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Strict border controls characterize first half of 2021

By Aybek Askhar | | Updated: 2021-07-30 20:40
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Border control violations showed a sharp rise in the first half of 2021 as tighter management has been implemented along China's borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to statistics from the National Immigration Administration released on Friday.

Immigration police across the country found 8,419 cases and arrested more than 21,000 suspects involved in border control violations, a year-on-year increase of 220 and 271 percent respectively.

"Recently, the confirmed COVID-19 cases have seen an obvious rebound abroad, so we have strengthened our efforts on border control and intensified cooperation with neighboring countries to curb the spread of the virus," administration spokesman Chen Jie said.

The administration issued more than 380,000 stay permits or residence permits for foreigners, and caught 85,000 people illegally entering or exiting the border. A total of 31,000 foreigners were found to have illegally entered, stayed or worked in China without any documentation.

With the strict border control, immigration police solved a large number of smuggling cases, especially those related to drug trafficking . According to Chen, in the first six months of this year, more than 5.6 metric tons of illegal drugs were seized in 578 cases.

The administration has tightened passport issuance rules for domestic applications due to the current situation of the pandemic, and is only issuing passports or other travel certifications to Chinese citizens if it is absolutely necessary.

The administration has also suspended visa approval for people from high-risk pandemic areas, even if they qualify for visa-free entry.

According to Chen, 335,000 passports have been issued across the country in the first half of the year, mainly for overseas students and people who work and do business abroad. The number is only 2 percent of the passports issued in the same period in 2019.

"The administration has issued an urgent passport application service for those who are going to help with pandemic prevention abroad, as well as the people who need to go abroad to resume their business, and their application could be approved within 24 hours," Chen said.

"We have a 12367 hotline which provides 24-hour multilingual service for those who want to know our border control policies, and in the first half of the year, 99.5 percent of questions collected from the hotline were answered."

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