China remains non-committal on the return of Indian students to their universities despite accepting that it has allowed students from South Korea and the United States. In a show of its double standard on the matter, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhai Lijian repeated China’s oft repeated stance.
In response to a question from Prsar Bharati, the Spokesperson indirectly confirmed that China allowed South Korean and US students to return. He said that he is aware of the reports on the return of students from South Korea and the US but on the matter of Indian students’ return, he said that China is looking into the matter on the basis of epidemic prevention.
China has closed its border since the beginning of the pandemic but relaxed it this year in March for certain categories which did not include students. Around 23,000 Indian students have been waiting for their return to their universities for last 18 months.
China recently urged the U.S. to reconsider its denial of study visas to more than 500 Chinese students. In the beginning of this month, the China International Student Union, an organization campaigning online for the return of foreign students to China wrote an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping drawing upon his comments in 2010, when he referred to foreign students as “forever, a friend of China”. The letter drew attention to the precarious situation of these “forever friends of China” that only China can remedy.
On the issue of visa denial to Chinese students, Chinese Foreign Ministry has said China had lodged stern representations with the U.S. over the matter and urged the U.S. to correct the mistakes and reconsider the visa applications. However, on the issue of the return of foreign students to China, Foreign Ministry maintains a deafening silence.