Tag: Chinese

U.S. Imposes Severe Travel Restrictions On Chinese Communist Party Members : NPR

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, also general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, leads the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the CCP, in Beijing in October. The U.S. State Dept. Thursday tightened travel restrictions on members of the CCP and their families.

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In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, also general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, leads the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the CCP, in Beijing in October. The U.S. State Dept. Thursday tightened travel restrictions on members of the CCP and their families.

Liu Bin/AP

The Trump administration is imposing sharply tighter restrictions on travel to the United States by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members and their families, a move Beijing describes as part of a “deep-rooted Cold War mentality.”

The restrictions target holders of business (B-1) and tourist (B-2) visas, reducing the travel documents’ maximum validity to one month, down from the current maximum of 10 years.

“This is in keeping with our ongoing policy, regulatory, and law-enforcement action across the U.S. Government to protect our nation from the CCP’s malign influence,” an unnamed State Dept. official wrote in a statement emailed to NPR.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spent much of the year bolstering his tough-on-China approach. He’s blasted China for human rights abuses against its Uighur and other Muslim minorities, its crackdown on Hong Kong’s autonomy and its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The unsigned statement accuses the CCP and its members of trying to “influence Americans through propaganda, economic coercion, and other nefarious activities” and says the State Dept. has the authority to “limit visa validity of groups of individuals hostile to U.S. values.”

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson calls the new restrictions “an escalation of political suppression by some extreme anti-China forces in the U.S.”

The CCP has roughly 90 million members, effectively making the State Dept. visa action the Trump administration’s most sweeping and direct attack on the Party’s legitimacy. The administration has previously imposed sanctions on Chinese businesses and individuals, and has appealed to the people of China to reject the Party.

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US imposes restrictions on travel visas for Chinese Communist Party members

The State Department is imposing new restrictions on travel visas to the United States for members of the Chinese Communist Party, a State Department spokesperson confirmed Thursday.



a close up of a screen: International flights arrivals are listed on a screen at Los Angeles International Airport on March 12, 2020 one day before a US flight travel ban hits 26 European countries amid ongoing precautions over the Coronavirus.


© Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
International flights arrivals are listed on a screen at Los Angeles International Airport on March 12, 2020 one day before a US flight travel ban hits 26 European countries amid ongoing precautions over the Coronavirus.

Under the new rules, the travel visas of CCP members and their immediate family members will change from 10 years to one month and will be single entry.

The move, taken less than two months before the Trump administration leaves power, is the latest in a series of actions that have ratcheted up tension between Washington and Beijing.

“This is in keeping with our ongoing policy, regulatory, and law-enforcement action across the U.S. Government to protect our nation from the CCP’s malign influence,” the spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. “Under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of State has the authority to limit visa validity of groups of individuals hostile to U.S. values.”

The spokesperson claimed that the Chinese Communist Party “sends agents to the United States to unabashedly monitor, threaten, and report on Chinese nationals and Chinese-American groups engaging in legal, honest, and open activities that are protected under freedom of speech and freedom of assembly clauses.”

“For decades we allowed the CCP free and unfettered access to U.S. institutions and businesses while these same privileges were never extended freely to U.S. citizens in China. Interaction with free societies, economies, and access to Western technologies certainly helped China develop, while the CCP only doubled down on Marxist-Leninism and hostility to the free world,” the spokesperson said.

The State Department under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pursued a series of aggressive actions against the Chinese government as tensions between the US and China continue to rise.

It has designated more than a dozen Chinese media companies operating in the US as foreign missions. China has expelled journalists from a number of US media outlets. The Trump administration has also imposed restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the US, and in July ordered Beijing to shutter its consulate in Houston.

The activities of consulate officials in Houston “are a microcosm, we believe, of a broader network of individuals in more than 25 cities that network is supported through the consulates here,” a US Justice Department official told reporters at the time.

In response, the Chinese government ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu.

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Trump administration issues travel curbs for Chinese Communist Party members: report

The Trump administration on Wednesday issued new rules to restrict travel by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members and their families, according to a report. 

The policy shift immediately limits the maximum validity of travel visas for the party members and families to one month and a single entry, sources told the New York Times. Previously, party members, like Chinese citizens, could obtain U.S. visitor visas for up to 10 years. 

China has about 92 million Communist Party members. The new guidelines will let U.S. officials determine someone’s party status based on their visa application, interview, and understanding of the party, which the Times asserted will likely affect China’s top government and business leaders rather than the millions of other lower-level members. 

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A protester holds a U.S. flag outside the Chinese consulate in Houston, July 24, 2020, after the U.S. State Department ordered China to close the consulate. (Getty Images)

A protester holds a U.S. flag outside the Chinese consulate in Houston, July 24, 2020, after the U.S. State Department ordered China to close the consulate. (Getty Images)

A State Department spokesman told the paper the decision was a part of “ongoing policy, regulatory, and law-enforcement action across the U.S. government to protect our nation from the C.C.P.’s malign influence.”

“For decades we allowed the C.C.P. free and unfettered access to U.S. institutions and businesses while these same privileges were never extended freely to U.S. citizens in China,” the statement said. 

The move is likely to increase tensions between the U.S. and China, which had seen the diplomatic goodwill between the two countries stretched thin over coronavirus, military maneuvers in the South China Sea, and the presidential election.

Since signing a phase one trade deal with China in January, the two countries have been busy slapping sanctions on one another. The U.S. shuttered a Chinese consulate in Texas earlier this year while China has moved to expel U.S. journalists from the country.

Earlier this year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled a set of restrictions on Chinese diplomats operating inside the U.S., a move he said was payback for similar situations facing American diplomats in China. The Trump administration also imposed sanctions and visa restrictions on multiple Chinese Communist Party officials believed to be responsible for human rights abuses in the Xinjiang province.

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In June, Pompeo announced restrictions against members of the CCP, declaring that the U.S. has banned visas for members affiliated with the obstruction of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

“President Trump promised to punish the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials who were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong’s freedoms,” Pompeo said in a statement, at the time. 

The new restrictions will likely result in some form of retaliation from Beijing, although travel between China and the United States has already been hugely impacted by the pandemic. It’s yet to be seen how the move will impact tensions between China and the upcoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

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Nearly three million Chinese citizens traveled to the U.S., in 2018, according to the Times. 

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United States toughens visa rules for ‘malign’ Chinese Communist Party members: NYT

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Wednesday issued rules to restrict travel to the United States by Chinese Communist Party members and their families, the New York Times newspaper reported on Thursday.



FILE PHOTO: The flags of China, U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party are displayed in a flag stall at the Yiwu Wholesale Market in Yiwu


© Reuters/ALY SONG
FILE PHOTO: The flags of China, U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party are displayed in a flag stall at the Yiwu Wholesale Market in Yiwu

The policy shift limits the validity of travel visas for party members and families to one month and a single entry, the paper reported https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/03/world/asia/us-visa-china-communist-party.html, citing people familiar with the matter.

Previously, party members, like other Chinese citizens, could obtain U.S. visitor visas of up to 10 years’ duration, it said.

The Trump administration has sought to cement the outgoing President’s tough-on-China legacy, while relations between the world’s two largest economies have sunk to the lowest point in decades.

The move was a part of ongoing action to protect the United States from the Chinese Communist Party’s “malign influence,” the NYT quoted a spokesman for the State Department as saying.

The Department did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Washington and Beijing have clashed over China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, its tightening grip on Hong Kong, its disputed claims in the South China Sea, trade and accusations of human rights crimes in Xinjiang.

Last week, Reuters reported the United States was poised to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC and national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, curbing their access to U.S. investors.

The new visa guidelines allow American officials to determine someone’s party status based on their application and interview, the paper reported.

(Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill and John Stonestreet)

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Thanksgiving shows US learned few COVID lessons after Chinese New Year

  • On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against traveling for Thanksgiving.
  • But millions of Americans still plan to see relatives and host large, multi-household gatherings.
  • Ahead of the Lunar New Year, Chinese authorities banned large gatherings and put hotspots in lockdown, which experts say reduced coronavirus spread.
  • Much of the US does not seem to be following that example. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Just a week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans not to travel to see family or friends outside their households.

“The tragedy that could happen is that one of your family members, from coming together in this family gathering, actually could end up being hospitalized and severely ill and die,” Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said on a call with reporters on Thursday.

But although fewer US residents will travel over Thanksgiving this year than in a typical season, tens of millions still plan to drive, fly, or take a bus to mingle with extended family. Experts expect the mass travel to exacerbate the country’s already devastating surge in cases and deaths.

In the last week, 1 million people were diagnosed with the coronavirus. On average each day, 1,300 people have died.

Anand Swaminathan, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital in New Jersey, told Business Insider that by mid-December, vast numbers of people sickened at holiday gatherings could overwhelm and “break” hospitals. 

“We don’t even know how bad the swell and surge is going to be after Thanksgiving,” Swaminathan said.

lunar new year

People pray for good fortune as they hold burning incense on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at Yonghegong Lama Temple, in Beijing, February 19, 2015.

Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters


The US has plenty of examples of successful efforts to curtail the coronavirus’ spread. But the most notable ahead of this holiday season is China’s approach to the Lunar New Year. A few days before that holiday in January, the Chinese government recommended against travel nationwide, banned all public celebrations, and shut down all transportation to and from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. 

A May study published in Science showed that without those restrictions and recommendations, the coronavirus would have spread far more quickly.

“The epidemic peaked in Hubei province on February 4, 2020, indicating that measures such as closing citywide public transport and entertainment venues and banning public gatherings combined to avert hundreds of thousands of cases of infection,” the study authors wrote.

Yet 10 months later, and with many millions more cases than China had during the winter, the US is not following that example.

Lunar New Year travel spread the coronavirus, but far less than it could have

Travel ahead of the Lunar New Year almost certainly helped the virus spread among hundreds of cities and thousands of people in China and internationally, since many people traveled before regions and cities were locked down. But it could have been far worse.

Typically,

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COVID-19 spread when 5 million people left Wuhan for Chinese New Year, yet 50 million Americans will still travel for Thanksgiving

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said it was “alarmed” about the 1 million new infections over the last week, and recommended against traveling this Thanksgiving. Potential alternatives include a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends or loved ones and contact-free delivery of safely prepared traditional dishes to family and neighbors, the CDC added.

Despite these recommendations, AAA, formerly known as the American Automobile Association, estimates that 50 million people will travel over the “Thanksgiving holiday travel period,” a five-day stretch from Wednesday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 29, down from 55 million last year; 95% will travel by car. AAA used economic forecasting and research from the insights firm IHS Markit.

AAA anticipates Thanksgiving air travel will fall by nearly half this year to 2.4 million from 4.58 million last year, the biggest annual air-travel decrease on record. “AAA reminds air travelers that in-flight amenities, including food and beverage services, may not be available,” the group says. “Also, as a precaution, wipe down your seat, armrest, belt buckle and tray table using disinfecting wipes.”


‘Unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic is worsening, and small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.’


— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China. The early spread of the disease was likely helped by preparations for China’s Lunar New Year holiday, when people traveled to visit relatives, experts said. At the time, Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang said 5 million people had left the city before travel restrictions were imposed ahead of the Lunar New Year.

“COVID-19 rapidly spread from a single city to the entire country in just 30 days,” a paper released in February on the fatality rates of the disease in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA found. “The sheer speed of both the geographical expansion and the sudden increase in numbers of cases surprised and quickly overwhelmed health and public-health services in China.”

“People in China are estimated to make close to 3 billion trips over the 40-day travel period, or Chunyun, of the Lunar New Year holiday,” according to an article in The Lancet published in February. About a third of those 5 million people leaving Wuhan traveled to locations outside of Hubei province. “Limiting the social contacts of these individuals was crucial for COVID-19 control,” it said.

“Government policies enacted during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday are likely to have helped reduce the spread of the virus by decreasing contact and increasing physical distance between those who have COVID-19 and those who do not. As part of these social distancing policies, the Chinese Government encouraged people to stay at home; discouraged mass gatherings,” it added.

Related:Joe Biden’s pandemic plan

AAA said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including health concerns and job losses, are dissuading some people from traveling. “With health and government officials stressing that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick, AAA

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On Alibaba’s Singles Day, Chinese shoppers are set to splurge on foreign brands as fewer travel overseas

  • Foreign imported products will be a big hit with Chinese consumers during the massive annual Singles Day shopping event, a senior Alibaba executive told CNBC.
  • Chinese shoppers who would have bought foreign brands while outside the country are turning to online purchases since many will not be traveling this year.
  • The Chinese e-commerce giant is gearing up for Singles Day, the annual 24-hour shopping event that takes place on Nov. 11 where billions of dollars are spent snapping up items on Alibaba’s platform.

Chinese demand for U.S. brands is still huge: Alibaba’s Tmall Global

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HANGZHOU, China — Foreign imported products will be a big hit with Chinese consumers during the massive annual Singles Day shopping event this year given the majority will not be traveling outside mainland China due to the coronavirus pandemic, a senior Alibaba executive told CNBC.

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Chinese shoppers who would have usually bought foreign brands during their holidays abroad are turning to online purchases, according to Alvin Liu, the president of Alibaba’s Tmall import and export business.

Tmall is Alibaba’s main platform in China where shoppers can buy imported items. The Chinese e-commerce giant is gearing up for Singles Day, the annual 24-hour shopping event that takes place on Nov. 11 where billions of dollars of items are purchased on Alibaba’s platform.

“I think the import product will have … big business this year for Singles Day,” Liu told CNBC in an interview which aired Friday.

“As you know there is no global travel, so Chinese people stay within mainland China but they still prefer to buy all kinds of the high-quality products overseas. I think Singles Day is the best timing for them to buy a lot of things.”

Singles Day, also referred to as Double 11, sees Chinese e-commerce companies from Alibaba to JD.com push heavy discounts over a 24-hour window. Gross merchandise value, a figure that shows sales across Alibaba’s shopping platforms, stood at 268.4 billion yuan (nearly $40 billion) last year.

This year, Alibaba is trying to increase the number of foreign brands participating. Tmall will bring more than 2,600 new overseas brands to China for the first time, Alibaba said.

Patriotic buying?

But even with the push toward boosting the number of foreign brands, Chinese consumers may be looking to domestic items instead. A recent survey from AlixPartners showed 66% of Chinese consumers said that they’ll be shopping for domestic brands instead of foreign labels. Nearly a third cited “patriotism” as their reason for buying local.



A screen displays the transaction volume of the 24-hour Alibaba Singles' Day global shopping festival at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, China, November 12, 2019.


© Provided by CNBC
A screen displays the transaction volume of the 24-hour Alibaba Singles’ Day global shopping festival at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China, November 12, 2019.

Tensions between China and a few other countries such as the U.S. and Australia have been on the rise.

Fifty-seven percent of Chinese consumers plan to spend less money on American products this year, AlixPartners’ survey showed.

But Liu dismissed those findings, and said this is unlikely to happen. He

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