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Over 10,000 Petition to Cancel Chinese Tourists’ Visa-Free Entry Program in S. Korea’s Jeju Island

By Luo Ensi (People's Daily Online)    22:17, September 21, 2016

The beautiful scenery of Jeju Island in South Korea

South Korea’s Jeju Island may soon abandon a program allowing Chinese tourists to enter without a visa. According to a Yonhap report, due to a surge in crime committed by Chinese tourists, a petition is rapidly gaining signatures to reform Jeju’s visa law and restrict Chinese visitors.

Since 2002 when the visa-free policy took effect, over one hundred country’s citizens are permitted to stay 30 days in Jeju. However, as cases pile up involving violent Chinese tourists, Koreans have begun circulating a petition online seeking to restrict visa rights. Over 10,000 people have already signed.

The petition comes after a 50-year-old Chinese tourist stabbed a praying 61-year-old Korean woman in a chapel on September 17, 2016. Earlier this month, a group of eight Chinese tourists were arrested after they fiercely beat a restaurant owner and two others. The owner had requested the group not drink alcohol bought from outside.

In fact, of the 347 foreigners arrested this year, 240 were from China, according to the Korea Times. The number is less shocking when considering that 85.3 percent of the 2.6 million foreigners who visited Jeju in 2015 were Chinese. And this is why it is doubtful the petition will spark any change in the visa law. Chinese tourists are vital to Jeju’s tourism and hospitality industry. Restricting the inflow of visitors from China would severely damage the local economy. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Joanna Law, Bianji)

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