A prominent Chinese expert has said that Indian students may be allowed to return to China. In an exclusive talk with Prasar Bharati Beijing, Dr. Henry Wang, President of a prominent Chinese think tank – Centre for China and Globalization said that Indian students’ return is something which China can do. In a rare acceptance, Dr. Henry Huiyao Wang who is also a Counselor at State Council of China, said that by not allowing international students to return, China’s international image is suffering and ensuing negative public opinion is very bad for China. Dr. Wang said that China should allow them specially as the Beijing Olympics is coming up, pointing out towards the negative spillover effects due to the delay. China has been facing boycott calls for Beijing Winter Olympics which is scheduled in February next year riding on the West’s criticism of China’s human rights record on various accounts. China has been repeatedly rejecting this charge. As per media reports on Monday, a group of politicians from 11 countries from Europe and North America have called for a “diplomatic boycott” of the games.
Dr. Wang expressed concerns on the delay in the return of Indian students to China and agreed that their demands, issues, and sufferings are genuine. Around 20000 Indian students studying in China have been waiting for Chinese government’s approval for their return to China for around 17 months now to resume their studies. Students told Prasar Bharati, Beijing that from March 2020 till July 2020, both overseas and Chinese students were studying online but from August 2020 onwards, Chinese students returned to the campus while Chinese government did not allow international students despite repeated requests and frequent interactions by Indian Embassy in Beijing on the matter. On Saturday, the Ministry of External affairs of India had also tweeted asking the Indian students studying abroad but stuck in India due to COVID-19 and related issues can get in touch with the OIA-II Division.
Last September, Chinese government allowed some 50000 South Korean students to return, that too without vaccination. Some students from the US were also allowed in Shanghai but students from other countries have been badly neglected despite repeated media queries at China’s foreign ministry briefings in Beijing. Students who have completed their degrees in the last 17 months, told that university authorities are not even ready to arrange shifting of their luggage. Other students are also not getting proper information about their luggage. International students waiting for their return to China (including Indian students) have launched a campaign which is mostly online to petition the Chinese government.
Highlighting the potential and importance of collaboration between India and China, Dr. Wang said, India and China should have more student exchanges, people to people exchanges and tourism. China should have more tourists going to India. Why cannot they come back and quarantine, he wondered, reflecting on China’s set COVID protocols and its success in containing the pandemic to a large extent at home barring few recent and ongoing outbreaks. International students have maintained that they are ready to follow all the COVID protocols of Chinese government. Some decisions can be taken in this regard, Dr. Wang said. It has resulted in negative public opinion which he said, is very bad. That is really we do not want to happen.