Travel to China – Is This Policy Effective?

Effective January first, China suspended all flights to and from Hong Kong. The reason cited was that China will be hosting the Olympic Games in China in late July. This could cause much inconvenience for the millions of vacationers who had already purchased tickets. The suspension is only temporary and tourism should return to normal in time.

Travel to China

On February 1st, China’s State-Owned Airlines carried out a limited number of flights to and from Hong Kong. The reasons for this is still unclear, but most speculate it is related to the Olympics. However, the State-Owned Airline also notified all airlines that they must suspend all flights to and from Hong Kong on the same day. This action caused a rush, and the booking services were overwhelmed.

The Chinese government has implemented a series of travel restrictions, primarily regarding foreigners, in an attempt to prevent any infiltration of “undesirable elements” into the country. According to foreign nationals, China has restricted visits to Tibet, raised travel alertes for North Korea and conducted random checks of tourists’ visas. Foreign nationals travelling to China are required to obtain a visa prior to travelling, a process known as F visa. There are other visas available, but the majority of travellers are required to obtain a visa.

There are six different types of F visas, which are also broken down by visa type. There are: general tourist visa, business visitor visa, Hong Kong visit visa, emergency entry visa, non-immigrant entry visa, family member visa and special category visa. The number of days prior to your departure date that you are allowed to stay in China is also determined by the type of visa.

China’s migration policies have been effective. China does not like illegal immigrants. Therefore, when travellers from outside the country arrive at the border to enter China, they are not allowed to remain in the country. Chinese authorities, instead, try to prevent them from crossing the border by using harsh punishments such as detaining the travelers and closing down their land, cutting off their electricity and even putting them in prison. On several occasions, foreign nationals who attempted to cross the border via Taiwan were arrested and returned. In some instances, local state-owned airline tickets were also seized because of illegal immigration.

Recently, there was an effective change in the entrance ban in China. Prior to this, all travellers had to pass through China’s tourism ministry before being allowed into the country. However, on 13 November last year, the Ministry of Transport lifted the entrance ban, allowing all travellers to pass through the country immediately. This was done in response to criticisms from the US, which has had a long-standing border dispute with China over its maritime laws and territorial claims in the South Korea and Taiwan.

This new policy is extremely significant because it means that mainland China within fourteen days of the effective date of the reforms can now travel abroad. Previously, there would be a 14 day validity period for those who had entered China before the reform was implemented. It is believed that the change was meant to encourage more tourists to visit China. Many foreigners had cancelled their travel plans due to the bans, and with this new policy, this will no longer be a problem.

The reform has been labelled as a significant move towards better relations between the two countries. The Chinese government did not impose an entry ban on any foreign nationals; rather, it only wanted foreign tourists to spend more time in China and enjoyed their visit. It was only when US citizens travelled to China and spent time in the country that the Chinese government felt compelled to impose an entry ban.