Travel To China – Caught Between Chinese State Control And Flight Cancellation

With cheap flights to China reaching record levels, the popular decision to travel to China has become more popular over recent years. However, following a period of increased political and social unrest in China, many Western tourists have also been forced to consider making trips to China. There have been no reports of any arrests or detentions of Western nationals travelling to China, and there are no reports of the arrest or deaths of tourists in China relating to political unrest. However, there are some risks to visiting China.

Traveling to China requires knowledge of Chinese customs and immigration procedures, and many of the Chinese citizens travelling to other countries will not have previously travelled outside of China, or will not be as knowledgeable about the cultures of their host countries. The majority of travel to China is by plane, and it is important to understand when these flights are being operated and to check the schedules for those scheduled flights. Ineffective airport security and bureaucracy can affect the availability of flights, sometimes leading to empty seats when a flight is cancelled at a time when many seats would be available.

One of the more restrictive aspects of travel to China is the entry requirements. China restricts travel to certain nationalities from certain countries, in an attempt to control migration. These nationalities include: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Macao and Tibet. While the reasons for these restrictions vary, the restrictions tend to be on a case by case basis with the government limiting entries from these particular member states imposing travel restrictions.

As well as these restrictions on which nationalities are permitted entry, China does impose exit restrictions at certain times. The exit policy was introduced in 2021, to restrict outbound travel from certain mainly-imported and developed nations that were experiencing significant economic pressures due to falling commodity prices and high levels of inflation. The restrictions are primarily related to the movement of persons out of China to take advantage of cheaper goods, higher salaries and employment opportunities offered by other countries. The government claims that these measures are necessary to protect China’s legitimate interests, while critics claim that exit restrictions are frequently abused to simply increase immigration statistics.

Chinese citizens applying for non-immigrant or tourist visas must pass through a strict selection process. Initially, the refusal rate is usually quite high, and the procedure can be lengthy and frustrating. For example, for Chinese national, foreigners who fail to meet the standard criteria for the position of non-immigrant or tourist may have their applications delayed for up to three years. This is called the Three Periods of Pre-determination. Foreign nationals who fail to pass the initial evaluation may still be eligible for later consideration after the completion of the Selection Period.

On entering China, it is important for tourists and non-immigrant alike to obtain exit and entry bans. The most recent amendments to the Entry Ban Regulations specify penalties for individuals who misrepresent information on their documents, or fail to abide by the regulations regarding exit and entry ban. These amendments were released to implement higher levels of protection for China’s tourists and businessmen, and to discourage travel misbehavior by terrorists and other criminals. Individuals traveling to China without exit or entry ban will be subjected to severe punishment.

In April 2021, the State Department notified the United States Department of State that it had imposed an entry ban on all citizens of China traveling to south Korea. The reason cited was a violation of the law by citizens of China traveling to south Korea in violation of the emergency travel advisories issued by the American Embassy in China. At the time, the State Department did not specify which citizens were subject to the ban, and did not issue a travel advisory to its Chinese counterparts. A Chinese spokesperson stated that the decision was intended to prevent “unilateral actions” by south Korean authorities with respect to Chinese citizens traveling to south Korea.

On February 5th, Chinese state-owned airline canceled all flights to and from Beijing, China, citing “unruly passengers.” Following the closure of the airport, all flights from Beijing to south Korea were also canceled. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Transport released statements saying that the decision was made to “reserve our China flights.” No flights have been scheduled to arrive in Beijing since the incident.