China defended its visa restrictions, which have kept thousands of stranded Indians from returning to Beijing, saying they are “appropriate” to control the spread of COVID-19 and do not target only India but also Chinese nationals returning from abroad.
In response to the Indian Ambassador to Beijing Vikram Misri’s criticism of China’s long-standing harsh travel restrictions, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying ruled out any relaxation soon.
Misri voiced dismay in China’s refusal to allow the repatriation of thousands of stranded Indian students, employees, and their families due to the COVID-19 outbreak in his remarks to the Track-II Dialogue on China-India Relations last week.
China’s limits, he said, were an “unscientific approach” to a genuinely humanitarian issue.
When asked for her reply, Hua told a press conference here that the measures were put in place for the people’s safety and well-being.
“China’s safeguards are appropriate, and I’d like to point out that China employs quarantine measures for all inbound travelers”. She stated that China is eager to make suitable arrangements for bilateral personnel travel.
Hua also stated that the travel restrictions apply to Chinese citizens returning from overseas.
According to reports, many Chinese nationals who were stranded in India were unable to return due to rigorous travel restrictions and aircraft cancellations.
China must implement numerous quarantine procedures, but they are not limited to India. According to Hua, it is applied equally to everyone, even Chinese people returning to China.
Hundreds of businesses, employees, and their families have been stuck in India since last year, in addition to over 23,000 Indian students studying in Chinese colleges, mainly in medical.
The bans also resulted in some people losing their jobs, companies or being separated from their families.
While ensuring safety, we are prepared to collaborate with countries such as India by making appropriate preparations. When asked if China will consider the resumption of travel with India, Hua stated, “I don’t mean to claim that we will immediately fix the matter.”
Our measures are appropriate, and we will make the necessary adjustments as the situation evolves, she said.
Hua also stated that China is scientifically implementing the COVID-19 protocols.
China has been implementing quarantine measures scientifically and legally from the commencement of COVID-19, she said.
The disease is still spreading over the world. So, the Chinese government has taken several measures, and we are also adjusting them in response to the changing scenario to preserve the necessary individuals’ safety and health.
Many less complex concerns, such as enabling the passage of students, business people, and stranded family members from India to China, require a more balanced and empathetic approach, Ambassador Misri stated.
“I may add here that India has also tried to keep our trade and economic relationship insulated from present tensions, for example, by continuing to provide visas to Chinese businesspeople visiting India,” he said.
However, we are saddened to see an unscientific approach to various challenges that Indian students, companies, marine crew, and exporters, to name a few, are currently facing,” the envoy said.
Meanwhile, the Indian embassy in Beijing reports that many students rallied in front of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi on Monday, denouncing the visa restrictions that effectively prohibited them from returning to resume their studies in the country.