Since the outbreak of Covid 19 in China in 2020, the Chinese government has adopted a series of travel restrictions for the public. This policy was in place until May this year and continues to be reinforced by the resurgence of the pandemic in Shanghai.
On May 12, China’s National Immigration Administration posted on various platforms that it was “strictly restricting unnecessary outbound activities of Chinese citizens,” stating that this was “in line with the prevention and control of the pandemic.” The upcoming regulations suggest that there will be stricter restrictions on the movement and approval of citizens entering and leaving China.
Since the pandemic’s start, the Chinese government’s response has been different from the “Living with Covid” of Europe, with the “Zero-Covid Policy” being the ongoing goal in the region. The release of this policy has also significantly increased the anxiety of Chinese netizens, and the official line between “necessity and non-necessity” has not yet been drawn.
In recent years, in response to the trend of “study abroad” and “immigration” in China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has said in response to questions from journalists that China is a country where people come and go freely. In this case, it was also quoted again and questioned by netizens.
NOWNESS, a leading Chinese internet media channel, published an article on May 17 asking whether humans live for necessity, or do they live for non-necessity. This article immediately generated a strong debate on the topic upon its release. In response, officials quickly turned on restrictions on online comments.
In fact, at a press conference on May 23 on the joint prevention and control mechanism of the Chinese State Council. Liu Haitao, Chief of Border Control of the Immigration Bureau, suggested that in the current international situation, the risk of being infected with the virus for international travel is high and proposed the measure as a protection for the life and health of citizens.
He also reminded the audience that urgent matters such as business activities, academic communication, and medical treatment will be approved. The Chinese government does not encourage individuals to travel abroad to visit relatives and other personal affairs.
On June 1, after more than 60 days of closure, the government of the People’s Republic of China announced that Shanghai had fully started to resume work and production. However, according to feedback from Shanghai netizens on social media, there are still many places where you need to have a nuclear acid certificate to enter and exit, and not all premises are open. In addition, restrictions on travel abroad for residents remain very strict.
In summary, countries worldwide responded in different ways to the long-term plight of the global pandemic. Looking at Chinese society, a long-term lockdown is foreseen under the influence of the “Zero-Covid Policy”, and a new era of travel restrictions is about to dawn.
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