Chinese complain about visas to India


New Delhi : A number of Chinese nationals visiting or working in India have complained that they have trouble getting visas to this country. But Indians travelling to China have no such problem, Chinese ambassador Zhang Yan said.

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Chinese journalists covering the 78th Travel and Tourism Fair and Outbound Travel Mart that started here Thursday related complaints about endless visa delays. A Chinese woman journalist, who was covering the fair, said her nine-year-old son and a journalist friend were denied visas by the Indian embassy.

“Till last year, it was easy to get visas but from this year even travel visas are taking time. Chinese firms hire Indian employees in India, but often cannot come to Delhi to pay them because they are denied visas despite the fact that India set up a tourism and visa processing centre in China in 2008,” the journalist said. She refused to be named.

Three of her Chinese colleagues, who have been residing in India for the last 11, 8 and 10 months respectively, complained that “visa fee had increased by at least 40 percent”.

“The Indian embassy often does not return the visa fee after rejecting visa applications,” a young Chinese journalist told IANS. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

“If our Indian visa expires, we have to return to China to wait for at least six months before they are renewed,” said another young Chinese television journalist posted in India. He had to wait for 11 months for his visa.

“The delay in issuing visas and frequent rejection are putting many Chinese businessmen off. If they want to send 200 Chinese workers to India, they are unable to do it because of strict visa rules. Most Chinese investors are opting for countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh instead to make inroads into the sub-continent. It is easier,” he said.

On the other hand, ambassador Zhang said: “I am sure you can make out from the number of Indian tourists visiting China every year that procuring visa is not a major issue. The few hitches that exist can be sorted out through dialogue.

“In a bilateral relationship, two nations may not always see eye to eye, but the room for talks is always open. We always try to provide the best of services to Indian leisure and business travellers.”

The Chinese ambassador was a special invitee on the opening day of the travel and tourism fair.