An Echelon Media Company
Wednesday October 5th, 2022

Sri Lankan medical students waiting to return to China to be prioritised: Wang Yi

ECONOMYNEXT – China Foreign Minister Wang Yi has promised to facilitate Sri Lankan medical students return to China and continue their degree, Sri Lanka’s Department of Government Information (DGI) said.

Approximately 1,200 medical students, including 400 final-year students, who were studying at Chinese medical institutes are waiting to return to China to complete their studies after coming back to Sri Lanka after last year’s COVID-19 outbreak. They have been unable to return to China due to restrictions imposed by Beijing as a result of the pandemic.

In a statement the DGI said, Yi has instructed the Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka to work closely with the Foreign Ministry to facilitate the return of the students with immediate effect following a meeting held with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday (09).

Yi is on a two-day official visit to Colombo to sign a number of grants as Sri Lanka and China celebrate the 95th anniversary of their bilateral relations.

According to Foreign Ministry sources, some countries such as Hong Kong (SAR of the PRC), Macau (SAR of PRC), Turkey, UAE (Dubai Emirate), Qatar, Bulgaria, Finland, Malta, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Czech Republic have categorized Sri Lanka under high risk countries and some have restricted tourists from coming.

Even though being vaccinated is not a priority for traveling to China, Foreign Ministry sources said the universities where the students were studying have not yet granted permission for them to return to continue their education.

However, the statement said, following the discussion the Chinese delegate had given his assurance that Sri Lankan students will be given highest priority.

“I believe it is a common question, not only for Sri Lankan students, but also from many other countries’ students who want to return to universities in China,” Qi Zhenhong, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka told reporters in Colombo after Yi left Colombo.

“I must share with you that the Chinese government has already listed Sri Lanka on the first batch of the country when we open and overseas students going to return.”

“But we must take into consideration that COVID-19 is still spreading. The Beijing Winter Olympics is also set to open in a few weeks. So we work step by step.

“I fully understand the difficulties and concerns of the students and their families. But I also hope our friends can understand the difficulties for China. Both sides should communicate on the issue and should work together on it for a better future,” he said.

Other matters discussed at the meeting, according to the DGI were further support for the vaccine program, attracting investments to the Port City and the Hambantota Industrial Zone, increasing tourism from China to Sri Lanka, increasing Sri Lankan exports to China and enhancing cultural cooperation especially in the area of Buddhist ties. (Colombo/Jan10/2021)

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