Beijing allows visa-less access on transit

Australia is one of 45 countries that will be allowed 72 hours access to Beijing without an immigration visa during transit from next month.

Other nations with this permission include Canada, the US, most of the European Union, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Beijing’s tourism administration website said this initiative will help transform it into a global city.
It added that the move will “strongly spur the development of the tourism industry, speed up building of an international city (and) expand contacts with the rest of the world”.

The government clarified its move, saying that this only applies for people travelling onto another country and not for return flights.

The administration would not comment on speculation that Norway was absent from the list because of its declaration that jailed political figure Liu Xiaobo was the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The city’s exit-entry bureau deputy director, Gao Huada, told Chinese media that any person caught trying to leave the boundaries of the city could face prosecution and would be banned for life.

Another major city in China, Shanghai, already has a 48-hour policy in place for some nations such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the US and some European Union members. Those who aren’t eligible must remain inside the airport.

Airports Council International information shows that Beijing is the second busiest airport in the world, with 47 million passengers travelling through between January and July of this year.

It comes as an Australian, who was recognised for his bravery by protecting an elderly woman from thugs, has been refused the right to remain in the United Kingdom.

Tim Smits from Melbourne was stabbed and punched by two men on a bus in September last year, and was subsequently given a local council citizenship award and honoured by Carnegie Hero Trust Fund.

But the graphic artist’s application to have his visa extended on compassionate grounds has been knocked back.

He said that community support has kept his spirits high while he has dealt with the frustration of the UK Border Agency.

He told the Daily Mail: “The most disgusting thing is that when they rejected my appeal, they said my experience wasn’t compassionate or compelling enough for them to make an exception.

“It has made me question whether I really want to live in a country that wants to kick me out.”

A spokesperson for the border agency told the publication that they had requested details regarding Mr Smit’s original application but never heard back.

Source: Migration Alliance