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The Great Covid Paper Wall: European Strategies to Deal with Chinese Visa Restrictions


n reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese authorities have installed visa restrictions and strict quarantine rules to prevent foreigners from spreading new infections to the country. This has disrupted a trend of increasing European Union (EU)-China travel and socio-economic exchanges. EU citizens living in or travelling to China have had to deal with the consequences of Beijing’s so-called Zero-Covid strategy. In view of quasi-closed borders, many Europeans have given up on living in or travelling to China. Those who have stayed have come up with strategies of adaptation, while European-owned firms have reacted by adopting initiatives such as doing business online or localising staff. Overall, the Chinese visa restrictions have added a new dimension to the debate on asymmetries in EU-China relations.
Keywords: European Union; China; EU visa policies; Covid-19 pandemic; EU-China relations