China has remained non-committal on facilitating visas to Indians waiting to travel back to join their jobs, studies, business and family reunion ostensibly due to COVID-19 pandemic situation. India remains on a visa ban list of China along with 10 other countries. China recently allowed chambers of commerce from Germany, France and Italy to bring back their employees and family members.
In response to a question as to what’s the criteria China is adopting to give visas to people from certain countries while blocking visas to 11 countries including India and when China will allow visas to Indians, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that China adjusts its management measures on in-bound travelers accordingly as the epidemic situation evolves. However, he yet again failed to give any plausible explanation for not allowing Indians to enter China even after stipulated vaccination and with due COVID protocols.
This denial comes even for those Indians who have been inoculated with Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, despite announcements made by its Embassy in New Delhi on 15th March in this regard. Around 300 Indians who live and work in China but are currently in India had requested the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi to issue them visas to return after they managed to get Chinese vaccines from a third country. Stranded Indians told Prasar Bharati, Beijing that around 3000 Indian families are waiting for Chinese visas to return. Many have either lost their jobs in China or are on the verge of it because Chinese companies do not want them to come back. Apart from this, many existing visas have expired. They are paying the rent and bills for the empty houses rented in China. People who have lost their jobs are not able to return to China even to get their belongings. They say that China has allowed flights from countries with a higher number of Covid cases which leads to an assumption that it’s more than just pandemic control.
Around 20000 Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities but stranded in their home country since January 2020 have also not been allowed to return to China because of the restrictions imposed on international travel while students from many countries like South Korea, USA have been allowed. A prominent Chinese expert, Dr. Huiyao Wang from Centre for China and Globalization had told Prasar Bharati, Beijing in June this year that Indian Students may be allowed to return. That’s something China can do. This is taking a toll on China’s image as well, especially when China is preparing in full swing for the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022, he said.