When the European Union starts its “EU Digital COVID Certificate” program on July 1, the Chinese regime’s embassy in France says it will retaliate against the bloc’s decision to exclude Chinese-made vaccines from the system by implementing tighter regulations on French travelers seeking to enter China.
All EU member countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, are included in the program, which will streamline information about the COVID-19 health status of travelers, such as test results, recovery status, or vaccination status, to help them move more efficiently around the bloc’s member countries, which have differing entry requirements.
Chinese-made vaccines aren’t included in the program, as they haven’t been approved for use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). However, some EU member states, such as Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, and Serbia, have individually accepted Chinese vaccines. Russian-made vaccines also aren’t recognized by the program.
The creation of the digital certificates was approved by the EU Parliament on June 9. The certification includes a QR code and is issued by individual EU nations. All EU countries are required to recognize the certificates issued by other EU countries.
In line with the EU’s decision, France implemented new entry regulations for COVID-19 on June 9. People who have been vaccinated will no longer need to provide “compelling reasons” to enter France, nor need to be quarantined. The Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines all have been approved by France.
In addition, France divides the world into three epidemic zones: green, orange, and red. China is listed as an orange area.
Current regulations require Chinese nationals to provide “compelling reasons” to enter France and then quarantine themselves for seven days after arriving, if granted entry.
The official website of the Chinese Embassy in France issued an announcement on June 14 to remind Chinese citizens of the new French regulations. A staff member in the Chinese Embassy in France told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that Beijing will implement “reciprocal sanctions,” that is, when French people enter China, China won’t recognize their vaccination with non-Chinese vaccines.
Mainland Chinese media reported the regime’s retaliatory measures against France on June 15, adding that travelers from France are required to be quarantined upon arrival for 28 days, which is much longer than France requires of Chinese nationals. The reports claimed that the China-made vaccines weren’t being accepted by France and the EU for political reasons, even as they had abeen approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). The reports said the regime’s retaliation would be “teaching France a lesson.”
France-based current affairs commentator Wang Longmeng told RFA that he believes that China’s retaliation was intended to stir up nationalist sentiments among the Chinese. He pointed out that, as one of the representatives of the regime’s “wolf diplomacy,” the Chinese ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, has frequently criticized Western countries for their calls for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19. The criticism was also posted on the Chinese Embassy’s official website.
The Chinese Embassy in France has been continually posting comments on social media in an attempt to sway public opinion against the West.
“The reciprocal treatment claimed by China is also ridiculous,” Wang said. “How will the Chinese citizens who live in France and have received Western vaccinations feel about it? Are they going to be prohibited from returning to China?”
Wang said he believes that as a major EU country, France is being responsible to its citizens by not approving the Chinese vaccines, given the reports of low efficacy and a lack of transparency surrounding the data used in clinical trials. It’s also a necessary means to contain China, as the regime is pushing its vaccine diplomacy and seeking global dominance by taking the opportunity of the pandemic, Wang said.
Erkin Azat, a Kazakh journalist living in France, praised the EU’s decision not to approve the Chinese vaccines. However, he told RFA he’s concerned that the EU’s collective policies will eventually be breached by the vaccine diplomacy of the regime in Beijing as a few EU countries that have participated in the regime’s “Belt and Road Initiative” infrastructure plan and are receiving large loans from China, have approved the Chinese vaccines.