China: Visa-Free Travel Also for Australia, New Zealand, Poland

China strengthens political and economic relations with Central Asian countries: President Xi Jinping to visit Kazakhstan and Tajikistan on July 2-6

China is open to foreign visitors, tourists, and businessmen, but since there is a reciprocal consular policy, it will be much easier for Chinese workers to visit many countries in the Pacific, as well as Central and Eastern Europe. Starting Monday, July 1, the Chinese government will grant visa exemptions to ordinary passport holders from Australia, New Zealand, as well as Poland. This is an “experimental” regime that will last until December 31, 2025. Travelers from the above-mentioned countries who visit China for business, tourism, or transit will be able to stay without a visa for up to a maximum of 15 days.

To revitalize tourism and the economy after very tough restrictive measures that were taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic, last December China granted visa-free travel for stays of up to 15 days to citizens of six countries: Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia.

The simplification of consular procedures is part of a package of measures aimed at restarting China’s post-covid economic growth. That’s no easy task: according to the latest official data, released on the evening of June 30, manufacturing and non-manufacturing activity in China was “muted” in June. The Senior Corporate Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of the manufacturing sector remained unchanged from May at 49.5 points, i.e. below the expansion threshold (50 points), while the non-manufacturing sector fell from 51.1 points registered in April to 50.5 points in June.

In order to increase China’s political and economic presence in neighboring Central Asian countries supporting China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), commonly known as the New Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Kazakhstan and Tajikistan from July 2 to 6 at the invitation of the two countries’ counterparts, Kasym-Jomart Tokayev and Emomali Rakhmon, respectively. In Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, the Chinese President will attend the 24th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) chaired by Kazakhstan. On the sidelines of the meeting, a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled, during which the two leaders will draw initial conclusions on the implementation of agreements signed during the Russian President’s recent visit to Beijing on May 16-17, 2024.