The entrance ban has just been lifted on four airlines that had cancelled flights to Beijing and other Chinese cities on the first day of the new year. The Beijing International Airport was opened fully today (January) and passengers can now fly direct to Beijing from any part of the world except Hong Kong, Macau and Shanghai. This means that the regular two-day journey from the major cities of the world will be made up of one undisturbed journey through the Beijing Airport. There are no flights from New Delhi to Beijing due to the Chinese government’s entry ban.
What does this mean for passengers travelling between major cities? For a start, it means that the costs involved in flying between cities will rise as airlines and hotels realise that there will be fewer tourists visiting China in the coming year. If you are flying to Beijing, you may find that your out-of-state relatives cannot get onto the airlines. Similarly, if you are flying to Hong Kong or Macau from the United States, Canada or Australia, you will be unable to board a plane to China due to the tightened restrictions.
Why are the Chinese authorities imposing the exit restriction? There are many reasons why this measure has been implemented. One is that China needs to bolster its own credentials on the global stage; it must show that it is not undermining its neighbour’s trade but is establishing itself as a peaceful and progressive country. Thus, the recent row with Japan over islands was not only embarrassing for China but also showed how far its commitment to international political culture has fallen short.
There are also suspicions that the new US travel restrictions are being imposed because the new US administration is wary of China’s rise as a powerful economic power. President Obama has been visiting India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan lately and is all set to visit China later this year. In addition to that, the new US administration is also considering bilateral deals with India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Considering these developments, many believe that the Obama administration is looking to strengthen its ties with India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and would like to have a closer relationship with China as well. This means that the recent decision to impose entry restrictions on Chinese tourists into the US may not be entirely unjustified.
The reason why the Chinese government imposed an entry ban on travelling to the US could be rooted in the fact that the US has been complaining about the dumping of cheap electronics in China. However, experts say that the dumping of cheap electronics by the Chinese companies has not become a big problem. It is the case of the US manufacturers selling goods at very cheap prices to the Chinese customers and not the Chinese government ordering its citizens not to purchase goods that they need from abroad. To impose a travel ban on the Chinese government would be to put the carton down on free trade. The US administration has been trying to improve its relationship with China by strengthening the ties with India, the only great neighbor that China has so far.
Now let us focus on the new direction that the Obama administration is looking to take. We know that the US is a great friend to China and that is good news. However, if China does not improve its ways of cheating in the Global South then the United States will have no choice but imposes an entry ban on all citizens of the PRC. If the Chinese government insists on keeping its citizens out of the United States, then we have another possible solution. In the past, the US has said that if China does not allow the Kaikaku event, which is to unite China, then the US will be forced to withdraw all its personnel from the PRC. This is a drastic measure that might backfire, but the US is trying to be a friend to China in order to prevent the reunification of Taiwan, which China considers its core interests.
Now the question is whether the Chinese government will cave in to US pressure and suspend all flights to and from China? The Chinese government would surely do whatever it takes to protect its profitable airline industry and the huge US trade deficit with China. That means that China is behind the scenes dealing with this issue and judging by comments by Chinese officials, they may already be planning for further retaliations against the United States and its citizens.
On January 20, the Chinese government released another statement that the travel ban will not be imposed on the people of China within 14 days. However, the restrictions that the Chinese communist government put on the Kaikaku event was that no foreign national would be allowed to participate in the event. It also stated that any international airport in China that wishes to resume travel to the United States must first consult with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before doing so. Now, it is entirely up to the Chinese government on how they are going to respond to the United State’s threat, but one thing is for sure, the Chinese people are fully aware of the fact that the US was only bluffing and they have every reason to be happy right now.