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China's visa-free policy boosts communication with France


"China's food is delicious, its culture is very good, and its attractions and people are very nice," Dorey, a French tourist who traveled to China through the visa-free policy, said in an interview at Guangzhou Baiyun Airport. "The visa-free policy is very practical and friendly. I hoped to have such an opportunity a few years ago."

On November 24, China decided to implement a unilateral visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia on a trial basis. Under the new visa-free policy, with a trial period from December 1, 2023 to November 30, 2024, holders of ordinary passports from the above six countries may enter China visa-free for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends and transit for no more than 15 days.

Since the beginning of 2024, over 104,000 visits from France to China have been recorded for business engagements, tourism exploration, and family visits, marking a staggering 295 percent increase compared to the same period in 2023, according to China's National Immigration Administration. Since the start of this year, the number of Chinese people visiting France has reached 130,000, a notable 215 percent rise from the corresponding period last year. 

A surge in exchange and communication between the two countries can be attributed to the visa-free policy. As of April 30, 74,000 French visitors have benefited from the policy, accounting for 60 percent of the total number of French visits to China.

"The main reason I love China is the efficient and convenient business environment here, which makes everything we do in China pleasantly surprising," said French traveler Sahut Antoine at Nanjing Lukou International Airport.

"China's immigration services have always been very efficient and effective. I believe that after the implementation of the visa-free policy, entry into China will be even more convenient, which will benefit everyone visiting China and exploring the country, thereby establishing better connections," he added. 

Cover: International passenger flow at Shanghai Pudong International Airport shows significant recovery, attributed to the visa-free policy, April 17, 2024. /CFP

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