China Denies Clipping Citizens’ Passports, Foreign Resident Cards as Rules Tightens for Going Abroad

The Chinese communist regime has denied that Chinese border police are clipping citizens’ passports and resident cards issued by foreign governments to prevent people leaving after an increasing number of videos showing such actions were seen circulating on Chinese social media.

China’s National Immigration Administration recently issued a statement to tighten control of Chinese citizens’ “non-essential” travel abroad in the name of pandemic control.

In the statement issued on May 12, the regime announced that Xu Ganlu, vice minister of public security and director of the National Immigration Administration, had required the restriction of issuance and approvals of passports and exit documents to Chinese citizens to strictly limit their “unnecessary” trips leaving the country for COVID-19 pandemic control in a meeting two days earlier.

The immigration control measures immediately caused a stir on the Internet, with some netizens remarking: “The seclusion of the country has really begun!”

On May 13, in response to the viral videos, the immigration administration denied that it was “suspending passports” and “cutting off corners of green cards.” The administration again emphasized the need to minimize unnecessary cross-border activities.

Customs offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou also issued statements denying that officers have cut corners of Chinese citizens’ travel documents.

beijing-international-airport
Travellers are seen at the Beijing Daxing International Airport on the first day of Labour Day holiday, in Beijing, China, on May 1, 2021. (Tingshu Wang/File Photo/Reuters)

The policy is a heavy blow to the recently popular “run movement,” where more and more Chinese are emigrating from China to Western countries. Such sentiment has left many Chinese questioning the regime’s official statements.

A netizen named “Spring Willow Branch” said in a post on social media, “I don’t understand why it’s necessary to restrict people from leaving the country because of the pandemic? [If it’s for pandemic control purposes], what should be restricted is entry rather than exit from the country.”

Another netizen shared a screenshot on social media showing a security notice erected in Shanghai Pudong airport that read: “Anyone who has hatred for the country and the party [the ruling Chinese Communist Party] will not be allowed to leave the country.”

Another notice read, “Anyone who has a malicious motive to leave the country, their documents and ID will be destroyed on the spot.”

A passenger sits on her luggage watching the passenger airplanes
A passenger sits on her luggage watching the passenger airplanes parked on the tarmac after all flights has been canceled at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, on July 25, 2021. (Andy Wong/AP Photo)

Speaking of the situation at the airport, a netizen posted, “Pudong Airport is full of stranded people, homeless, unable to take their flights, and unable to return.”

In a social media thread titled, “Discussion on Going to the United States,” one post showed a mother with a U.S. green card (permanent resident card) accompanying her child who has U.S. citizenship trying to leave Guangzhou airport for the United States. Her green card was forcibly cut by customs staff leaving her unable to leave the country. Many more people experienced the same treatment.

In addition to restricting Chinese from going abroad, the regime has also tightened the control of investment emigration from China to foreign countries. A screenshot of an official document has been circulating on social media since May 1, in which the regime orders its notary offices to completely suspend notarization for foreign investments.

Lai Jianping, a Chinese lawyer current living in Canada, told The Epoch Times, “The Chinese regime has no legal basis to restrict citizens going abroad in the name of pandemic prevention. I don’t think it has anything to do with the pandemic, but shows the regime is disconnecting from the world.”

Dong Guangping, a rights activist and former policeman in mainland China, told The Epoch Times on May 12 that this behavior by the regime has been ongoing for years, although it has now moved from targeting mainly dissidents to more of the general public.

“Many places have issued notices to strictly control people going abroad,” he said. “There is also a nationwide requirement for people to hand over passports, and to suspend elementary and middle school students applying for passports. The CCP has banned people from going abroad under various excuses such as pandemic prevention.”

According to Lai, there are three main purposes behind the regime’s new restrictions: “First, to strengthen the physical control of Chinese citizens and prevent them from fleeing mainland China. Second, it wants to reduce Chinese people’s contacts with the outside world and the West in order to better brainwash them. Third, its economy is declining now, and it is only getting worse. The regime wants to tighten its foreign exchange control to keep the extremely limited foreign exchange within the country.”

He said that the CCP directly damaging the passports of Chinese citizens, or their U.S. green cards or Canada’s Maple Leaf Cards, violates the Chinese constitution.

Since the COVID-19 lockdown started in Shanghai, causing a humanitarian crisis, the number of online searches for overseas emigration has increased dozens of times. Lai said that this also shows that many Chinese have totally lost trust in the government and are now voting with their feet.

Li Yun contributed to the report.

Alex Wu

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Alex Wu is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights, and international relations.

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