Foreigners living in China in 2023 return to 85% of 2019 levels; simplified border measures to facilitate more foreign visitors: NIA

(Global Times) 14:22, January 18, 2024

Tourists wait to pass through immigration at Beijing's Capital International Airport.File Photo:Xinhua

Tourists wait to pass through immigration at Beijing's Capital International Airport. File Photo: Xinhua

The number of foreign citizens living in China has recovered to 85 percent of 2019 levels, China’s National Immigration Administration (NIA) announced on Thursday, revealing that immigration authorities across China issued 711,000 resident permits for foreigners in 2023.

It is believed that with simplified border procedures, 24-hour visa-free transitions and other measures to facilitate foreign visitors, the number will continue to rise, NIA spokesperson Zhang Ning said at a Thursday press conference.

A total of 424 million inbound and outbound trips were made in 2023, up 266.5 percent year-on-year recovering to 67 percent of 2019 levels. Among them, 206 million were made by mainland residents, and 183 million by residents from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions. Some 35.5 million were made by foreigners, recovering to 36 percent of 2019 levels, Zhang said.

China issued 184 million passports, 86.09 million travel documents for Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan regions in 2023. Some 1.7 million visas were issued to foreigners, up 158.3 percent year-on-year.

More than 4.8 million mainland residents enjoyed the convenience of "nationwide access" endorsement for travel to Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, saving 8.88 billion yuan ($1.25 billion) in transportation costs. Some 19,000 high-caliber professionals from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area were granted endorsements for travel to Hong Kong and Macao regions, facilitating the flow of talent, according to Zhang.

In 2023, China addressed 58,000 border-related criminal infringements, resulting in the arrest of 109,000 suspects, the dismantling of 2,463 gangs, and the destruction of 1,517 transition hideouts. Notably, 232 major cases led to the detention of 5,556 suspects and 596 gang ringleaders.

Some foreigners involved in illegal entry, illegal residence, and illegal employment were lawfully dealt with. They were punished according to legal provisions, including warnings, fines, administrative detention, and ordered departure within time limit. Among them, 26,000 individuals were deported.

China's border management in 2023 identified 35,000 illegal crossings, leading to the apprehension of over 32,000 individuals involved in cross-border crime including gambling and fraud. Over 80,000 firearms, explosives, 8.5 tons of drugs, 949 tons of drug materials, and smuggled goods valued at 760 million yuan were seized.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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