Why Tourist Visa Problems in China Could F a Lot of Businesses

Monday, June 9, 2008 4:13
Posted in category Uncategorized

Following the completion of my Z Visa update post, I realized that I needed to write one on the tourist visa as well.  To be honest, this is the visa that I think over doing it could potentially create much more havoc on China and its economy than either the changes in the F or the Z.

Why do I say this?  Its simple.  Not providing F visas to off the books workers, or Z visas to people under 25, really didn’t hit the critical mass in terms of foreigners.  the vast majority of foreigners working in China were on the right visa, students were largely unaffected, and pure tourists were also untouched by any of the Z or F.  So, for the 5% of people who were affected by those changes,  a pretty crappy process of moving on begun.  Either that meant finding a new job that would provide a visa, or it meant moving to HK, some real hardship was doled out.

But again, it didn’t hit the critical mass.

the changes in the toursit visas though, that is a different story, and it is a process that I think could have far wider consequences for China, economically, politically, and in the media.

A quick read through Shanghaiist, China Briefing, and China Herald will provide some background and examples, but a recent trip to the CITIC Starbucks in Shanghai was all I needed. Unlike the typical line than used to force me to considering walking the 200 meters to the next Starbucks… the line was only 2-3 deep… and unlike a typical day where I would have to experience that akward hovering to find out which seat was coming up next… there were plenty of cushy chairs waiting for me…  It was odd, and it is something I am beginning to see more and more.

More importantly than a trip to Starbucks though, I am beginning to hear more and more that business people are having “visa problems”, that events in Shanghai are being canceled due to security, that conferences are being rescheduled, and so on.

It is here that I see clouds forming over the horizon for China’s long term.  Short term – many of these changes are understandable in the greater context of security, but the problem is that the net is too large and the holes too small, and a lot of people who are not threats of any kind are being caught up in this. Long term this turns into a problem as over zealous media, bloggers, congressmen, businessmen all start turning this into an anti-west/ China nationalist pullback … when I don’t think that is the real intention.

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7 Responses to “Why Tourist Visa Problems in China Could F a Lot of Businesses”

  1. yd says:

    June 9th, 2008 at 8:10 am

    “Long term this turns into a problem as over zealous media, bloggers, congressmen, businessmen all start turning this into an anti-west/ China nationalist pullback … when I don’t think that is the real intention.”

    I think this can happen any moment now, that mainstream media will start to write about the changed visa policies and the unwelcoming attitude of China towards foreign visitors of the games.
    I wonder what the Chinese answer will be …

    The interesting thing is that Chinese government up till now quotes ‘security reasons’ for explaining the visa restrictions.
    However it seems security reasons only apply to foreign visitors, not to Chinese?

  2. NextStopVietnam says:

    June 16th, 2008 at 5:49 am

    This new visa environment is mostly about emigration and taxation, not about security. Enhanced security at the Olympics is just a happy by-product and convenient justification for the clamp down on foreigners. Had to happen eventually, I guess. Of course, the Chinese government has done it in such a way as to maximise the damage to China’s image.

    Who cares what Joe Sixpack in Chicago thinks about China? He will forget about China as soon as the NFL season starts. The real damage has been done by hurting the foreigners living in China, especially in Hong Kong. We are the ones who always defended China: “don’t worry about human rights issues, they are going in the right direction”. So then Beijing decides to hurt our businesses. Guess what people are saying now? China Plus One Strategy. Next stop, Vietnam.

  3. sumanth says:

    June 17th, 2008 at 3:16 am

    hi i got f visa multilple for 6 months at chinese embassy in India at newdelhi on june 4 and i travelled to china on 13 june and 14 noon i reached china and then they have deported me for no reason i dont know the reason till now and i face many problems while coming back realling can anyone suggest me what to do

  4. John Kemper says:

    June 21st, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    where did u enter china? can you provide some details prior to your deportation? J

  5. Ronald says:

    July 18th, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Just ridiculous, absolutely foolish. Everyone will remember such a blazen about face that China has done regarding welcoming the world. Joe Sixpack will Always remember that. Too bad he will not remember scenes of the Great Wall

  6. Brett says:

    July 28th, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I have traveled to China on business probably 40 times in the last 7 or 8 years. 6 weeks ago I was refused a visa because my sponsor had not applied to the Foreign Affairs Department in China for a visit visa. This was incredible because my sponsor was the Central Bank and the Shanghai Bankers Association. I subsequently missed the keynote address commitment I had at the Shanghai conference I was due to attend.

    These practices are illogical and serve mostly to damage China’s image, and actually don’t positively enhance security unless you consider preventing legitimate business persons from entering China. As usual, China’s myopic, introspective politic has completely screwed their image off-shore and not just with westerners. Ask Hong Kong businessmen who use type F or Z visas for business about how they feel about their friends up north.

    It is a disaster.

  7. Karl says:

    September 3rd, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I was welcomed here by a legitimate China based company, and was refused to prolong my F VISA. If I would have been able to prolong it, the longest period of time would be 3 months.

    The Olympics is allready over. What are they so afraid of? Limiting the amount of foreigners in China is like taking three steps back in the process of integrating China with the rest of the world.

    I think they are shit-scared of that foreign critisism of China will threaten the national stability, but if isolating the country even further can hardly be regarded as an effective way of future stability.

    Hey! We’re here to do business, learn about your culture and to learn your language. Don’t keep us out!