Coronavirus case numbers in China are way down, and the country’s moved into recovery mode, ramping up production, encouraging entertainment venues to reopen, and seeking out incentives to get the public out and spending money once again. However, there is one sector that continues to operate in a fuzzier state: travel and hospitality.
Data from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism for the Labor Day holiday in early May, historically one of China’s busiest times for travelers, showed 40% fewer trips taken than last year with spending down 60%.
Foreigners, these days make up an even tinier percentage than in previous years, as many were barred from returning to the country on May 28th. However, even those that normally would have been up for traveling found leaving their cities difficult. Many reported attempting to book hotels only to be told by the hotels that local government restrictions barred them from accepting foreign guests.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chinese and foreign residents in China are governed by the same regulations. This means both Chinese and foreigners are expected to follow the same rules in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Rules can include wearing masks, checking body temperature, producing local health codes, and participating in route tracing. However, these rules also vary by province, city, and sometimes even by district, leaving not just foreigners confused but also the people in charge of hotel check-ins, park security, and entrances to public transit.
Many foreigners around the country have been running in trouble entering places they were once welcome. By April 24th, the US Embassy considered the problem significant enough that it sent out an announcement instructing its citizens to report discrimination by public or private institutions in China to the local police by dialing 110.
However, in Changzhou, foreign residents barred from entering public spaces and places of business have found significant success with calling up their local foreign affairs hotline. Usually, after a government official manning the hotline explains the situation to whoever is manning the checkpoint, the foreigner has been allowed entry.
Local foreign affairs offices are also useful when foreigners need to know what restrictions and policies they can expect when traveling domestically within China.
For all these reasons, we’ve collected the most relevant English (and other languages)-speaking hotlines for local foreign affairs offices in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanghai. Getting around the Yangtze River Delta is much easier when you know what to expect in these uncertain times.
- Jiangsu Provincial Foreign Affairs: 189 1599 1982
- Changzhou Municipal Foreign Affairs: 189 1506 5022 ; 137 7522 3311
- Wuxi Municipal Foreign Affairs: 138 2116 2943 (English); 136 6511 3434 (Korean); 159 9521 3675 (Japanese)
- Suzhou Municipal Foreign Affairs: 150 5142 5190
- Nanjing Municipal Foreign Affairs: 025-6878 7300 ; 025-6878 7321
- Xuzhou Municipal Foreign Affairs: 138 1328 0124
- Nantong Municipal Foreign Affairs: 0513-8509 9266
- Lianyungang Municipal Foreign Affairs: 135 1156 5838 (English); 152 4033 9807 (Japanese); 187 9550 3453 (Korean); 135 0513 6496 (Russian)
- Huai’an Municipal Foreign Affairs: 135 1155 0055 ; 153 1233 1648
- Yancheng Municipal Foreign Affairs: 0515-6801 1318
- Yangzhou Municipal Foreign Affairs: 187 5274 5313 ; 180 0527 4900
- Zhenjiang Municipal Foreign Affairs: 138 0528 7199 ; 138 0528 5909
- Taizhou Municipal Foreign Affairs: 0523-8688 5897 ; 159 5116 8878 ; 134 0123 1122
- Suqian Municipal Foreign Affairs: 0527-8436 8771
- Zhejiang Provincial Foreign Affairs: 139 6813 3909
- Hangzhou Foreign Affairs: 139 5813 1110 (English)
- Ningbo Foreign Affairs: 0574-8918 6517 ; 138 0586 1661
- Wenzhou Foreign Affairs: 137 7776 3969
- Huzhou Foreign Affairs: 0572-339 0225 ; 152 6854 8425
- Jiaxing Foreign Affairs: 159 8833 0595
- Shaoxing Foreign Affairs: 139 5752 6426 ; 130 6578 9670
- Jinhua Foreign Affairs: 139 0579 8201
- Quzhou Foreign Affairs: 0570-308 2055
- Zhoushan Foreign Affairs: 184 0580 6396
- Taizhou Foreign Affairs: 135 1143 7337
- Lishui Foreign Affairs: 159 9083 7858
- Yiwu Forwign Affairs: 0579-8521 4963 ; 182 6778 9658
- Shanghai English Language service available via its government hotline 8am-8pm: 021-12345