When Can International Students Return to China: Analysis from the Latest COVID-19 Situation in China and the Speech from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This article will show you the return situation faced by international students in an all-round way and predict the return time, hoping to be useful to you!

It has been more than one and half a year since the first outbreak of COVID-19. China has changed from the center of the virus to a "safety island" away from the global pandemic. Meanwhile, international students who have been stranded in their hometowns have not received any news of returning to Chinese universities. Some international students have graduated online, while some are about to be enrolled online. So how long will online classes last? When will China complete its vaccination program and open its borders to international students? What is the latest signal from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs? What should international students do to prepare for returning to China?

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No one can assure you when overseas students will return to China, but it does not mean that the situation of international students is not concerned. This article will show you the return situation faced by international students in an all-round way and predict the return time, hoping to be useful to you:

 

Part #1: The Trend of China's Entry Policy Since the Outbreak of COVID-19

Part #2: Response of the Chinese MFA on the Return of Foreign Students to China

Part #3: Current Situation of COVID-19 Prevention and Control in China

Part #4: Possibility of Returning to China in Autumn 2022

Part #5: What Can International Students Do to Prepare for Returning to China?

Part #6: Are Chinese Universities Still Worth to Apply for as China Does not Open Its Borders?


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Part #1: The Trend of China's Entry Policy Since the Outbreak of COVID-19

Since the announcement on the temporary suspension of entry by foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits from March 26, 2020, international students have never stopped asking for information about the opening of China's border. When can international students return to China? Let's review the changes in China's border policy and try to find some rules.

March 26, 2020 Announcement: Novel coronavirus pneumonia has been spreading rapidly worldwide since China decided to suspend foreign entry visas and residence permits for foreigners from March 28, 2020.

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At the end of July 2020, South Korea and China reached an agreement on issuing visas to South Korean students and employees with valid residence permits.

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This is the first time that China has relaxed visa restrictions on specific countries since the outbreak of COVID-19. The success of the Korean epidemic prevention has played an important role in breaking China's previous visa policy.

In mid-August 2020
, China announced that people from relevant European countries holding relevant valid residence permits in China (work, private affairs, and reunion residence permits) can apply for visas to China.


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From September 28, 2020, China has further expanded the scope of foreigners allowed to enter China with valid residence permits.

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Starting from the middle of March 2021, China may provide visas to foreigners in some countries who get Chinese vaccines with proof. 

When can international students return to China? This remains to be a question.

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From the changes of China's visa policy, we can see that:

1. China's border policy has been constantly adjusted with the changes of the global pandemic situation.

2. For those countries with good epidemic prevention and control, China may give priority to opening their borders.

3. Get vaccine made in China is beneficial to foreigners returning to China

4. China attaches great importance to epidemic prevention and control, but on the premise of ensuring safety, healthy personnel entering can be expected.

 
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Part #2: Response of the Chinese MFA on the Return of Foreign Students to China

First of all, let's review what the Chinese MFA has said since 2020 when talking about the return of international students to China.

 
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It is not difficult to see that Indian students among international students have the highest voice for returning to China. According to the report published by Indian media in October 2019, among 23,000 Indian students studying in China, more than 21,000 are studying for the MBBS program. The training of medical students is inseparable from the support of laboratories and high-end medical equipment. Therefore, we can understand why Indian students are so eager to return to China to participate in offline courses.

According to informed sources, China's Ministry of Education has begun to count how many overseas international students are facing insurmountable difficulties in learning and graduation, which means that the Chinese government has begun to take measures on the entry of foreign students. At the same time, with India's higher frequency voice on the return of foreign students to China, we judge that the Chinese government will adopt the strategy of recalling students by batches, majors and grades, and give priority to medical students in the bottleneck.

In addition, if the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not mention the time, methods, requirements, and other specific information of international students returning to China in their speech, then don't expect that will happen within the next semester. When can international students return to China? China is not ready to answer this question yet.

 
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Part #3: Current Situation of COVID-19 Prevention and Control in China

As of early August 2021, Delta Variant Virus has spread in more than 130 countries around the world, and China has not been spared. Since the end of May 2021, there have been dozens or even hundreds of newly confirmed cases in China every day, distributed in more than half of China's provinces. Delta virus has strong transmission power, is more suitable for the human body, fast replication, make the recovery of patients slow, requires long treatment time, and is prone to severe diseases.

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Delta led to the rapid tension of the epidemic situation in China! All localities have urgently upgraded epidemic prevention and control measures, carried out nucleic acid testing on all people in infected cities day and night, and isolated close contacts. While the epidemic in China is rampant, floods caused by heavy rains have also hit many cities in this country. 

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The Chinese people are struggling to cope with multiple difficulties and fighting against natural disasters in unity. At the same time, the damage of other types of Variant Viruses should not be underestimated. That is, the calm Chinese mainland has been swept into the storm of the outbreak again, which will undoubtedly delay the return of international students to China and the chances of international students returning to China in 2021 are slim to none. So when can international students return to China? Not in 2021!

 

Part #4: Possibility of Returning to China in Autumn 2022

Entering China in March 2022 also seems to be impossible, then what about September 2022?

Previously, China's domestic disease control experts stressed that the herd immune barrier can be formed only when the universal vaccination rate reaches 80%, that is, more than 1 billion Chinese people should be vaccinated, and this goal is expected to be achieved by the end of 2021, which seems to be good news for international students.

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In addition, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is also a good signal for international students to return to China. Relevant reports show that during the Winter Olympics, BOCOG will have corresponding COVID-19 prevention requirements, standards, and measures for athletes, team officials, technical officials, event broadcasting teams, volunteers, and other different groups. 41 designated medical and health institutions are also ready. At present, China is confident to ensure the safe holding of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The success of this event will certainly enable China to gain more experience in epidemic prevention & control, and will also increase the confidence of Chinese universities to recall international students.

In conclusion and combination with the previous discussion on Indian medical students returning to China, we judge that a small number of international students will be approved to enter China to complete the necessary studies in the autumn of 2022. If the relevant international students receive the return notice from China before the summer vacation in 2022, this prediction will be regarded as successful; On the contrary, if China still does not release any notice of returning to school by the end of summer vacation in 2022, this prediction will be a failure, and the hope of international students returning to school in 2022 autumn will be dashed again.

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It has to be admitted that China is one of the countries that have made the most efforts and the most stringent in combating the epidemic. The Chinese government has invested incomparable human, material, and financial resources to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, all of which stem from the idea of life first. China will do whatever it takes to protect people’s lives and health, while most Chinese people are also willing to contribute to the overall interests of the country. Once a serious epidemic occurs in any city in China, even local Chinese students themselves will be forced to suspend offline classes and participate in online classes only. Therefore, if the COVID-19 continues uncontrollable, for the sake of the safety of the international students and the health of the Chinese people, the Chinese government will not open China's doors easily.

If your major belongs to language, liberal arts, business, education, economics, and other majors with less strong demand for offline courses, you'd better be mentally prepared for online classes until graduation.

But on the bright side, let's keep looking forward to the global pace of vaccine injection surpassing the pace of virus mutation and the invention of specific drugs! When can international students return to China? The autumn of 2022 is worth looking forward to!

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Part #5: What Can International Students Do to Prepare for Returning to China?

Tip 1: Spread the correct and scientific anti-epidemic concept and practice to ensure your own health. A seriously-ill or dead you may never return to campus.

Tip 2: Get the vaccine produced in China if you have the right to choose.

Tip 3: Adjust your mood and work harder than offline learning. If you want to know how to improve the efficiency of online learning, please refer to this article.

Tip 4: If offline classes are not necessary for you, be prepared to take online classes all the time. If offline classes are necessary, continue to reflect your demands to the school.

Tip 5: From the moment you receive the instruction to return to Chinese school until you arrive at the campus to participate in the normal offline class, there may be more than a dozen steps to go through which will even last for several months. For all this, I hope you are mentally prepared and patient.

Tip 6: Air tickets during the epidemic will never be cheap, and isolation fees after returning to China may also be very expensive. For these, I hope you will be also prepared.

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Part #6: Are Chinese Universities Still Worth to Apply for as China Does not Open Its Borders?

If you are ready for online classes and the major you want to study doesn't have a strong demand for offline classes, Chinese universities are still your best choice, as long as your country recognizes the degree obtained from online education caused by the epidemic. The reasons are as follows:

Reason 1: Most Chinese universities have not stopped online enrollment, and some even reduced the tuition and other fees. Fewer students are applying for Chinese universities than before, so you have a better chance and more options.

Reason 2: Especially if you can get some scholarships, you will save a lot of expenses including air tickets, accommodation, tuition, living expenses, etc.

Reason 3: Distance education in Chinese universities has reached a new level during the epidemic, and the quality of online teaching will get better and better.

Reason 4: The corresponding supporting facilities of online courses are being built rapidly. I believe that when you graduate, the workflow of remote graduation audit and graduation certificate issuance will become mature.

Reason 5: If China opens its borders before you graduate, you will be safer and more at ease when you go to China than go to most of the other countries.

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If the major you want to study requires offline learning, you'd better give priority to applying for your domestic universities, so you will face fewer unknown factors. If you must study abroad, choose a high-quality university in a country with good epidemic prevention measures and results. Good epidemic prevention shows that a country is controllable, rational, and powerful. The reason for choosing a high-quality university is those good universities are relatively more responsible for students and has the ability to strive for more reasonable resources for their students at some unknown critical moments. The impact of COVID-19 will continue in the next 3 years and we can not guarantee when a country's border will be opened or closed. Therefore, what we need to do is to choose a reliable country and school to reduce the risks we will face. But again, on the bright side, let's keep looking forward to the global pace of vaccine injection surpassing the pace of virus mutation and the invention of specific drugs!

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No matter which country you are in, I wish you success in epidemic prevention and higher education. Believe in science and the future!

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