The Chinese authorities have further tightened border controls this week, announcing that they will significantly reduce unnecessary travel. The government press emphasizes that the measure is exclusively medical in nature and fits into China’s strategy of zero tolerance for covid-19, the daily Le Monde reported.
According to the French daily, the authorities are trying to discourage Chinese citizens from traveling even with a limited offer of flights whose prices have risen to dizzying heights.
A significant reduction in travel abroad by the authorities has been evident in recent months, the French daily writes. In 2021, the number of passports issued fell sharply, and as part of the party’s fight against corruption, many members of the Communist Party and public officials had to hand over their passports to the police.
Although Beijing does not want to officially ban the travel of its citizens living abroad, it is doing everything to make it significantly more difficult, the daily wrote. For example, the offer of international flights remains very limited and tickets are dizzying. In 2021, 74 million people came or went, which is 80 percent less than in 2019.
Foreign companies are also noticing problems when cooperating with Chinese partners. “We will invite executives, and eventually the director of marketing will come,” summed up his recent experience by a high-ranking French manager, according to whom travel problems increase with the growing social status of a person who wants to go abroad.
Symbolically, Chinese President Xi Jinping himself has not made any trips abroad since January 2020.
Chinese official media have also refuted information that Chinese citizens have their passport confiscated or invalidated upon arrival. According to Chinese leaders, these are false rumors that are spreading from abroad.
China is pursuing a zero-tolerance policy against Covid-19, which is based on very strict restrictions imposed by the authorities even in the event of a small number of infected. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the practice unsustainable, but Beijing rejects it.