03/16/2021, 16.15
INDIA – CHINA
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China easing travel restrictions but only for people who take Chinese vaccines

The current ban on entry into China is of particular concern to 23,000 Indians studying at Chinese universities. The announcement will bring them little relief as vaccines produced in China are not available in India. China's Foreign Ministry said Monday that China is willing to carry out mutual recognition of vaccination with other nations, but this process is expected to take time.

 

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Several Chinese missions abroad, including its embassy in New Delhi, announced yesterday that they will begin "facilitating" travel to China as long as visitors have taken Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines.

Indians have been barred from China in November 2020, when China suspended valid visas and residence permits not only for travellers from India, but from most countries with COVID-19 levels that raise concern.

The ban has worried many Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities, who have not been able to return to China. At least 23,000 Indians are studying in China, most of them in the medical field.

Yesterday’s announcement will bring them little relief as vaccines produced in China are not available in India.

China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday that it is willing to carry out mutual recognition of vaccination with other nations, but this process is expected to take time.

For now, the limited easing in travel restrictions will only apply to travellers who have taken Chinese vaccines.

On its website, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi states: “For the purpose of resuming people-to-people exchanges in an orderly manner, starting from 15 March, 2021, the Chinese Embassies and Consulates in India will provide the persons having taken Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine and holding the Certificates of Vaccination” with a number of “facilitating measures”, including for those who travel to China for "employment contracts, work resumption and other relevant activities" and relatives of Chinese citizens, provided they have taken Chinese vaccines.

The notice did not say whether the new requirement also applies to students. India provides the fourth largest group of foreign students to China.

Indian students face particular obstacles, the South China Morning Post reported last month.

Last year, India banned more than 200 Chinese apps, some of them used for online teaching following border clashes in the Galwan Valley.

After WeChat was banned, students complained to their colleges. One university, the newspaper reported, began using DingTalk and Tencent's Meeting owned by Alibaba for online classes. Eventually, those apps were banned too.

The biggest concern for students, who will have to pass challenging exams in India after graduation in order to work in their chosen field, is their inability to receive laboratory training since they cannot go back.

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