the US State Dept just bumped travel in China up a notch due to several retaliatory arrests of foreign citizens. Often the stories from people on the ground don’t reflect the same level of “fear” as we see via these alerts… curious if students studying in China are seeing or feeling any of these threats. IMO, this will likely affect study abroad as originally I was thinking of lining something up but I don’t have time in my schedule in case of “arbitrary imprisonment” lol
Thanks so much for Jordan, as I would have otherwise probably missed this.
Even though from the inside this sounds all a bit ridiculous, it is a of course a very relevant question for people currently outside of China.
The answer is quite simple though:
nothing happened at all
Life in China goes on as usual and everyone is in a pretty good mood after all the COVID restrictions finally ended. Chinese are very welcome and positive towards foreigners (we experience this every day ourselves). We have homestay families receiving foreign students every day. Families are usually open for all nationalities, but if there was one that they would prefer, it would probably be the USA. Chinese are getting ready to travel the world again and a lot of people I know and am friends with cannot wait to go to Europe or the US on holiday soon.
What they are referring is a risk to people doing quite specific things. The state department lists them even:
Government personnel, journalists, academics and relatives of Chinese citizens involved in legal disputes
I personally know quite a few people whom this could apply to in Beijing and nobody has any problems, so how relevant even that list is, is another question.
Most relevant for you though: Chinese language students are definitely not included in this.
It is also important to see this in the light of recent political tit for tat events with China and the US putting export and import restrictions, tariffs etc. on each other during the last few weeks. A travel warning fits quite well into that picture. Maybe we see China issuing a travel warning for the US soon too.
Most importantly though, there is no political risk for students who come to China to study Mandarin. The Chinese government has been very clear that they want to attract more people to come to China to study and learn Chinese. They even have annual targets for increasing the number of foreign students that officials needs to meet
The Chinese government has kept making it increasingly easier to get student visas to China during the last few months. It is now easier to come to China to study Mandarin that it was pre-pandemic.
No Chinese language student has been arbitrarily detained for studying Mandarin ever.
So, in real life in China nothing has happened at all.
Your chances of being struck by lightening in Las Vegas remain significantly higher than being detained as a Chinese language students.
Fantastic response. Thank you for taking time for a detailed reply. I agree, this is likely a political lever being used against tourist travel.
I’ve lived here for quite a long time, and have a lot of friends/aquaintences here. I’ve never heard of a single one of them having any problem related to anything like this. I don’t expect anything different either.
Likewise, no one I know in China has had any issues - sounds like scaremongering to me.