onsdag 18. mai 2022

Eventually, China’s Borders Will Reopen. Will Foreigners Return?

Longtime Shanghai resident Alex Shoer’s life path typifies that of many foreigners living in China. He arrived, in 2011, for what was supposed to be a short period. And then he just didn’t want to leave. “I really liked it and then decided to stay for one year,” Shoer, who is American, told Sixth Tone. “Every year after that I stayed for one more year.” He eventually started his own consultancy in Shanghai, Seeder Clean Energy. He had no immediate plans to move away.

In early 2020, while Shoer was traveling in New Zealand, his flight back to China was canceled due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19. With no way to get to his apartment or his company, Shoer went back to the U.S. with the plan to return to Shanghai when possible. Two years later, he still hasn’t been able to.

Shoer now typifies another, growing group of people: foreign nationals who, until recently, called China home. Many left because of China’s travel restrictions, which, more than two years into the pandemic, still make it nearly impossible for foreigners to enter the country — or, for those already in China, to visit family and return.