Hello again for Tuesday 7th December and another week closer to 2022. Will it be much different from this year? Probably not. Today’s topic is for those who find China, its laws and regulation hard to understand or get a handle on. It should not be taken as gospel or factual, just one interpretation which may make life easier here. Or not.
This short article was born from a discussion with a friend over comments various people had made re difficulties in entering China and the uncertainty around whether China was actually open slowly opening or closed tight. A little ironic given last Thursday and our photo gallery of the human cost to the closing of the Mainland and Hong Kong border.
As we have mentioned many times before, this is also not helped by mainstream media’s spin on China Covid stories, lock downs, restrictions etc. However, being frank, these past 3 or so weeks it has been hard to know just what is happening as policy has been changing, from lose, to tight to lose again. Speaking from a purely Beijing perspective, it does rather depend on where you are and where you want to go.
Here in Shunyi we have not seen much change since December 2020 when we had a major scare and several living areas were mass tested and locked down. For 24 hours. Once the all clear was given it was relatively business as usual. Circa October November this year China suffered a series of community Delta outbreaks which did result in some cities or provinces closing their borders. Several districts in Beijing were infected. They too were closed off. As of today’s date, things have been relaxed in many places. But, if you were heading into the CBD or Government area, then expect strict testing, full health check and travel history QR code scans.
When times are good then local authorities be it border control, Gvt officials or whoever is overseeing things tend to take a more relaxed approach to legislation. When things are not so rosy or in times of crisis they are less inclined to take risks. It is a fluid arrangement, or, as our headline suggests, many shades of grey.
This may be hard for many visitors or want to be, to fully understand. Maybe they are used to their own, rigid, black and white set of rules, laws and regulations. But to, us, and we stress, this is just our impression after 20 years of living in the system, many “Laws” in China are couched more as guidelines than commandments set in stone and reinforced concrete. It is then up to each individual local or provincial Gvt official to interpret them the way she sees best.
She of course will be looking at things through her local lens, assessing applications, whether it be for business licences, JV or visa application in light of what is best for her province or city. If you were a major businessman with potential to invest millions in the province, she may likely favour your application over someone who is here as a visitor. This is not unusual. Many countries, NZ for example, have such “special areas or exemptions” included in their immigration or visa policy where wealthy donors can cut through the months long wait and have everything waiting for them the second they touch down in their private jet.
So, that is our sixpence worth for today, as and when something major happens re China, Covid, borders or visas we will bring it to you.
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