International Department of the CPC Central Committee       BEIJING REVIEW
MARCH 2020       MONTHLY
Students Return Home to China


Chinese Students board a plane in London to return home (FILE)

Students studying abroad are children of the motherland and an important force to build China's future. The Party and the country have always attached great importance to Chinese students living abroad.

At the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, concerned about the motherland, the Chinese students overseas donated money and supplies in support of the fight against the epidemic to the homeland, which showed their precious patriotism. Currently, the pandemic is spreading at multiple hotspots around the world. The CPC Central Committee has always cared about the health and safety of Chinese students overseas and has adopted a series of major measures.

The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on April 2 to brief the media on the health and security of Chinese students living overseas during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ma Zhaoxu, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that regarding China's overseas students, the number of students studying overseas is quite large. According to the statistics of education authorities, the total number of China's overseas students reaches 1.6 million. Among these, 1.4 million remain abroad now.

Also, overseas students are located in different countries and regions. There are about 410,000 in the U.S., about 230,000 in Canada, about 220,000 in the U.K., about 110,000 in Germany and France, and 280,000 in Australia and New Zealand. There are also 180,000 in Japan and South Korea. These students are widespread.

Faced with the circumstances described above, the Chinese Government must take them into consideration and implement measures steadily and accurately. The goal is to try everything to ensure that our overseas students are healthy and safe.

For those students in hard hit countries who do urgently need to return home, the CPC and the Chinese government will take necessary measures in time to help them get home in an orderly fashion.

These students should cooperate with civil aviation, ports and local epidemic prevention departments before boarding flights, as well as during time spent on the planes and after crossing the border. And they need to strictly follow the epidemic prevention regulations while being responsible for public safety and their own health.

“We will continue to follow the requirements and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, take care of and serve overseas students and solve their problems properly,” Ma said.

Following the work requirements of the State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism to contain the continuously rising imported cases from overseas, the CAAC has adopted a policy to further cut international passenger flights, stipulating that each airline operate only one flight a week per country. The move to maintain the minimum level of flights is supposed to aid homeward bound Chinese citizens abroad, especially overseas Chinese students, Lyu Erxue said, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

From March 4 to 26, the CAAC organized a total of 9 temporary flights to assist 1,466 Chinese citizens in returning home from Iran and Italy. Among them, 6 temporary flights were executed in Iran, and 976 passengers were transported home. The majority of them are overseas Chinese students. Three temporary flights have been carried out in Italy, and the fourth one is currently underway, which will transport 180 Chinese citizens back home. The specific route of the fourth flight is from Milan to Wenzhou.

At the same time, according to the unified deployment of the joint epidemic prevention and control mechanism of the State Council, the CAAC officially launched the temporary flight mission to the United Kingdom on April 2. It is expected to pick up about 180 overseas students.


Cabin crew members take a group photo with passengers on a special flight from Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan to Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, Hubei Prov- ince, on February 1 (XINHUA)

To ensure the prevention of the epidemic and control during the flight, the CAAC adopted a series of targeted prevention and control measures.

“We formulated prevention and control measures for temporary flight missions to countries with a severe pandemic, which provides practical guidance for the protection of people on board,” Lyu said.

The CAAC also works closely with embassy staff and accompanying medical staff of the National Health Commission to carry out body temperature screenings and testing before boarding. In addition, special protection and disinfectant supplies are provided for each flight, and medical N95 masks will be distributed to each passenger to minimize the spread of the virus on the aircraft.

Adequate anti-epidemic measures are adopted on board, such as ventilation and disinfection. Passengers are seated in separate seats, and the cabins are partitioned to reduce the mobility of people on board.

“We will strictly disinfect the aircraft after each mission to ensure safety before performing other flight missions,” he said.

In the next step, the CAAC will strictly follow the task deployments of the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council, promptly launch aviation support mechanisms for overseas students who need to return to China from countries that are severely affected by the pandemic, and do an excellent job in transport capacity adjustment, crew arrangements, and onboard prevention and protection to ensure the successful completion of the task of helping overseas students return home.

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