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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks

2020-03-31

Q: As the global pandemic is spreading in multiple places, some overseas Chinese students are hoping to return home. What's the Chinese government's consideration of their return?

A: The CPC Central Committee attaches great importance to and cares deeply about Chinese students abroad, and has taken major measures to protect their safety and health. Relevant departments have taken proactive actions accordingly. They are children of the motherland and the future of our country. After the COVID-19 first broke out, overseas Chinese nationals, especially students, donated funds and items out of care and support for the fight at home, which shows great patriotism.

After the COVID-19 broke out in many places around the world, China arranged temporary flights to bring back in an orderly manner people in straits from Iran and Italy. The CPC and the Chinese government closely follow and care for the health and safety of overseas Chinese students. In accordance with the directions of the CPC Central Committee, the foreign ministry instructed over 280 Chinese embassies and consulates overseas to maintain close contact with overseas Chinese students, get to know their appeals and difficulties, and help them solve practical problems. Our diplomatic missions urged their host countries to take effective measures to safeguard the safety, health and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese students. We also forwarded through various channels a prevention and control guideline on COVID-19 as well as local regulations on the pandemic and strengthened communication with the students in various ways. For example, we arranged for medical teams and working groups to exchange with them face-to-face or online to provide science-based, professional guidance. The diplomatic missions also mobilized resources to distribute "health kits" containing essential epidemic prevention materials and guidelines. The diplomatic and consular staff are doing all they can to address the students' general concern and help them get through this rough patch.

Epidemic prevention and control is a major battle that takes all-out efforts from every one of us. All Chinese citizens are part of the fight in their own ways and are making their own contributions to the ultimate victory. At present, China still faces the risk of a rebound at home, and the spread of pandemic overseas has posed new challenges. Chinese civil aviation authorities reduced the volume of international passenger flights due to the pandemic, but the majority of passengers nowadays are overseas students. Experts on disease control, based on WHO recommendations, suggested reducing cross-border movement as much as possible. We note that some overseas students face various difficulties and need to return home. Yesterday, the Civil Aviation Administration said that major air transportation guarantee mechanism will be activated to arrange extra flights and charter flights to cities with viable destinations where a large number of people in need are concentrated.

In light of the needs for prevention and control, those returning to China should comply with relevant regulations, including strict testing, isolation and observation. This is for the sake of their health and public health security.

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