In early March, China announced the introduction of medical certificates for international travel, in other words, "vaccine passports". The local Foreign Ministry said that the implementation of this document will contribute to the resumption of international travel and the restoration of tourism. Similar initiatives are not the first day considered by Western countries, but the Middle Kingdom became the first state that moved from intentions to actions.
Meanwhile, a promising innovation has already been covered by a wave of criticism. First, certificates can only be obtained by citizens of the People's Republic of China, and secondly, there is a standard question about the security of personal data. And third, the country still has the most stringent quarantine measures in the world вЂ” when entering China, you must be isolated for at least 21 days. With or without a vaccine passport, it is unlikely that there will be many Chinese people who want to go abroad and then spend three weeks in quarantine.
The news about the introduction of medical certificates was published on March 8 on the website of the consular department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The message contains a description and detailed instructions on how to get the document. To do this, you need to scan the QR code posted on the agency's page using the Chinese messenger WeChat and enter your personal data in the window that appears: name, phone number, and ID card.
Foreigners living in China face restrictions at the first stage of registration: the application only accepts the Shenfenzheng-the identity card of Chinese citizens. And those who have a passport in their hands are not allowed to enter. In other words, medical certificates are designed only "for their own", to facilitate international travel for the 1.4 billion inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom.
According to the statement, the certificate contains information about the results of a PCR test for coronavirus, a test for the detection of IgG antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, as well as data on the vaccination of a citizen. All this information is encrypted for each user using an individual QR code. In addition to the electronic version, the holder of the vaccine passport can receive a paper copy of it.
In November last year, during the online summit of the Group of Twenty (G20), Chinese President Xi Jinping took the initiative to create an international mechanism for the recognition of "health codes", which will be based on the results of PCR tests for coronavirus.
As Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, the introduction of medical certificates for international travel-vaccine passports - is just aimed at implementing Xi Jinping's concept, only in addition to the results of tests for COVID-19, the document will also include data on vaccination. "This is the Chinese version of the medical certificate for international travel," Wang Yi said at a press conference on the sidelines of a parliamentary session held in Beijing in early March.
"The main purpose of the certificate will be to ensure a safe and orderly flow of people. In the near future, when more and more countries will agree on the mutual recognition of medical certificates with the PRC, this document will play a great role in promoting healthy, safe, and orderly cross-border movement of people," the head of Chinese diplomacy assured.
It seemed that the Celestial Empire was finally opening a thick curtain of anti-epidemic protection from the outside world. But there are also "buts" here. In both cases, foreigners coming to the country must be vaccinated with a Chinese-made vaccine.
Representatives of the West have repeatedly accused Beijing of vaccine diplomacy: they say that China is expanding its geopolitical influence by supplying drugs. As of the beginning of March, the People's Republic of China supplied vaccines to more than 70 countries and exported them to more than 40 countries. The country's leadership, of course, rejects all claims and attacks.