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May 15, 2019

Cross-cultural marriages: China stops issuing visas

Top Story

May 15, 2019

Ag AFP

ISLAMABAD: Amidst rising complaints of human smuggling in the garb of cross-cultural weddings, China has decided to withhold the visas of Pakistani women planning to travel to China with their spouses.

A Chinese diplomat said the embassy had alerted Pakistani authorities after witnessing an unusual increase in wedding visa applications this year.

“Last year, 142 Pakistani women applied for such visas after marrying Chinese nationals,” Lijian Zhao, deputy chief of mission at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, said while talking exclusively to Urdu News.

He said this year 140 Pakistani brides had applied for this category of visa so far. He said China was investigating all 142 cases of weddings that took place in 2018, and initial investigations revealed that in a few isolated cases the couples were experiencing trouble.

“We are trying to determine if there are any problems. We are ready to help those girls if there is an issue.”

Zhao also mentioned a complaint by a Pakistani wife who wrote a letter to a Pakistani federal minister complaining of torture.

After receiving the letter, he said, the Chinese authorities probed the matter but found no evidence of torture. The couple later divorced, after which the diplomat said the local government in China provided the Pakistani women with a train and air ticket to travel back home. She arrived back in the country on May 2.

Lijian Zhao, however, denied media reports about Pakistani women being trafficked and subjected to forced prostitution and organ sale in China.

“Lies are being spread on the internet and the media that the Pakistani girls are being sent to China for forced prostitution or sale of organs. It is totally fabricated and for sensational purposes. There is no evidence for it,” he said.

Zhao asked the Government of Pakistan to review its visa-on-arrival policy for Chinese businessmen, as some marriage bureaus in Pakistan were misusing it. In addition, he said, the Pakistani authorities should probe the institutions and chambers of commerce and industry, which were inviting fake businessmen, who were in reality coming to the country to find wives, not to do business.

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