MFA China

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on July 9, 2021

China-Arab TV: Many students from Arab countries are hoping very much to return to China for their studies. When will China allow these students to return?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government always attaches high importance to the issue of foreign students coming to China for their studies. On the basis of ensuring safety amid COVID-19, we will consider in a coordinated manner arrangement for allowing foreign students to return to China for their studies.

China Daily: It is reported that in response to a question about the US refusal of visa applications by Chinese students, a spokesperson for the US State Department stated that the relevant measures are based on Presidential Proclamation 10043 and only affects less than 2% of Chinese applicants. The spokesperson said that the US welcomes international students including Chinese students. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The current US administration keeps talking about the importance it places on openness to international students while playing by the rules set out in this deeply discriminatory Presidential Proclamation. This runs counter to the self-claimed philosophy of openness and freedom and remarks of “welcoming Chinese student” on the US side. It is further historical back-pedalling.

The US claims that the relevant measures only affect less than 2% of Chinese applicants. However, a Georgetown University report estimates that about 3,000 to 5,000 graduate students applying for relevant disciplines are affected by Presidential Proclamation 10043, which is between 16% and 27% of annual new Chinese graduate enrollments. Large numbers of students who are affected by the Proclamation launched a website on their own initiative to tell the stories of being rejected and call for academic freedom. The US should heed their voice.

People-to-people interactions are the foundation of China-US ties. Academic, educational and scientific and technological exchanges are an important part of that. We urge the US to face up to and review this issue, stop the groundless restrictions and suppression on Chinese students, and protect their legitimate rights and interests.

PTI: You just answered two questions regarding the return of the international students to China and the discriminatory treatment of Chinese students by the US. Is there a timeline for foreign students to return to China?

Wang Wenbin: I just stated China’s principled position on the issue of foreign students coming back to China for their studies. We attach high importance to this issue. On the basis of ensuring safety amid COVID-19, we will consider in a coordinated manner arrangement for allowing foreign students to return to China for their studies. At the same time, I stress again that in light of the evolving epidemic situation, China will decide on prevention and control measures in a coordinated way based on scientific analysis. We stand ready to work actively towards the healthy, safe and orderly cross-border flow of people on the basis of sound epidemic measures.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on July 7, 2021

Prasar Bharati: Last week, some foreign students who are pursuing studies in China wrote an open letter, asking when China will allow entry of students from other countries especially when the next semester is going to begin in September?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government always attaches high importance to the issue of foreign students coming to China for their studies. On the basis of ensuring safety amid COVID-19, we will consider in a coordinated manner arrangement for allowing foreign students to return to China for their studies.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on April 28, 2021

Reuters: The United States plans to ease travel restrictions on Chinese students this autumn. Could I have your comments?

Zhao Lijian: We have noted the relevant situation. It is a positive step taken by the US side. China has long achieved major strategic outcomes that is recognize by the world in epidemic control. We hope the US side can make proper arrangement for Chinese people going to the country and create favorable conditions for resuming personnel exchanges between the two countries.

AFP: Just a follow-up on the earlier question about the lifting of restrictions on the students going back to the US. We want to ask if the Chinese side has similar policies for international students given that COVID-19 domestically is quite under control. Does China also have plans to make exceptions for foreign students to return and resume classes here?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese government always attaches great importance to foreign students who want to come to China. Relevant institutions of higher learning have actively responded to concerns and demands of foreign students by making proper arrangement of online teaching and keeping close contact.

Prasar Bharati: Regarding US announcement on the return of international students, can you please share some information on international students who have been allowed to return to China so far and which all countries do they belong to?

Zhao Lijian: I’ll refer you to the competent department for more details

Under the precondition of ensuring safety amid the COVID-19 epidemic, China will continue to study in a coordinated manner the matter of allowing foreign students to come to China and maintain communication with relevant parties, so as to facilitate sound, safe and orderly flow of personnel.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on March 19, 2021

Prasar Bharati: A few Indians in New Delhi who want to return to China contacted the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi and they were told that the Chinese Embassy would make available the Chinese vaccines to them, if the government of India gives approval for making the vaccines available there. So my question is that is China in talks with the Indian side regarding the approval of Chinese vaccines either from Beijing or from the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi? Second question, regarding this new visa announcement, will it be applicable to students?

Zhao Lijian: The report you mentioned is not accurate. In the fight against COVID-19, a common enemy to mankind, China stands ready to advance cooperation with other countries including in vaccine research and development, so as to achieve an early victory.

With regard to the visa facilitation measure, China provides visa facilitation to incoming foreigners who have received Chinese vaccines and hold a vaccination certificate with a view to resuming international travel in an orderly fashion. As to the specific measures and the eligibility, I’d refer you to notices on the website of the Chinese Embassy in India.

The Chinese government attaches high importance to protecting the rights and interests of international students in China. Academic institutions are required to keep in close contact with those students abroad, make good arrangements for online courses, and properly address their legitimate concerns and appeals. On the precondition of observing containment protocols, the Chinese authorities will study this matter in a coordinated manner and keep in communication with relevant parties.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on March 9, 2021

Prasar Bharati: Yesterday you talked about the facilitating the insurance of visas and making cross border travels and people-to-people exchanges easier. As I understand, e-health certificate does not apply to foreigners as of now. In that case, can we still expect that at least international students can return to China to resume their study? They have already lost more than a year. Or they still need to wait for more time?

Zhao Lijian: I have noticed that you raised the issue of the resumption of study for international students on different occasions. Thank you for caring for them.

I want to emphasize that the Chinese version of the health certificate for international travelers is a document issued to Chinese personnel who have conducted nucleic acid tests or got inoculated with Chinese vaccines. Mutual recognition means mutual confirmation of the effectiveness of the tests or vaccination. On this basis, the two sides can provide convenience for relevant personnel. For some other related matters, they were covered in the press conference yesterday.

Regarding the foreign students’ return to China for their studies, my principled response is that the Chinese government attaches high importance to protecting the rights and interests of foreign students in China. Academic institutions in China are required to keep in close contact with those students abroad, make good arrangements for online courses, and properly address their legitimate concerns and appeals. On the precondition of observing containment protocols, the Chinese authorities will study this matter in a coordinated manner and keep in communication with relevant parties.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on February 2, 2021

Prasar Bharati: China International Students Union has said in a statement that foreign students should be allowed to return to China step by step based on COVID tests and antibody tests, like how business people have been allowed. They also say online studies are not practically possible and their diplomas will not be recognized in their countries. They said that they are ready for vaccination if that helps them get back to China. Will China consider their plea for their return based on these measures? Second, China allowed certain foreign students to return. What is the issue in allowing students from other nationalities?

Wang Wenbin: I remember you have raised this question here many times, and each time we gave you a response. Here I would like to recap our position.

First, as COVID-19 situation remains severe, all countries are taking prevention and containment measures based on their own conditions. This is to protect the safety and health of all citizens, including students. I’m sure everyone will understand this.

Second, we hope the international community will strengthen anti-epidemic cooperation to win the fight as soon as possible so that students can return to campus sooner rather than later.

Third, on the precondition of observing containment protocols, the Chinese authorities will study in a coordinated manner the matter of allowing foreign students to come back for their studies and maintain communication with relevant parties. I’ll refer you to the competent department for more details.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 31 2020

Prasar Bharati: Some Indian students wish to return to China to fully resume their studies. Over the past year they can only take online coursedue to the pandemicSince many categories of foreign nationals have been allowed to enter China on various grounds following COVID protocols, can you tell us when China will allow Indian and other foreign students to come back?

Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of the specifics, but I can tell you that the Chinese government attaches great importance to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of overseas students in China. It requires colleges and universities to keep in close contact with overseas students, carefully arrange online courses for them, and properly address their legitimate concerns and needs. While taking effective epidemic prevention and control measures, China will assess the situation concerning resumption of studies in China for foreign students and will continue discussing that with all parties.