living in ROK. Its probably true that an foreign agent could use my relatives as leverage for classified information. Your still young so you should at least finish school before starting to think long term!

  37. Nineteen is too young to get married. Don’t think about marriage now. Think about finishing college and finding a job. If your relationship is meant to be, it will work out. People have dealt with differences in religion and nationality forever. I’d be more worried that you’re worried about making a huge life decision before you’re out of your teens.

  38. How your husband acts post marriage will likely determine how much of an issue it is for your father (and it will be an issue).

    In one case I have a friend whose mother is Chinese (the father is also Chinese, but absentee), she was born in Canada but raised in America from age 3 forward. Her mother has never progressed beyond a green card and still holds Chinese citizenship. This girl is an Aerospace Engineer but the government refuses to grant her any kind of clearance since her sole parent has active ties back to China. Her American (white) husband was forced to move over to a civillian project with the aerospace company he works for (he went from cruise missiles to light sport aircraft engines).

    On the other hand my wife’s family are CCP members and yet she holds a clearance. The reason for this is following our marriage, she did her best to set a record for discarding her Chinese citizenship and getting her American citizenship. It also likely helps her work has been critical of the CCP (studying how the CCP represses elements of society). Various government agencies have shown no concern over bringing her in as a contractor or offering her a full time job.

    As others have said, six months is too short a time to get married and 19 is definitely too young. However when the time comes, if you marry this Chinese guy and promptly head back to China, odds are it will impact your father. To the government you’re now a potential hostage or a lever that Chinese intelligence can use to blackmail your father. If your husband remains in America and pushes for American citizenship, while cutting most ties to China, it will be less of an issue.

    I’d urge you to remember that you’re 19 and people don’t often marry their first college boyfriend. Don’t burn any bridges with your family or the like. Date this guy and if in a year or two you plan on getting married, sit down and have a talk with your boyfriend about how he could impact your family. If he’s planning on staying over here, simply make it clear that he really does need to push hard for citizenship and close down any bank accounts in China (the government dislikes overseas accounts since they can’t monitor them). If he wants to go back and take you with him, then you have to decide between him and your father.

  39. Hard decision. I faced the same decision.

    My parent’s didn’t agree whatsoever to me marrying a Chinese girl. My mom wanted to foresake me.

    My wife’s dad works for the government and his job wasn’t in jeopardy, but we were reminded if we had any marriage problems that his job would suffer consequences.

    I also would like to apply to jobs in foreign service for the U.S. government. The fact that my wife is Chinese and is a communist member – does that make a difference? Probably. I’d also like to work at the American consulate and might not be able to, but I am not sure.

    Also, I had to make the decision, regret for the rest of my life and live with a broken heart or piss of and dissapoint my family. Well, I chose the ladder because it was the easier to deal with of the two difficult choices. And, family can change and understand and accept, where my feelings for my wife would never chance for a lifetime.

  40. I’m in a similar situation: I’m 27, and while studying in China, I met the man of my dreams… an intelligent, hard-working, 28 year-old Iranian. Despite being an independent adult, I am not free from the reaches of my father’s job. Although we’re only dating, someone at my dad’s work spotted it (on Facebook), and they might revoke his Security Clearance. While I understand the government’s stance, the question I’d pose for you: How much of your life are you willing to sacrifice for your parents’ job? I’ve almost the opportunity to claim dual citizenship (by birth) due to his job. I’ve almost lost job opportunities, as each offer has to be reviewed by them for approval. My advice is to fully cooperate with the investigations, but realize that this B.S. will never stop if you allow your dad’s job to dictate your life. In many ways, my dad’s job has almost ruined our relationship by always forcing me to take lower-paying jobs which I don’t enjoy, dictating who I do/ don’t date, etc. Be polite and comply, but girl, you can’t live your life for them. Do you want to be 30 and realize everything you gave up so your dad could keep his clearance?

  41. @orange rain Speaking from experience, she probably didn’t know. I had no clue that DATING someone could compromise my dad’s job. After all, I live half the world away (mostly to escape from this ridiculous drama), and I’m an independent adult. My beef with the security process:
    1) They never explain it to the families.
    2) It essentially holds family members hostage. I mean, there’s no “way out” for the children. Even though the PARENTS sign up for the security clearance, the children have to adopt the paranoid lifestyle.
    This is why I will never work for the government. I find it completely unfair to impose such a lifestyle on your family without their agreement and willingness.

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