China threatens retaliation over restrictions on Chinese tourists
China is striking back as governments around the world are making policies for Chinese tourists entering their countries. A massive Covid-19 wave has been surging through the mainland, but January 8 reopening plans are still in place allowing a huge tourism demographic of Chinese tourists to flock to holiday destinations worldwide. But not only that! China is threatening countermeasures against any country that places restrictions on Chinese travellers, the Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, said yesterday at a daily briefing.
“We believe that the entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting China lack scientific basis, and some excessive practices are even more unacceptable. We are firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate the Covid measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity.”
Several countries have planned special requirements or restrictions for fear of a Covid resurgence with the arrival of Chinese tourists. The United States, Canada, and Australia are all requiring at least a Covid test before boarding flights. South Korea, India, Japan and many countries in Europe have implemented similar measures. Morocco, on the other hand, has banned all people from China for the foreseeable future.
The governments of other countries point to the lack of transparency and clear infection data coming out of China as reports suggest millions of people have been infected in the last few weeks. China’s National Health Commission says they have been open and met with the World Health Organisation twice last month to submit data and information on treatment, vaccination, and the overall Covid situation.
China had some of the strictest lockdown and control measures in the world throughout the pandemic but suddenly eased restrictions, leading to a widespread surge.
The threat of retaliation against countries that impose restrictions on Chinese citizens is a bit ironic as China has consistently had one of the most stringent processes for people to enter their country. They currently require a mandatory 5-day isolation period upon arrival and three days at home in self-isolation, though they plan to drop it on Sunday, January 8. But a negative Covid test within 48 hours of a flight will still be required.
Other countries have responded to China’s tough talk. The US said they were following public health and science and there was no need for retaliation. The Prime Minister of France said the government is doing its duty to protect the French people. Austria and Belgium plan on testing wastewater from all planes arriving from China.
Sweden is pushing for travel restrictions and, acting as the rotating head of the European Union, has called for a unified policy across the EU. And in the UK, Transport Secretary Mark Harper says their testing policy is in place because China hasn’t shared data.
“The policy for arrivals from China is primarily about collecting information that the Chinese government is not sharing with the international community.”
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