China will allow Sri Lankan students to return

Sri Lankan students allowed to travel to China
Sri Lankan students are now permitted to enter China, starting with two groups that have been finalised to return to the country, according to an announcement by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Beijing. Source: Jewel Samad/AFP

After two years of waiting, Sri Lankan students are now the latest cohort of international students permitted to travel to China to resume their studies on campus. The announcement came via an official media release by the Sri Lankan Embassy in China on April 21, 2022. 

The statement mentioned that the Chinese Embassy in Colombo has “finalised two groups of students” to travel to China, although no number has been specified at the time of writing. “The Embassy will continue with its efforts to enable all students to return to their studies,” it said. 

The welcome news comes amid a devastating economic crisis that has caused nationwide food shortages, 12-hour power cuts, food scarcity, and a lack of medical resources in the island nation. Sri Lankan students abroad report facing financial struggles to keep up with the study costs as inflation hit an all-time high in their home country, with some having to make the difficult decision to forfeit their studies

Those returning to China to continue their education will need to weather the challenging situation of leaving their families behind in an increasingly untenable situation, a predicament shared by many Sri Lankan students overseas.

Travel to China: No news on Indian students’ return 

Sri Lankan students allowed to travel to China

Some 23,000 Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities are still awaiting news of the possibility of an imminent return. Source: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP

As Sri Lankan students brace for a gradual re-entry into China, Indian students are left wondering if their continuous pleas and campaigns for a return will finally be heard. Around 23,000 Indian students, most of whom are studying medicine, have been pressing for the Indian and Chinese governments to arrive at a concrete action plan with a clear timeline for a return date. 

Indian medical students locked out of China risk losing years of their hard work, as the National Medical Commission of India has declared that it won’t recognise or approve medical courses done entirely online. Online courses have been ineffective for many, who can’t reap the full benefit of their education. 

“We were forced to come back from China in January 2020. It’s been two years since we have been attending online classes. We don’t have any recognition of whether the Indian government will accept us with these online classes,” Murshid Aleen, a fourth-year medical student at Yangzhou University, told ANI News

Sri Lankan students allowed to travel to China

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had reportedly assured that he would speak to the authorities concerned regarding the plight of Indian medical students who are unable to return to their campuses in China for practical clinical training. Source: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP

Earlier in March, it was reported that India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar has raised the plight of Indian students to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the latter’s visit to Delhi. 

“Minister Wang Yi assured me that he would speak to the relevant authorities on his return on this matter. He also recognised the particular concerns that medical students have in this difficult situation,” Jaishankar was quoted saying. 

No further development permitting Indian students to travel to China has been reported since the meeting.