141 million entries, exits recorded in the first quarter of 2024 in China

2024-04-18 11:38:57Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The National Immigration Administration (NIA) announced at a press conference on Thursday that in the first quarter, immigration management agencies nationwide processed over 141 million traveler trips, a year-on-year increase of 117.8 percent.

Among them, trips by residents from the Chinese mainland reached 69.5 million, by residents from Hong Kong, Macao special administrative regions, and the island of Taiwan reached 59.1 million, while foreign nationals reached 13.1 million, with year-on-year increases of 114.9 percent, 100.4 percent, and 305.2 percent respectively.

In the first quarter, the NIA introduced a series of immigration and entry-exit management policy measures, including continuously optimizing regional visa-free entry, visa-free transit, and port visa policies, implementing five measures to facilitate foreigners visiting China, expanding the options for visa-free entry for nationals of certain countries to South China's Hainan Province, supporting East China's Fujian Province in building a cross-Straits integration development demonstration zone, and issuing individual tourist endorsements for travel to and from Hong Kong and Macao for eligible individuals in Xi'an in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province and Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province.

According to an immigration administration spokesperson, the number of foreigners arriving in China in the first quarter increased more than threefold compared to the same period in 2023.

The countries with the most residents coming to China included US, Australia, Canada, Germany, and the UK, but also extended to neighboring countries such as Russia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Mongolia, and Laos, as well as East Asian and Southeast Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.

Foreigners were mainly visiting for tourism, accounting for over 30 percent of arrivals, followed by business, visiting relatives and friends, work, and study.

On July 26, 2023, China resumed the 15-day visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from Singapore and Brunei for business, tourism, visiting relatives, and transit. Later on December 1, 2023, and March 14, 2024, China successively implemented unilateral visa-free policies for ordinary passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia, and Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The China-Thailand visa exemption agreement officially took effect on March 1 of this year.

As of now, a total of 989,000 foreign nationals from the above-mentioned 15 countries have entered China visa-free, showing an overall upward trend.

Additionally, in the first quarter of this year, national immigration management agencies investigated over 10,000 cases of crimes that obstructed immigration management, apprehended over 14,000 criminal suspects, of which over 12,000 were subjected to criminal coercive measures, with1,785 handled through administrative measures. A total of 213 criminal gangs were investigated, 53 transit points were dismantled, and 377 vessels involved in criminal cases were seized.

In addition, 23,000 foreign nationals were investigated for cases of illegal entry, residence, and employment, and penalties such as warnings, fines, administrative detention, and exit within a specified period were imposed in accordance with the law, with 4,551 individuals meeting the legal criteria for being deported.

Officials reported that 200 drug cases involving 256 individuals were investigated, including 38 cases involving over 10,000 grams of illicit substances, with a total seizure of 2.5 tons of various drugs and 135.6 tons of drug-making materials. 265 firearms were seized, and the value of smuggled goods intercepted amounted to 1.1 billion yuan ($150 million), the administration announced.

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