Travel to China – How to Get Around the New Travel Ban
Effective February 1st, all citizens of China are allowed to travel outside their home country free of excessive personal belongings. This measure is in response to the havoc that hurricanes and floods in Thailand have created in that nation. There will be a new policy which requires citizens of certain nations to have their personal items declared before departure. This means that if you are traveling to China from a European Union country, for instance, you will have to have all of your electronic gadgets ready to pop out on your arrival. If you are traveling from a non-Asian country, it may not have anything to do with your electronic belongings.
Some countries have issued travel advisories that include warnings about the new regulations. The United Kingdom, for example, has banned all passengers from China taking flights to the UK starting January 1st. All passengers will need to have a passport in order to board any flights to the UK from China starting or ending the period of the ban. While the exact details are not available in China, there are some of the cities along the country’s east coast that have a higher than normal number of flights landing there.
The exact reasons for the new visa restrictions are not known, but one possibility is that China is looking to limit the number of foreign tourists who arrive in their country using counterfeit or illegal methods. Many of the travelers originating from European Union countries fall into this category. These individuals could easily enter China using false documentation and then stay illegally in the country after landing.
A second possible reason that the Chinese government has issued a travel advisory about an entry ban on all foreign nationals traveling to China is that they fear possible unrestrained inflation. On February 1st, the mainland China within 14 days imposed an entry ban on all travelers originating from the EU. This ban was effective immediately, except for citizens of Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Austria. There were reports of massive demonstrations throughout mainland China against the ban. There were also reports of more police being deployed to control the demonstrations.
The most common flights to Beijing and other major cities of the Chinese mainland from western China now appear to be suspended or canceled. Most of the major airlines now say that they have no flights scheduled to Beijing or other Chinese cities until further notice. In addition, flights to Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taipei from the western region of China have also been canceled. Taiwan’s government has released a travel advisory for its citizens traveling to China that says the travel ban will be effective immediately, with all commercial flights from Taipei to Beijing canceled. Taiwan’s main airport, Taoyuan International Airport, also reported that all flights from Taipei have been stopped.
A few hours before the mass demonstrations began in China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issued a travel advisory stating, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is advising against travel to China.” The travel advisory further stated that, “The decision to impose a travel ban was based on information that arose from China’s handling of international travelers and sources.” It continued that the decision to ban travel to China was “effective February 1st, with immediate effect.” The MOFA did not provide any explanation as to why it had issued the travel advisory. No flights to China have since been scheduled for that date.
Travelers to China may also be detained if they fail to comply with the new travel restrictions. There have been no reports of arrests or mass detentions of foreigners in response to the new Chinese travel restrictions. The authorities may, however, apply severe penalties to anyone who does not comply with their new regulations. Travelers could be subjected to searches, interviews, and seizures. It is not clear exactly what these penalties would be.
The Chinese authorities may block access to the website of the State Department’sembassy in China, which is the main U.S. consulate. On and off since the start of the Beijing Olympics in February 2021, there have been reports of disruptions in access to the embassy’s website. There are currently no plans to lift the ban. In light of this, the embassy has advised its citizens to use the State Department’s website instead of the embassy’s site when accessing information on travel to China. Finally, travelers should remember that the Chinese government can ban any American citizen from entering the country for 90 days without notice.