China to allow return of students from Sri Lanka

Staff ReporterUpdated: Friday, April 22, 2022, 01:52 PM IST
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Workers take off protective gear next to the entrance of a locked-down neighborhood during a pandemic lockdown in Jing'an district in Shanghai, China, on April 5, 2022 | AFP

In a press release issued by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Beijing on Thursday, it has been announced that China will allow the return of students from Sri Lanka after a two year long hiatus since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the East Asian country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China has informed the Sri Lankan government that the Chinese Embassy in Colombo has finalized two groups of students to return, while additional students are being processed to return to China.

The Embassy will encourage the return of more students in the near future, according to the release.

The recent order on the return of Sri Lankan students in China comes in the backdrop of the economic crisis that has hit the tiny Island nation, with shortage of fuel and other essentials leading to massive protests in the country.

The press release also puts into question the future of more than 20,000 Indian students who are studying in Chinese universities but are currently in India.

On February 22, a statement from the Indian embassy in China had said that the Chinese foreign ministry has assured that the return of stranded Indian students was not a “political” matter and they will not be “discriminated against'' when the Covid-induced ban is lifted on international students from returning to China.

“In this regard, the MFA of China has assured the (Indian) Embassy that they are cognisant of the welfare of all foreign students, including Indian students, and have also conveyed that they will work on their early return to China in a coordinated manner and will continue contact with the Embassy on this matter,” the Indian embassy statement had said.

“Chinese MFA also conveyed that the return of Indian students was not a political issue and they will not be discriminated against in any manner while deciding on the return of foreign students to China to resume their education,” the statement added.

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