Chinese Passport, World’s Worst?

From YouTube:

China’s passport, with few visa exemptions and many restrictions, has become an obstacle for Chinese citizens going abroad. As widely stated on the Internet, Chinese passport is the world’s worst passport. Some scholars believe this awkward Chinese passport situation is due to CCP regime’s tight restriction on the port of entry to its own citizens and also foreigners, by means of political censorship and so on, in the name of stability and security of political power.

In mainland microblogs, it is widely spread that the Chinese passport is considered one of the world’s worst passports, with visa exemptions in only 18 countries, 14 of which are in Africa. A visa is also required even to Hong Kong and Macao. A Hong Kong passport enjoys visa exemptions in 135 countries, Taiwan passport to 124 countries. What a pitiful so-called ‘great power.'”

A survey on the Chinese passport was published on the internet.

It indicated that nearly 80% of internet users shared the feeling of helplessness for the very few visa exempt status of Chinese passport. They believe that the lack of respect for its own citizens has resulted in not being trusted by other countries.

In Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index-Global Ranking 2010, China ranked 88, ahead of only four countries, Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

China’s visa waiver reciprocity agreement is only valid for diplomatic and official visits to other countries. The only full visa exemption other than China is San Marino in Europe. This small country is famous for tourism, but owns an airport for small planes only. Foreigners would generally fly to Italy before entering this country. Therefore, to the ordinary Chinese, this only “mutual exemption” country serves no practical meaning.

Former lecturer at the Law School of University of Public Security, Zhao Yuanming, believes the strict control of Chinese travel is due to the fact that CCP’s ideology is different from the majority of democratic countries in the world.

Prior to 2002, the application for a Chinese passport was very tedious.
Although the application procedure was simplified in 2002, political review is still required.

Zhao Yuanming: “The Chinese people, even with a Chinese passport in hand, still suffer much restriction, not to mention the many regulations and hardship in the
process of application. These mainly serve the CCP to rule. “

Upon learning that the Governor of Calif. was coming to visit, Zhao Yuanming believes the CCP not only restricts its citizens going abroad, but also restrict foreigners going to China. Under such conditions where other countries receive no reciprocity, these countries usually won’t have visa-free policy to China.

In 2003, the CPC for the first time unilaterally offered visa-free treaty to Japan, Brunei, and Singapore. In addition to the mutual full visa-free policy to San Marino, as of today, the Chinese Communists opened all visa free policy to four countries only.

Zhao Yuanming: “Communist regime fears not only their own domestic people, but also people in other democratic countries around the world. Therefore it has a different visa management style from other countries. Other countries mean to facilitate to enter and exit the country to their citizens, and to facilitate their travel to the world. The Communist regime doesn’t. It is to facilitate the control.”

According to the information provided by Delta Airlines, the visa and passport information provided by the International Air Transport Association indicated that there are 43 countries implementing visa-free or visa upon arrival policy to China. However, China only provided such policy to less than 15 of them.
This means that if the landing country the Chinese people apply for does not belong to those 15 countries, even if the landing country provided a visa-free or visa upon arrival policy, the Chinese people are not allowed to leave China.

NTD Reporters Zhou Yulin, Li Mingfei and Xiao Yu

I hate to say this, but being a citizen of mainland China has its pros and cons. The cons however, would be: Restrictions to travel towards other parts of the globe.


If you are an American citizen, of course, you could travel to a lot of countries without obtaining a visa–except if you’re going to China.

As a matter of fact,


Speaking of visa-free travel, only 6 countries (that is, according to Wikipedia) are allowed to enter China without a visa and these are countries who officially do not recognize multiple citizenship. Birds of the same feather, flock together, huh?

According to the Indian New York Times:

Nine out of the top 10 countries in the index are members of the European Union, with the United States the only non-EU member. Among Asian countries, only Japan figures in the top 20. Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea are the other Asian countries that closely follow Japan on the list. Conflict-prone countries like Egypt and Iraq are toward the bottom of the list, several positions behind India.

Yes, among Asian countries, yes, I have to agree that Japan is the richest country in Asia, speaking of over-all GDP, and they get the best of the best: Visa-free travel to 170 countries. No wonder, there IS a reason why I wrote an article about Japan allowing multiple citizenship in a Gaijin’s POV. As a matter of fact, each and every booming economy should sign mutual agreements with other countries to impose visa-free travel.

China has to fulfill its promise to its citizens to allow visa-free entry to a lot of countries–and it should also ditch out its restrictive policies towards foreign citizens for good. After all, China is opening itself to the world, right? Even though it is bullying its Asian neighbors, China should at least start the mutual agreement to grant its citizens visa-free travel. After all, it is shameful for such a big economy to have a bad passport (well, there are poorer countries with better passports than China, for instance, the Philippines).

No wonder, many celebrities from mainland China either opt to living in Hong Kong instead (Zhang Ziyi, Tang Wei, Faye Wong) or relinquish/renounce their Chinese citizenship (Gong Li, Jet Li).

It’s actually sad to say that being a Taiwanese citizen or being a Hong Konger or Macanese have better travel opportunities than mainland Chinese citizen. Though Hong Kong isn’t really my personal favorite foreign land (it’s only another vacation spot for me), it’s quite a relief that once you reside in Hong Kong as a permanent resident, you automatically have visa-free access to different countries in the world–but you still need a pre-arrival visa to the United States.

Also, in Hong Kong, you don’t actually need to be a Chinese citizen to obtain permanent residency in Hong Kong. Remember, it is a Special Administrative Region, meaning to say that it is a quasi-country. Usually, SARs offer permanent residency status AND once you obtain that status you get a passport–but you have to be a Chinese citizen who permanently resides in Hong Kong just to have one (Aww… sad but true). Jaycee Chan actually relinquished his American citizenship just to be a Chinese citizen… living in Hong Kong, that is.

Too bad mainlanders cannot have this visa-free travel freedom. But it’s up to them whether they should rather reside in Hong Kong and obtain permanent residency status just to have this visa-free travel privilege. During my recent visit to Hong Kong in 2009, many Hong Kongers cannot speak proper/decent English–since in Hong Kong, speaking in English is optional (just like Tokyo, Japan, sadly), but in Singapore, speaking in English is quite mandatory (Gong Li chose Singapore just for her husband’s fambam, but I think there are reasons deeper than that).

So far, if the People’s Republic of China fulfill its promise to negotiate with other countries for bilateral visa-free travel agreement towards Chinese citizens, its 10-year passport won’t be wasted.


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Posted on February 17, 2014, in Asia, China, Continental Talks, States and Nations of the World and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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