PTI: Sri Lanka yesterday announced that China has permitted or is permitting their students studying in China to return after they got stuck back home due to COVID protocols. It’s a welcome development. So does this opening for Sri Lankan students also open the door for the Indian students to return?
Zhao Lijian: We fully understand the feelings of international students including those in India, who are ardently looking forward to returning to China at an early date to continue their education. We will, based on the evolving situation, realities on the ground and science-based assessment, consider in a coordinated manner the matter of foreign students returning to their classes in China, and actively explore options and gradually arrange for those with actual need to return in an orderly fashion. The relevant work is well underway. We stand ready to work actively to ensure the healthy, safe and orderly cross-border flow of Chinese and foreign personnel on the basis of ensuring safety amid the pandemic.
Prasar Bharati: You said that due to the COVID-19 situations and based on the needs of students, China allows them to return. China allows Sri Lankan students and other students with the COVID pandemic going on to return. So in this context, would you like to elaborate or enlighten us is there any particular issue China sees in allowing Indian students to return at a time when China allowed students for many other countries to return?
Zhao Lijian: I just stated China’s principled position. You and Mr. Konda Varma from PTI are both very concerned about the studies of Indian students who hope to return to China soon. The Chinese side also hopes that they could return safely and resume their courses in China once the epidemic situation improves. These students have been attending courses online for nearly two years. We fully understand their feelings. We will consider in a coordinated manner the matter of foreign students returning to their classes in China based on the evolving situation and realities on the ground. We are actively exploring options and gradually making arrangements in an orderly fashion. I believe Indian students will be included in this process as soon as possible.