students travel to China
To date, most foreigners are unable to return to China. Source: Anthony Wallace/AFP

When can international students travel to China? Thousands have been waiting since March 2020 to return to their respective universities in China. Their requests for a timeline of their return have largely been met with silence from the authorities. 

According to Time, an adviser to China’s government said he hopes the country will gradually loosen its strict approach to containing COVID-19 after hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics. China’s State Council Henry Wang Huiyao was quoted saying that a closer collaboration between Washington, Beijing and the World Health Organisation could help reopen his country.

The world’s second-largest economy has a zero-COVID policy, and most foreigners are unable to travel to the country.  

He called for more coordinated action on controlling the outbreak. “There’s a lack of leadership on the global fighting of the pandemic,” said Wang, president of the Centre for China and Globalisation, said in an interview from the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore. “There’s a need for having that so we can facilitate travel, the movement of people, and even for Chinese government officials to visit other countries.”

The Centre for China and Globalisation president said he hopes the country’s strict approach to handling the pandemic will change and that it will gradually reopen

universities in China

Two universities in China could allow international students to return to campus, said reports. Source: Wang Zhao/AFP

When can students travel to China: A long wait

The South China Morning Post recently reported that two universities in China could allow international students to return to campus. Duke Kunshan University and New York University Shanghai have reportedly sent out emails saying students could be allowed back in time for next semester, said the report. 

Currently, there has been no official announcement on when China’s borders will reopen to international students. China will be hosting the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which will take place between February 4 and 20, followed by the Winter Paralympics from March 4 to 13.

The easing of border restrictions could be unlikely before then. Wang said he hoped they would “see something happening” after the Beijing Olympics. Last week, Bloomberg reported Hong Kong’s border with mainland China could reopen with limited capacity in January.