Individual tourism abroad not encouraged, but people of special needs will certainly be given support, says China’s immigration authority
Published: May 23, 2022 08:02 PM Updated: May 23, 2022 07:53 PM
An aircraft of Spring Airlines in Shanghai airport Photo: VCG
An aircraft of Spring Airlines in Shanghai airport Photo: VCG

Due to COVID-19 concerns, China continues to discourage unnecessary individual tourism abroad but people of special needs such as work resumption will certainly be given support, China’s National Immigration Administration (NIA) said Monday, debunking some media reports claiming China imposed a de facto international travel ban.

“The pandemic is still in prevalence with virus continues to mutate. International travels are of high risks… as international flights are yet to fully resume, travel-goers would face high risk of contracting with the virus if they stuck overseas,” Liu Haitao from NIA said at Monday’s press conference.

The aim is to protect health and lives of residents and safeguard the hard-won epidemic achievements that the country has made, Liu said.

Though group tourism to foreign countries will continue to be suspended; individual tourism abroad is also not recommended, but people of special needs will certainly be given support, the official said.

In detail, immigration administration authorities at all levels will continue to offer outbound and inbound service for foreign or domestic enterprises, personnel who go for production resumption; Those who go abroad for special needs such as participation in key projects, working, business, study or academic communications or visiting family members will be given special support. In emergence cases, their applications could even be processed swiftly.

At the conference, Liu also said reports claiming immigration authorities were confiscating or cutting off corners of residency cards issued by foreign countries and passports are fabricated.

Reports saying passports and residency cards of some people in Shanghai’s Hongqiao airport were confiscated when they travelled to France are totally fabricated, either time, location or reasons of the matter, according to the official.

Liu gave two more examples at the conference – a resident surnamed Zhang from Guangzhou cooked up false information saying passports of people were cut off when flying back from a foreign country to Beijing; some reports claimed residency cards of people issued by foreign countries were cut off. Relevant people were punished accordingly by public security organs.

The NIA official’s detailed response came after some rumors surrounding passenger passports or green cards being confiscated when entering or exiting the country to prevent them from leaving the country which attempts to undermine China's COVID-19 prevention measures and regulations.

Immigration authorities would only cut off corners of certificates used for exit and entry if they were officially declared invalid, for the purpose of protecting certificate owners’ rights to avoid being taken by others. The act conforms to international practice of many countries, Liu said.

China’s current COVID-19 resurgence is still “severe and complicated” with domestic clustered outbreaks still occurring, said Mi Feng, the spokesperson from National Health Commission.  

As part of efforts to guard against imported cases, the flight fuse mechanism will continue to play its role in reducing virus spread from foreign countries. Since 2020 June, the mechanism has been activated 727 times with 1,679 inbound passenger flights being stopped. This year, a total of 768 inbound flights were cut as 312 times of the fuse mechanism were imposed, according to the press conference.