Chinese travellers face some of the most stringent travel restrictions of anywhere across the globe. Currently they are allowed visa free enter to 50 countries around the world ranking them 87th out of 104 countries in the 2016 Visa Restriction Index.
A recent post that suggested that the restrictions were to be lifted to allow Chinese travellers visa free travel to more than 141 countries has therefore received massive media attention leading it to shared over 100,000 times on social media channels including WeChat and Sina Weibo.
The post suggested that Chinese could now access a new “Frequent Traveller Passport” which would allow them visa free travel to countries such as Japan and Australia, and the entire Schengen Zone of the European Union.
However the post has been challenged as a fake and the Chinese government have been quick to reaffirm this.
A spokesmans from the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Consular Affairs of China has called the post “sheer fabrication”.
The Chinese outward tourism industry is booming and statistics show that in 2015 China had a staggering 120 million outbound tourists and the increase continues as the growth of the middle class shows no sign of slowing. Collectively these tourisms spent $104bn up 16% on the previous year and many would like to see travel restrictions relaxed. However, this latest news was fake and the Chinese tourists will have to wait a while longer for the visa free travel to be expanded to that many countries. In a time when visa restrictions are being tightened across the globe the Chinese are keen to ensure that their already restrictive travel legislation is not made more restrictive and any news suggesting that visa free travel is being extended is met and followed with keen interest.