Travel to China in January – What Is the New Travel Restrictions?
Travel to China is often subject to Chinese government control. You need a passport to travel to China. There are several ways to get a Chinese visa. Chinese visa application centers opened in many cities in late 2021. On 14 November the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement announcing the temporary suspension of entries by foreign nationals from UK with temporary, Chinese visas or residency permits in China.
This measure was taken to implement new visa restrictions agreed upon between the UK and China. The two countries have been negotiating for a new visa agreement since early 2021. The current agreements expired on 14 November. According to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the latest suspension was implemented in response to UK requests that the existing arrangements are unchanged. The Chinese Ministry says that these negotiations were successful, with both sides agreeing to remove some obstacles.
The latest Chinese visa restriction comes as the UK makes several rounds of free trade deals with China, including a proposal to introduce free trade with South Korea. The European Union also has a proposal to promote free trade within its member states. Britain is currently without a trade deal with China, although it hopes to conclude one before the end of the year. The two European Union proposals were rejected by China, which instead announced that it was looking forward to bilateral negotiations with the EU.
The recent proposal by the European Union is similar to the earlier Free Trade Agreement with China. However, the scope of this agreement is much wider than the previous agreement. EU countries are now looking at a variety of areas for expansion into China, which includes establishing free trade areas. The scope of China’s internal market is also an issue for EU foreign policy makers. EU member states imposing travel restrictions against China include the likes of Bulgaria, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Spain. These countries are part of the European Union, yet have low economic growth per annum.
As a result of the EU’s rejection of the proposals from the UK and the US, a new Chinese visa law was introduced. The law effectively prohibits any non-EU citizen from entering China for fourteen days. This effectively means that citizens of third world countries travelling to China have to wait until the end of the 14 day ban before they can enter the country. The law also stipulates that all goods imported into China must be approved for export from China before release. Whilst there have been no reports of goods not being approved, and goods still having to be cleared upon arrival in China, the impact of the measures has been felt by both Chinese citizens and Europeans.
At the start of February, the Chinese government announced that it was reintroducing a ban on all travel to China. The reasons given for the introduction of the ban were not immediately apparent. However, it was confirmed that the ban would be implemented as a measure against piracy. This is consistent with previous Chinese policy, which is to prevent the entry of any person or cargo that could be involved in acts of piracy. This is in line with the European Union and the United States imposing an entry ban on any foreign nationals or citizens travelling to China, as well as Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines imposing similar bans.
The reasons given for reintroducing the ban on flights to China included the threat to the security of passengers. It was also confirmed that the measure was being implemented as part of China’s plan to bolster its tourism industry. In addition to this, the announcement was made on the eve of China’s National Day – a significant national holiday in China. It is likely that this move is an attempt to promote the well-known nationwide holiday, with the most popular day of the Chinese New Year, to coincide with the beginning of the Spring Festival – during which thousands of tourists flock to China’s largest city.
While it is possible to book flights to China during January, it is likely that many of the major airlines will resume normal services towards the end of January. The new restrictions are likely to affect how flights are booked, and whether or not visitors will be able to take advantage of the special offers and discounted rates being offered. If you wish to book a flight to China during January, it is advised that you get in touch with your travel agent and see if they have any of the available flights. Alternatively, you could book in advance online and receive the best deals during this busy period.