The Chinese are mad at South Korea and Japan

The Chinese are mad at South Korea and Japan
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Travel restrictions launched following the reopening of the Chinese border maybe affecting where people book travel.

But it’s not out of spite, said several Chinese travelers who spoke to CNBC.

It’s because some countries don’t let them in, they said.

‘I think it’s unfair’

New Covid rules are making some Chinese travelers go with their Plan B destinations

But Covid tests are not the problem, Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group, told “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday. It’s that “these policies are aimed only at mainland Chinese,” she said.

South African Mansoor Mohamed, who lives in China, agreed. “It’s relatively easy and cheap to do a covid test in China, so it won’t affect my travel planning,” he said.

However, I know that many patriotic Chinese colleagues and friends will avoid those countries for now because the practice of testing only arriving passengers from China is discriminatory,” he said.

Of course, China requires travelers to test negative before entering China, and has done so for three years.

The difference, Mohamed said, is that “every arrival [to China]including Chinese citizens… [is] subject to the same rules.

where do the chinese go

Gao Dan told CNBC that he plans to travel outside of Qinghai province for the first time in more than two years. But he said he is staying in China, adding that he “hasn’t investigated what other countries’ travel policies are,” according to a CNBC translation.

Others are booking trips abroad, but some are not to their top-choice destinations, namely Japan and South Korea.

One traveler, named Bonnie, told CNBC that her friends in China are going to Thailand instead of South Korea, even though “they wouldn’t have considered Thailand before.”

Tuul and Bruno Morandi The image bank | fake images

“When China said they would open the borders in January, all my friends said they would go to Japan and Korea,” Bonnie said.

But they were unable to obtain visas, he said. “So now they’re off to Thailand.”

Rein said Chinese travelers are now heading to Singapore and Thailand because “both countries are welcoming us.”

Of the top destinations sought by Chinese citizens after the border reopening announcement, those are the only two that have not imposed new restrictions on incoming Chinese travelers.

The data shows that search interest for outbound flights from mainland China increased 83% in the 11 days after the announcement, compared with the previous 14 days, according to data from Group.

During this period, search interest from Thailand and Singapore grew by 176% and 93%, respectively, according to the company.

Angrier with some more than others

Restrictions on Chinese travelers

Chinese officials called the rules by South Korea and others “excessive” and “discriminatory.”

But South Korea refutes the claims of discrimination. Seung-ho Choi, deputy director of the Korea Agency for Disease Prevention and Control, told CNBC that the country’s rules apply to “Korean and non-Korean citizens coming from China… There is no discrimination based on nationality in this extent.”

“The covid situation in China continues to worsen,” he said. The number of people who traveled from China to Korea and tested positive for COVID-19 increased 14-fold from November to December, she said.

Japan’s Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment. A representative of the Japanese Embassy in Singapore told CNBC that Japan is processing Chinese travel visa applications as usual.

Citing a discrepancy in infection data from China, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on December 21. 27: “To avoid a sharp increase in the entry of new cases into the country, we are focusing our efforts on entry and airport inspections,” according to an article published by Nikkei Asia.

Both Japan and South Korea have taken conservative stances towards the Covid pandemic.

Japan, in particular, has been slow to recover to life before the pandemic, with the residents showing little enthusiasm when its own border fully reopened in October 2022.

‘A political issue’

Rein told “Squawk Box Asia” that the rules are not just about tourism.

“This is a political issue,” he said, adding that he expects Japanese stocks to take a hit, highlighting two cosmetics names.

Read more about the reopening of China

“I would be cautious with Shiseido. I would be cautious with Kose, because there will be some boycotts,” he said. Actions of kose traded lower on the Tokyo stock exchange on Tuesday, but Shiseido was taller

Rein said that the animosity towards South Korea and Japan will be short-lived.

“The anger will take about three months to dissipate,” he said. “There will be a massive revenge trip out of Korea to Japan, if those two countries treat the Chinese properly.”

New Zealander Darren Straker, who lives and works in Shanghai, said he too believes the policies are politically motivated, calling it a “sad last gasp.” [as] the geopolitical door of the Covid closes”.

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