Visa policy in line with Olympics practice: China

By Xinhua,

Beijing : China said Tuesday its recent visa policy which has drawn strong criticism from international and business community did not mean the suspension of multiple-entry visas but the arrangements had been made in line with the Olympic pratices.

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“We made due arrangements regarding the visa applications of foreigners based on the practices of previous Olympics and other large-scale international sports events, and in light of China’s laws and regulations,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters, adding that it did not mean suspension of multiple-entry visas.

He said the arrangements have been made to ensure a safe environment. He said that did not necessarily mean that the issue of all multiple-entry visas would be suspended.

“The Chinese government and people will adhere to the opening-up policy and welcome foreigners to work, study and travel in China,” said Qin.

He said China’s visa policy was more convenient for applicants than those of many other countries. For example, China does not demand visa applicants to be fingerprinted or have their irises or corneas scanned.

According to a recent statement from the foreign ministry’s consular department, the requirements for visas can include producing invitation letters, certificates of relatives, proof of reserved accommodation and/or round-trip air tickets, based on applicants’ situations.

“China has not stopped issuing multiple-entry visas to those who meet the requirements,” it said and suggested that foreign nationals apply for visas in their country of citizenship or residence to ensure a smooth entry into China.

Meanwhile, DPA added from Hong Kong: Australia’s Foreign Minister Stephen Smith Tuesday called for clarification from Beijing on tough new visa restrictions imposed on Westerners in the run-up to the Olympics.

Speaking in Hong Kong, where thousands of expatriate business people who deal with companies in southern China have been affected, Smith called on China to explain the crackdown.

Smith, who had a breakfast meeting Tuesday with Hong Kong-based Australian business people, said: “Australia has had an Olympics recently, so we understand the general public policy motivation but it is important there is clarity.

“It is important the Chinese authorities understand the potential practical on-the-ground difficulties that it is causing. We will continue to take the issue up both here in Hong Kong and through our mission in Beijing.”

“We want to make sure there are no long-term adverse repercussions for trade and business and industry exchange between Hong Kong and China and between other nation states and China,” he added.