The authorities refused to issue tourist visas to citizens wanting to visit South Korea.
Following the implementation of the new Regulations of Religious Affairs, Chinese citizens of Christian faith are finding it difficult to obtain permission to travel out of China.
As per internal sources, Chen Li (pseudonym) who is a resident of Shandong Province’s Weihai city and a Christian formed a group with ten other members of his church to travel to South Korea in April this year. They applied for tourist visas in April mentioning their faith on the forms. The travel agency handling their trip informed the authorities, and ultimately, they were all refused the visas.
Later, the police summoned the group, and each person was interrogated individually. They were all suspected of traveling for more than just tourism and warned against collaborating with the “enemy.”
A month later, two women from the same church applied for visas to travel to Jerusalem, but again, they were denied the permission. Friendly relations between the United States and Israel were likely the reasons this time: according to authorities, visiting Israel is indicative of pro-American tendencies.
A veteran lawyer confirms that such restrictions are illegal and according to Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, people have the right to freedom of movement. The Chinese government has signed this declaration, but the authorities refuse to follow these principles.
Reported by Wu Xishan