To cater for the influx of foreign visitors next year when China hosts the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, favorable visa rules will be in place, a senior immigration official said yesterday.
Anyone with valid Olympic Identity and Accreditation Cards (OIAC) will be allowed to enter China without a visa one month before and leave during the four weeks after the Games, Li Changyou, deputy director of the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, said at a press conference.
The Games will be held from August 8 to 24 meaning cardholders can enter the country without a visa from July 8 to September 24.
It's a common practice for host countries to offer visa-free entry to OIAC holders. The OIAC is a personalized card granted by the International Olympic Committee that gives its holder the right to attend the Games for participation or in a work capacity.
Li said China had already loosened some requirements including the granting of one-year employment permits to people coming to work in the run up to the Games.
China currently offers visa-free entry to nationals of Singapore, Brunei and Japan for 15-day stays. Visitors from the United States, Canada, South Korea, Australia and several European countries can stay for 48 hours without a visa if they enter via Shanghai.
Li said China may offer some other favorable policies next year to make it easier for foreign visitors to enter China. "We'll respect Olympic conventions and the Olympics' Charter and consider anything that is beneficial to ensuring a successful Games."
(China Daily January 26, 2007)