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Visa rules 'in need of clarification'

[ 2009-10-15 14:15]     字号 [] [] []  
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Foreigners hoping to visit, study or work in China have a right to know whether the fact that they are carrying an illness could block them at the border, say activists.

The issue arose after a 25-year-old Australian man of Chinese ancestry was refused a student visa.

James Lau said he can think of no reason why the authorities would turn down his application for a student visa other than the fact he has hepatitis B. Lau said the Chinese embassy in Canberra, Australia, refused his application in July. He had hoped to travel to China to study Chinese.

"I was so disappointed because going to China has been my dream since childhood," said Lau, who quit his job in Sydney in order to travel.

Lau was not given a reason why his application was turned down, but he feels sure it must be because he declared on his application that he had Hep B.

"There couldn't be any other reason," he said. "Refusal of a student visa to China has seldom happened before."

Critics point out that China has 120 million Hep B carriers, one-third of the world's total, and say it would be absurd to refuse someone entry to the country because they have the illness.

Hao Yang, deputy director of the Disease Control and Prevention Bureau under the Ministry of Health, said China does not have a travel ban against Hep B carriers. Most Hep B-related discrimination cases happen in the workplace and in schools, Yang added.

An e-mail inquiry from China Daily to the embassy seeking clarification on why Lau's application was rejected has not been responded to.

According to the current Implementation Rules of the Law on Control of the Entry & Exit of Aliens enacted in 2004, foreigners who suffer from mental diseases, leprosy, HIV/AIDS, venereal diseases, open tuberculosis and such infectious diseases shall not be permitted to enter China.

Lau said he believed the Chinese embassy might have included Hep B in the category of "such infectious diseases".

Hep B is a blood-borne infection that is transmitted through exposure to infected blood or body fluids containing blood, according to the World Health Organization. No country has rules in place preventing carriers from entering.

The Ministry of Health said in 2007 China would lift its ban on the travel of HIV-positive foreigners. However, two years later, the country is still among about a dozen worldwide with such a ban.


1. Why had Lau hoped to travel to China?

2. Foreigners suffering from which diseases will not be permitted to enter China?

3. How is Hep B transmitted?


1. To study Chinese.

2. Mental diseases, leprosy, HIV/AIDS, venereal diseases, open tuberculosis and such infectious diseases.

3. Through exposure to infected blood or body fluids containing blood.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Visa rules 'in need of clarification'

About the broadcaster:

Visa rules 'in need of clarification'

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.