Last Friday the Chinese embassy in The Netherlands announced new visa regulations, regulations that took effect immediately and should take effect in the rest of the world tomorrow. The biggest changes are that a tourist visa has a maximum validity of 30 days (or according to some sources 20 days) instead of maximum 3 months before. Furthermore, much more information than before is needed (hotel reservations, flight details). Also for a business visa much more information is needed. For both visa types no new multiple entry visas are given, the maximum is now a double entry visa.
Just before that, the regulation for F-visa’s was changed as well. In the past interns at Spill Group Asia came to China on a tourist visa, that was changed to an F-visa during their first week here. But that’s suddenly not possible anymore. One intern had bad luck, we had to postpone his internship until after the Olympics, when things likely will go back to normal.
It looks like these measures are directly related to the protests outside China against the Olympics. I assume the country is trying to reduce the impact of protests during the Olympics by being more strict on who can come in. It’s a pity, I initially hoped that there would be visa-upon-arrival policy during the Olympics, but the protesters now led the government to make the rules even more strict.
The protesters probably have no idea that their protests have the opposite effect of what they think that they will achieve, as most Chinese feel the outside world is treating them unfairly and only become more supportive of the government. As Paul Midler writes in his blog “The unintended consequence of global protests is that many Chinese will feel more emboldened to display extreme national pride. While China was inclined to hide its jingoistic nature so that it could play host, protests have struck a nerve and the world may have unwittingly triggered a we’ll-show-them-attitude”.
Things have changed so much since China was awarded the Olympics in 2001, I personally think this country completely deserves a successful Olympics. The protesters have no idea what is really happening here, and as I said here before most of the foreign press are the reason for this. As a Dutch journalist told me recently: positive articles just do not get published or are put in the back of newspapers, only negative ones make the it to the front page. The Chinese press may be censored, but the past weeks have taught me that the foreign press is not much better. The difference is that people all know this about the Chinese press, but don’t realize it about the foreign press.
Anyway, the new visa regulations will likely mean less tourists and business visitors to China, but I think China does not care too much. It knows that nowasdays the West needs China more than China needs the West. In the end it is the foreign tourists and business men that will be affected most. Although I should also not overrate the changes, because they are not that big, it’s just more of a hassle to get the visa. And as one commenter said on the China Herald, the Chinese visa rules are still much less strict than the regulations the Dutch have for visa for Chinese. I fully agree.