In recent weeks there has been a lot of confusion and discussion about the rules for applying for a Chinese
visa. Although few public announcements have been made, more and more stories have emerged from people having difficulty in getting hold of a visa. In particular (short stay working) ‘F’ visas have been tough to come by.
Bob may be a little slow in picking up on this story, but has been well and truly caught up in the confusion. For weeks now colleagues in Shanghai have been trying to advise Bob about whether it will be possible to acquire an F visa for a working trip this summer, which will coincide with a spell in Beijing for the Olympic Games.
The Chinese Embassy in London have been particularly opaque: the website contains no update since April, the telephone number does not appear to work (or is constantly engaged) and an email enquiry into the current length of stay F visas are being granted for brought the response, “The information you require can be found on our website”. Really?
Getting to Beijing this summer could be harder for Olympic fans than for Oscar Pistorius at this rate. In fact Bob is beginning to think that it may be easier to get some running spikes and work on making one qualifying for Team GB.
No such worries will befall families of athletes, who will not require a visa to enter China. Maybe Bob could marry an athlete…?
These restrictions seem like a very effective way of deterring and alienating potential visitors to China’s showcase. Rumours from colleagues in Shanghai also suggest that travel on public transport may be restricted into and around Beijing to anyone not possessing a ticket to an Olympic event. You can’t help but fear than such bureaucracy and control will feed into the hands of anyone with reservations over China’s Olympic credentials, and could mar a spectacular event. However Bob does not wish to fan the flames of speculation too much at this stage…
On a final lighter note, Danwei has summarised BOGOC’s guidelines about the kinds of foreigners who will not be welcome in China for the Olympics as:
“No hookers, pimps, dealers, terrorists, activists, revolutionaries, missionaries, demonstrators, pornographers, gun nuts, maniacs, sufferers of mental diseases, carriers of infectious diseases, poisonous snake collectors, beggars or drunkards.”