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China continues to be vague on permitting return of stranded Indians

Travellers wearing face masks push suitcases outside Beijing Railway Station following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, China, December 29, 2020.   REUTERS/Thomas Peter (REUTERS)Premium
Travellers wearing face masks push suitcases outside Beijing Railway Station following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, China, December 29, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter (REUTERS)

China continues to be ambivalent about permitting stranded Indians working in the Chinese mainland but stuck back home since last year due to Beijing’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, saying that visas are being given only for essential economic, trade and humanitarian purposes

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BEIJING : China continues to be ambivalent about permitting stranded Indians working in the Chinese mainland but stuck back home since last year due to Beijing’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, saying that visas are being given only for essential economic, trade and humanitarian purposes.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has been providing visa facilitation to foreign nationals who are travelling to China for essential economic, trade, technological and emergency humanitarian purposes," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told media here on Wednesday.

“Going forward, we will adjust relevant measures at appropriate points in light of the evolving COVID-19 situation on the basis of effective prevention of imported cases to actively foster a new arrangement for healthy, safe and orderly personnel exchange", he said.

He was responding to a question that Chambers of commerce from America and Australia have reported that local government authorities in Beijing and a few other Chinese cities are now issuing PU letters for the dependent family members of qualified foreign workers and will this benefit be extended to India as well.

PU is an invitation letter issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to apply for visa to enter China.

Besides over 23,000 Indian students studying in Chinese colleges, mostly medicine, hundreds of businessmen, employees, and their families have been stuck in India since last year.

The curbs also resulted in several people either losing jobs, businesses or separation of families.

In September, Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri also criticised China's prolonged stringent travel restrictions saying that “we are disappointed to see an unscientific approach with regard to several problems currently being faced by Indian students, businessmen, marine crew and exporters, to name a few."

In the same month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the Chinese government has no choice but to take a lot of prevention and control measures", which were applied to Chinese nationals stuck abroad.

“I want to stress that China's inbound prevention and control measures are applied to all inbound travellers, including its own citizens," she said. 

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