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MFA Spokesperson Hua Chunying: Equal Treatment for Chinese and Foreign Nationals in Outbreak Control

2020/04/03

At the MFA daily press briefing on 3 April, Spokesperson Hua Chunying was asked whether there will be immunity for foreign diplomats in China's control measures concerning foreigners coming to China.

In her answer, Hua pointed out that currently China is facing the formidable task of preventing both the importation of infections and a domestic rebound. Given the global spread of COVID-19, medical experts have all advised against non-essential travels to prevent cross infections in the interest of personal and public health and safety. This is also the recommendation from WHO and has been the practice in many countries. Virus affects everyone equally and does not recognize "diplomatic immunity". As far as I am aware, there are already confirmed cases among returning foreign diplomats.

In the past week, of the 84 foreign diplomats returning through the 12 entry points, 66 percent were traced as close contacts. Competent Chinese agencies and local governments such as the Beijing Municipal Government have enacted strict anti-epidemic entry measures, which may cause inconvenience to foreign diplomats returning to China. Therefore, taking into account the need for outbreak control and the safety of foreign diplomatic and consular personnel in China, we suggest that all diplomatic and consular missions suspend personnel returns or rotations for the time being. This is completely out of the need for outbreak control. There is no need to read too much into it.

The control measures adopted by Chinese governments at various levels apply to Chinese and foreign nationals equally. They will neither be tightened nor loosened just because of the nationality of a person. This is in the interest of protecting the life of everyone, which we believe will have the understanding and cooperation of most foreign nationals in China, including members of the diplomatic and consular corps.

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