عربي Español Русский Français 简体中文

"Chinese Consular Protection and Services: Summarize 2015 and Expect 2016"

--Foreign Ministry Holds Domestic Media Briefing on Consular Work

2016/02/03

On February 3, 2016, the Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry held a domestic media briefing with the theme of "Chinese Consular Protection and Services: Summarize 2015 and Expect 2016". Director-General Guo Shaochun introduced the new measures taken by the Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry in 2015 to serve national development, the people's livelihood and other sectors as well as its striving direction of consular protection and services in 2016. Journalists from over 20 media including People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television (CCTV), China Radio International (CRI), China News Service, Economic Daily, the Beijing News and Phoenix Satellite Television were present.

Guo Shaochun expressed that in 2015 the outbound person-times of mainland residents reached 120 million, keeping an annual growth of over 10 million. China had 1.027 million workers abroad, 1.7088 million overseas students, and nearly 30,000 enterprises across nearly 200 countries and regions. An "overseas China" with a considerable scale is gradually taking shape. Meanwhile, because of the turbulence of some regions and interweaving of traditional and non-traditional security threats, the trend that major cases of consular protection related to overseas Chinese citizens and organizations break out simultaneously in many places around the world became more evident, so consular work became more arduous in terms of overseas right protection. To realize the goal of "consular protection and services follow wherever China's footprints and China's overseas interests go" and with the aim of ensuring Chinese citizens' "outbound access and outbound convenience", facilitation, "long-term overseas stay and sound development" as well as outbound safety, the Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry made great efforts in the following three aspects in 2015:

Firstly, continued to promote with all strength facilitation of personnel exchanges between China and other countries and accelerated establishment of the new order of personnel exchanges between China and other countries. China actively promoted more countries to reach a series of institutional arrangements with it in facilitating personnel exchanges and reached 21 agreements or arrangements on facilitation of personnel exchanges with 18 countries such as Canada, the UK, Argentina and Ireland. Among them, China and Canada made a reciprocal arrangement of mutually granting multiple-entry visa with the maximum of 10-year validity to people on business, tourism and family visits, and China and the UK made a reciprocal arrangement of mutually granting multiple-entry visa with 2-year validity to citizens of both countries. In coordination with the strategic advance like the "Belt and Road" and international production capacity cooperation, China signed with Kazakhstan the Agreement on Facilitating Exchanges of Business Personnel Participating in Production Capacity Cooperation Between China and Kazakhstan. The validity of the APEC Business Travel Card was extended to five years. By the end of 2015, the number of effective cards in China had exceeded 40,000, staying the first among the APEC economies. By the end of February 2, 2016, China had signed various free-visa agreements with 106 countries, reached 62 agreements or arrangements on simplifying visa procedures with 38 countries, and increased the number of free-visa or arrival-visa destinations for Chinese citizens with ordinary passports to 53. The "gold content" of a Chinese passport is increasing. In 2015, China reached agreements with 13 countries on setting up consular organizations or expanding consular districts. Six new Chinese consular organizations were opened successively in Belfast of the UK, href="C://Users/Administrator/AppData/Local/Yodao/DeskDict/frame/20160129185016/javascript:void(0);" Kota Kinabalu and Penang of Malaysia, Izmir of Turkey, Dusseldorf of Germany and Lahore of Pakistan, which will further enlarge the scope of our consular services and is helpful to push facilitation of personnel exchanges between China and other countries as well as conducive to providing more timely consular protection and services for Chinese citizens and enterprises.

Secondly, attached equal importance to prevention and handling and provided protection for Chinese citizens and enterprises to "go abroad". On the one hand, we carried out earnestly "beforehand prevention and upstream governance". We released timely security alerts (over 500 for the year) through platforms such as the website of "China Consular Affairs" (http://cs.mfa.gov.cn/) and the WeChat ID "China Consular Affairs" to offer important references to Chinese citizens going abroad. Preventive measures "in local areas, schools and enterprises" were actively conducted. "Diplomats in Action--My Experiences of Saving and Helping Overseas Chinese Citizens" written by over 30 frontline diplomats based on their firsthand experiences was published, bringing consular work closer to the public. On the other hand, we handled well emergencies. In 2015 we properly handled around 80 thousand cases of consular protection and assistance, including over 100 major consular protection cases, evacuated over 6,000 Chinese citizens from war-torn areas and regions ravaged by natural disasters, and freed unharmed over 50 hostages. We continuously improved the system of "Global Emergency Call Center for Consular Protection and Services of the Foreign Ministry", which by now has covered 270 offices functioning around the globe and serves as an all-weather and barrier-free green channel with zero time-difference between overseas Chinese citizens and the motherland in consular protection and emergency response. Besides, when we were saving and helping Chinese citizens, we also extended a helping hand to citizens of other countries as much as possible, demonstrating the mien of China as a responsible major country.

Thirdly, earnestly carried out administration by law and continuously improved the capacity of serving the people. We promulgated the decree "Measure for Consular Legalization" for foreign-related departments and started legislative work on passports for public affairs. Due to the changes of national pension system, we adjusted the approaches of overseas embassies and consulates to handle evidence of persons' being alive to guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of overseas retirees. We studied the difficulties faced by overseas Chinese citizens when applying for passports and solved them according to the real situations. We established the "Electronic Consulate" platform, launched the "online form-filling system for consular legalization", launched electronic signatures and tags plus two-dimensional codes for legalization, launched online application, review and approval system for the APEC Business Travel Cards, as well as realized the global coverage of issuing electronic passports overseas and achieved more professional and refined management of consular certificate services.

When introducing the direction for consular work in 2016, Guo Shaochun said that 2016 is the first year of the "13th Five-Year Plan" period and the crucial stage for building a moderately prosperous society in an all-around way, when strategies such as the "Belt and Road" and international production capacity cooperation will be advanced in an in-depth way, the number of citizens and institutes that "go abroad" will keep increasing, and the tasks of consular protection and services will be more arduous. The Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry will continue to uphold the notion of "putting people first and diplomacy for the people", administrate by law, blaze new trails and make innovations, firmly center around the "13th Five-Year Plan" and the overall diplomatic layout, take serving national development and security and people's livelihood as the central task, and conduct consular protection and services with all efforts.

Firstly, we will strengthen the overall planning of consular work and assist the overall diplomacy and national development strategies. We will coordinate with national economic strategy, center around the key areas of national economic construction, and make active use of consular consultations and meetings to further expand consular relations between China and other countries, promote facilitation of personnel exchanges between China and the rest of the world, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of our citizens and enterprises, and ensure the smooth implementation of major projects. We will work hard to solve the problem of "difficulty in obtaining visas" from related countries and regions, strive to make agreements and arrangements for facilitation of personnel exchanges with more countries, so as to ensure our people, enterprises and projects can "go abroad" smoothly.

Secondly, continue to make full efforts to carry out projects concerning overseas Chinese nationals' livelihood and vigorously strengthen precautionary consular protection. We will continue to publicize precautionary consular protection by releasing prompt safety alerts on platforms such as the website of China Consular Affairs and the WeChat ID "China Consular Affairs" and provide "door-to-door information services" for the public. And we will take methods including issuing consular protection guidebooks and safety-reminding handbooks to expand the coverage of safety and risk reminding and make safety notes useful guidance for citizens' travel.

Thirdly, carry out law-based administration in an in-depth way, implement the concept of people-oriented diplomacy and step up to promote the legislation and information construction of consular work. We will actively promote the process of legislation of consular work, with the focus on the implementation of "Measures for Consular Legalization" and the investigation and drafting of a series of rules and regulations. We will further forge the platform of "Electronic Consulate", continue to improve consular service measures, improve the quality of "window services", and send the care of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the government to thousands of households.

Fourthly, enhance the training and management and forge an excellent consular work team with "outstanding skills and dedication". We will strengthen the job training for the consular staff and enhance their understanding of policies and professional standards. We will continue to carry on the fine traditions of perseverance in hardship, determination in action and willingness to make contributions, and keep the safety and well-being of the people in mind all the time while fulfilling duties for the interests of them and providing them with good services.

In conclusion Director-General Guo Shaochun wished all Chinese citizens at home and abroad a happy Spring Festival, and reminded that when traveling abroad during the Spring Festival, Chinese citizens should make proper trip plans, enhance safety awareness and the ability of self-protection, take care of their safety and show good manners, so as to enjoy a happy and safe Spring Festival.

After the briefing, Director-General Guo Shaochun also answered questions concerned by the media and gave exclusive interviews to CCTV and Phoenix Satellite Television.

Suggest to a friend
Print