China Vague On Easing Indian Students’ Visa Curbs

Story Highlights
  • China to permit stranded students from the ASEAN countries studying in Chinese universities to come back early.
  • China to consider coordinated arrangement for allowing foreign students to return.
  • No flights operated between India and China long.

Beijing: China suggested it may let stranded ASEAN students studying in Chinese colleges return early, but it remained tight-lipped regarding the fate of over 23,000 Indian students who have been stuck at home since last year owing to Beijing’s COVID-19 visa restrictions.

When asked about the joint statement issued, which mentioned the early return of students from those countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during a media briefing here that China will consider a coordinated arrangement for allowing foreign students to return. ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. He said, “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 an arrangement for allowing foreign students to return to China for their studies.”

China has discontinued giving visas to Indians since last year, and there are now no flights between the two countries, leaving over 23,000 Indian students, largely studying medicine in Chinese colleges, as well as hundreds of Indian businessmen and their families stranded at home. Similarly, students from South Asian countries studying in China were stranded in their respective countries while waiting for Beijing to ease its travel restrictions so they could resume their studies.

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