Traveling to China – The New Travel Ban
If you are planning a trip to China, the most important document you will need is your passport. Your passport is a key piece of information when it comes to your travel to China experience. It lets you visit China without any problems whatsoever. As such, this article highlights some of the issues you should take care with your passport before heading off to China.
The current PRC government has not released any official travel warnings for citizens travelling to China. It is believed that they are still assessing the impact of the recent U.S.-Russian diplomatic relations and considering how to respond to the restrictive measures taken by the Russian authorities. At the present time, all travel advisories from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs remain unchanged. In light of this, please avoid non-essential travel to China. Restrictions on traveling to and within the Peoples Republic of China have been imposed by the Chinese State Council (SC) and implemented under Article 31 of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
o Temporary visa restrictions. The PRC government announced in mid-November that it would be restricting travel to and within China to citizens of certain nationalities without visa. You are required to apply for a visa for yourself or your family before travelling to China. The current list of nationalities affected is dominated by Chinese Americans, Korean, Indian, Iraqi, and Pakistani travelers originating from these three countries. This is also a significant measure taken to reduce the number of tourists and foreigners who visit China under the pretext of travelling to China for “business purposes”.
o State-Owned Airline In China. As of today, there are currently no flights available to or inbound from the United Kingdom to China due to the suspension of flights by the state-owned airline, China Eastern Airlines. The move came in the face of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s request for a free trade agreement with China. The prime minister was quoted as saying, “I will not give up our trade relationship with China, but I do believe that Britain should look again at its policy of cutting flights to China.” Similar sentiments were expressed by US President Barack Obama who said “I think it’s in our interests to encourage China, rather than cutting off all ties.” The US government has yet to issue a formal statement regarding the recall of flights and related issues.
o State-Owned Carrier. Although the Chinese government has not issued any official move, the Financial Times reports that a Chinese state-owned airline has introduced a travel ban on all flights to and from the United Kingdom. The airlines say that the ban is in line with the growing turbulence in the air routes between the two countries. The report also indicates that other airlines in the region are expected to follow suit and that the airlines are considering issuing similar bans soon.
o Exit and Entry Ban. The Financial Times also reports that the Chinese government has banned all non-Chinese traveling to and from the country. It is unclear at this point what the implications of this would be. If the Chinese government does impose an exit ban, however, it would likely affect those traveling to China for vacation or business, and would likely affect cargo transportation between the two countries as well. An effective January first step would be for foreign travelers to avoid traveling to or from China during this period.
No Expiration Date. On March 7th, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the existing exit and entry ban would be extended until further notice. At present, there are currently no flights to or from China to the UK. British citizens traveling to China will need to apply for special travel visas. The date of implementation is not known.
o State-Owned Airline. The BBC reported that a spokesperson for China’s national airline had confirmed, “The Chinese government has instructed all airlines to suspend all flights to and from China.” There was no explanation given for the move, and no immediate comment from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There was also no immediate reaction from passengers or airline operators from either country. There are no direct flights to the UK from China, and millions of tourists to travel to China each year.