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China to ‘strictly limit’ citizens from leaving the country

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves to deputies at the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Lan Hongguang/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)
May 12, 2022

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

The Chinese Communist Party announced that it will “strictly limit” its own citizens from leaving the country as the nation continues its efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The National Immigration Authority made the announcement on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, according to Financial Times. Its statement called for “strict implementation of entrance and exit polices, [to] strictly limit non-essential outbound travel activities by Chinese citizens.”

The statement also said the approval and issuance of entry and exit documents, including passports, would be limited.

China was already warning its citizens against non-essential travel.

In April, the Biden administration warned against traveling to China “due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions.”

“Do not travel to the PRC’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Jilin province, and Shanghai municipality due to COVID-19-related restrictions, including the risk of parents and children being separated. Reconsider travel to the PRC’s Hong Kong SAR due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws,” the State Department said in a travel advisory.

At the same time, the State Department ordered all non-emergency U.S. government employees and all family members from the Consulate General Shanghai consular district “due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and the impact of restrictions related to the PRC’s response.”

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the Chinese Communist Party ardently opposed the United States travel warnings and defended China’s “scientific and effective” zero-COVID policies.

“We deplore and reject the US’ politicization and instrumentalization of the issue of personnel departure,” he said during a press briefing, according to Sky News. “The US should immediately stop attacking China’s anti-epidemic policies, stop political manipulation under the pretext of the epidemic and stop smearing China.”

“China’s anti-epidemic policy is based on science and works effectively,” he added. “We have every confidence in bringing the new wave of COVID-19 under control in Shanghai and elsewhere.”

Meanwhile, chilling videos that went viral earlier this year appeared to show starving residents of Shanghai, China screaming out of their windows and jumping to their deaths as the city of 26 million people entered its third week of strict COVID-19 lockdown. The authoritarian order banned people from leaving their apartments for any reason, forcing many to go without food and other basic living necessities for possibly weeks.