China Suspends Issuing Passports

By Alex Wu
Alex Wu
Alex Wu
Alex Wu is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights, and international relations.
August 6, 2021 Updated: August 6, 2021

The Chinese communist regime announced on July 30 that it would stop issuing passports to Chinese citizens indefinitely while repeatedly stressing it was an anti-pandemic measure. However, outside of China, many have queried what the real motive might be in restricting people’s mobility.

On Wednesday, Liu Haitao, director of Border Inspection Management of the Chinese regime’s Immigration Administration, said at a Chinese State Council press conference, “China will strengthen entry and exit management at ports and borders, strictly prevent the import of epidemics, and strengthen various measures.”

One of the measures was to “strictly restrict the cross-border movement of non-emergency and non-essential people.”

Liu said, “The Immigration Administration will temporarily not issue passports and other entry and exit permits for non-essential and non-emergency exit reasons.”

However, the regime did not specify when the issuing of passports would resume.

Some Chinese citizens claimed that the strict control of passports actually started several months before the official announcement was made and had already been affecting the lives of citizens.

As early as April, a mainland citizen posted on popular Chinese website “Douban” that he needed to update his passport to handle overseas business for foreign clients, but was rejected.

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), the suspension is a blanket ban, as there’s no specification of how to define essential and emergency or non-essential and non-emergency, and that passport applications based on various reasons have all been denied.

Overseas Chinese citizens’ passport renewals have also been denied, such as at the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles.

Epoch Times Photo
A person stands in front of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, California on July 23, 2020. (Philip Pacheco/AFP via Getty Images)

Some analysts believe that pandemic prevention is only an excuse and the regime is using this to further tighten its control of Chinese people.

Chinese current affairs commentator Fang Yuan told RFA that the suspension of non-emergency entry and exit documents may have something to do with the pandemic, but it is not the main reason. He believes that the regime sees it as a necessary means for control to concentrate resources to deal with the trade war against the United States.

Teng Biao, a legal scholar in the United States, said that the action of the Chinese regime’s Immigration Bureau violates China’s own law that protects the basic rights of citizens, including obtaining a passport and being able to travel.

Teng believes that pandemic prevention is only an excuse for the government to strengthen control of people’s movement and prevent the import of Western ideologies affecting Chinese people.

The Wall Street Journal reported in June, that the Chinese regime had internally decided to extend cross-border restrictions for another year for the purpose of avoiding any possible interruptions to the Beijing Winter Olympics and the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th national congress in 2022.

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