The site, set up by CEO Richard Coward, uses a traffic light system to show how countries’ restrictions are affecting students currently attempting to enter the countries.
“We have checked every country and region, and China is now the only one in the world not allowing students to return, and not offering any kind of return plan,” Coward said.
“As of this time, there has been no formal announcement from China’s Ministry of Education or any other government body on when students are able to enter China. So far, students seem to be allowed in university by university and country by country,” the website reads.
“We hope there will be some news or plans released soon – however action may only take place next year”
“There has been some indication of considering students, as seen by the tweet from the Chinese embassy official,” a representative of the @takeusbacktoCHN group, a community representing students waiting to enter, told The PIE.
“We hope there will be some news or plans released soon – however action may only take place next year,” the representative said.
The only cases in which a few international students are able to go are from Juilliard in New York, students at NYU Shanghai and some postgraduate Schwarzman Scholarship students at Tsinghua University. Students from NYU Shanghai were also able to return in 2020.
“Students from Malaysia, Russia, Pakistan, Singapore, and India have been given notice a return may soon be possible. However, no concrete dates have been announced. It is also unclear where students will have to quarantine/who will bear the costs,” the website also states.
Malaysia’s foreign minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, said in late 2021 that the country is one of a handful of “priority countries” in a pilot project to return international students to China.
Students are still waiting for any news on the situation, and for some it’s meant that their experience has been soured by the endless wait.
One student, who asked to remain anonymous, told The PIE News that their absence from China due to the ban, meant that the dormitory he was staying in was given away and their belongings “cleaned away”, including important personal documents, as previously reported by The PIE in early 2021.
“We medical students go to China for six years to do our degree,” said the student.
“It is the most important time of our lives – but now I’m just hoping to graduate, and won’t even go to China for the graduation.
“The restrictions have also meant I am unable to be a doctor anywhere at the moment – yet South Korean students, some not even vaccinated, are allowed to go into China,” they continued.
An Indian student told the Times of India that they were worried that their degrees could be cancelled entirely by Chinese universities because of the ban.
“South Korean students, some not even vaccinated, are allowed to go into China”
According to The Times of India, students have completed their course but are yet to finish mandatory internships which they require in order to practice in India.
The only recent information found to rumour any kind of movement from the Chinese government was shared by a consul from the Chinese Embassy in Lebanon, reportedly from the Chinese foreign minister.
“The foreign minister will roll out a plan this year to facilitate safe, healthy and convenient international travel,” the tweet reads.
Replies to the tweet include many statements about how the information is “vague”, that students have been waiting over “two years” and that “all we request is a date”. International students have been calling for a timeline to return to China throughout the pandemic.
The National Medical Commission in India also warned students against even trying to apply for universities in China this year, because the information from the government has been few and far between.
According to the notice, some medical universities in China were inviting applications for MBBS programs, despite the ongoing travel ban.
“What is even less helpful is the block on social media”
Pakistani students have also been pleading with their own prime minister, Imran Khan, to try and facilitate a return to China on their behalf.
“What is even less helpful is the block on social media – people don’t even really understand what is going on because Facebook and other platforms are inaccessible,” the student continued.
The news comes as students who had been waiting to enter Japan are beginning to make their way to the country, after it was announced that a cap on entries would be lifted and international students’ return to the country would be prioritised.