Recent efforts by China to facilitate cross-border travel have made it safer and easier for Chinese people to travel abroad, and for foreigners to come to China, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on February 7.
Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a regular news briefing when asked to give more details on China's measures to facilitate cross-border travel.
To help foreigners get a mobile number easier upon arrival, carriers including China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom recently set up nine new shops at airports in such cities as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu and Xiamen, and six new shops in popular destinations for foreign travelers in cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xi'an and Qingdao.
China is committed to high-level opening-up and expanding people-to-people exchange with the rest of the world, Wang said, adding that responsible government agencies and telecom operators in China recently took steps to enhance telecom service, easing the access to such service for foreigners traveling, working, studying or living in China.
Wang said China recently announced five new measures, including shortening visa application forms, lowering visa fees for the entire year, exempting some applicants from fingerprinting, providing walk-in without appointment visa application service and extending unilateral visa-free policy to France, Germany and some other countries on a trial basis.
So far, China has signed mutual visa exemption agreements with 157 countries that cover different types of passports, and has reached agreements or arrangements to simplify visa procedures with 44 countries. China has complete mutual visa exemption with 23 countries, he added.
As the Lunar New Year approaches, China welcomes more foreign friends to come to China, to see China with their own eyes and travel the expanse of the country with their own feet and experience a true, multi-dimensional and panoramic China, said the spokesperson.