China Reopens Borders To Foreigners After Three Years Of Restrictions…
Written by City Radio on March 15, 2023
China will once again start issuing a range of visas to foreigners as of Wednesday, the country’s foreign ministry said, in a major easing of travel restrictions in place since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The move marks the latest step towards reopening China to the outside world, as Beijing breaks with the strict zero-Covid strategy that defined its pandemic response until a few months ago.
In addition to new visas being reviewed and approved, those issued before March 28, 2020 that remain valid will once again allow entry to China, said a notice posted Tuesday on a social media account affiliated with the foreign ministry’s consular affairs bureau.
Similar notices appeared on the websites of several overseas Chinese missions, including its embassies in the United States and France.
The updated policy will also allow for the resumption of visa-free travel for those arriving on cruise ships to Shanghai as well as for certain tourist groups from Hong Kong, Macau and countries within the ASEAN regional grouping, the notice said.
China received 65.7 million international visitors in 2019, according to data from the UN World Tourism Organization, before sealing itself off from the rest of the world during the pandemic.
While most countries started fully reopening their economies and welcoming international travellers earlier, China only began emerging from its strict Covid-19 containment strategy in late 2022, after rare demonstrations against President Xi Jinping’s signature policy broke out across the country.