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Ban on Re-entry of Overseas Students Including Indians to China Continue

Ban on Re-entry of Overseas Students Including Indians to China Continue

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NEW DELHI, Mar 22: China has refused to lift the bar on the foreign students including Indian students studying in Chinese universities from returning to China for physically attend the classes.

In a stamen on Monday released by the Indian embassy in Beijing, China advised the Indian and other overseas students to stay in their respective home land and keep in touch with the universities they were studying in China and follow their instructions, clearly hinting that the offline classes would continue as of now.

The statement also clarified that China’s offer that it would issue visa to those foreigners who took the Chinese vaccine, did not apply to students.

Official sources said the Chinese government’s bar on allowing foreign students to enter the country was still in place despite multiple requests to allow them to return to the country to resume in-person classes.

In its statement the Indian embassy clarified that the recent visa facilitation notification for foreigners who have been administered a Chinese vaccine did not apply to students. According to China’s education ministry, 4,92,185 international students from 196 countries and regions were studying in the country until the end of 2018.

According to a country-wise breakup of foreign students in China, South Korea tops this list with more than 50,000 students. It is followed by Thailand and Pakistan with over 28,000 students each studying in China. At 23,000, Indian students are the fourth largest group.

“Chinese authorities at various levels continue to maintain their position that, on account of last year’s announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs…to suspend temporarily the entry of foreigners holding valid Chinese Visa and residence permits following the outbreak of Covid-19 in many countries in the world, overseas students are temporarily unable to enter China,” the Indian embassy said.

Despite bringing the pandemic in the country under control, China continues to impose severe restrictions on incoming foreigners including a nearly-month long quarantine, and now, linking returns to travellers taking a China-made vaccine.

The academic lives of nearly 23,000 Indian students who study in China, mostly in medical universities, have been upended because of the travel barriers: There is no sign that these restrictions will be lifted any time soon.

Many Indian students had returned home in January, 2020, for Chinese New Year holidays, in the weeks ahead of the pandemic spreading in the central Chinese province of Hubei and before restrictions were placed on foreign travel; many more left in the weeks after the outbreak while some were evacuated from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, in special flights.

Beijing has told New Delhi that China was aware of the “…concerns of the students and have asked all relevant Chinese universities to maintain close contact with the students and keep them informed, besides continuing with the online courses.”

“It has also been suggested by Chinese authorities that Indian students stay in touch with their universities and pursue their studies in accordance with the suggestions and guidance of the universities,” the statement added.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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