China imposes travel bans in retaliation to 'unacceptable' act

Beijing has followed through on its threats of retaliation to countries who've slapped Covid-19 restrictions on Chinese travellers.

China has halted short-term visas for people from South Korea and Japan as it continues to reel from what it claims are politically-motivated decisions. Australia was one of the nations who introduced the requirement of a negative Covid-19 test for incoming Chinese residents and while it is unclear if further countries will face the same punishment, foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Tuesday promised "reciprocal measures" will be taken.

"Regrettably, a handful of countries, in disregard of science, facts and their actual epidemic situation, have insisted on taking discriminatory entry restriction measures targeting China," he told reporters.

His colleague Mao Ning had previously called the restrictions "simply unacceptable".

On top of the testing requirement, Japan has restricted the number of flights from China while South Korea has banned Chinese tourists altogether.

china retaliation
Xi Jinping's China has slapped visa restrictions on two countries after a host of nations took measures against Chinese travellers. Source: Getty

China's Covid outbreak is shrouded in secrecy with several nations expressing concern over a lack of transparency over its Covid data and what variants are being dealt with. It is unclear how rampant the virus is in a country that recently walked away from its divisive zero-Covid strategy.

Australia's decision to implement restrictions on Chinese travellers will not have gone down well with Beijing, however the Albanese government has made great strides in repairing badly damaged Sino-Australian ties.

On Tuesday China’s ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian noted the importance of Labor winning last year's federal election.

“We had a turnaround last year, a turnaround from falling down, from falling behind to stability and from stability perhaps to improvement, upholding and even development. It was a very critical year,” Mr Xiao said at a press conference in Canberra.

A torrid two-and-a-half year period for the China-Australia relationship has seen Canberra face a barrage of attacks from Chinese state media and the country's foreign ministry.

However the removal of one of Australia's harshest critics, Zhao Lijian, from his role as foreign ministry spokesperson is an indication China may be walking away from its use of aggressive communication when handling foreign affairs and those who criticise Beijing.

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