On January 19, 2021, news about an official reply about the arrangement of when foreign students could return to China from Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was released by the mainstream media in China, which soon aroused heated discussion among the public.
Premise: Compliance with Anti-Pandemic Policies
Per the news staff, regarding the specific arrangements for the return of foreign students, there are two major points announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with details as follows.
- China attaches great importance to the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign students studying in China, and requires relevant universities to maintain close contact with their students, carefully arrange online teaching, and properly handle the reasonable concerns and demands of students;
- As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is still severe, China will, on the premise of ensuring the safety of epidemic prevention, make a comprehensive study about the resumption of foreign students coming back to China, and stay concerned with all parties in this regard.
Earlier on October 26, 2020, OT-Team have consulted the Ministry of Education on the returning of foreign students to China, and the reply is that it’s recommended that all foreign students shall communicate with their schools about the actual situations.
The Reply from the Ministry of Education
Growth in the Applications for Studying in China
Based on the data, the number of foreign students applying for Sino-foreign cooperative universities has increased to varying degrees. For instance, the number of applications for the 2025 session of Duke Kunshan University has doubled compared with last year, mainly from Canada, Russia and the United Kingdom. While for the New York University Shanghai, the number of applications has also increased by 12%, among which the number of American students has increased by 6% year on year.
Anti-Epidemic Situation in China: All Under Control
Then, what is the epidemic situation in China? As per CCTV News, there were more than 2000 newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases in China in January 2021, including 45 in Beijing, 18 in Shanghai, 394 in Jilin, 619 in Heilongjiang, 938 in Hebei, 27 in Liaoning, 1 in Shandong, 4 in Shanxi, 2 in Shaanxi and 1 in Guangxi.
However, since the beginning of February, the sporadic outbreaks in many places has improved significantly, detailed as follows.
- Beijing: There has been no new local confirmed cases for 4 consecutive days;
- Shanghai: The locally transmitted cased was completely controlled within 168 hours;
- Hebei: On February 1, there was no COVID-19 infection reported in Hebei Province for the first time;
- Heilongjiang: A moderating trend was shown, and it is expected that there will be a significant improvement in the upcoming one or two weeks;
- Jilin: The epidemic has entered a downward channel and been effectively controlled.
As for the pandemic situation across the world, per Zhong Nanshan, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, with the strengthening of vaccines and restrictive measures, it is expected that the global epidemic situation will decline after March 2021, and the situation may improve by then.
Regarding the specific time of foreign students returning to China, it will depend on the epidemic situation at home and abroad. For students, please remain in close touch with your school; and OT-Team will continuously follow-up and provide feedback on the progress in a timely manner.