Visa-free tourism restored between Russia and China in Far East

Visa restrictions have been lifted for tourists between Russia's Maritime Territory (the Far East) and China. Border checkpoints on the Maritime Territory's sector of the Russo-Chinese border had been closed in connection with the SARS epidemic.

Deputy Governor Viktor Gorchakov announced that all border checkpoints in the territory except for three had been re-opened for tourists. A Russian government order declared that the remaining three points (Makhalina, Markovo and Turii Rog) were unable to re-open due to a lack of equipment.

Maritime Territory Governor Sergei Darkin imposed temporary restrictions on border traffic with China on May 8. For a month Chinese citizens were forbidden to enter the territory, while Russians were similarly prohibited from going to China, through visa-free checkpoints. Moreover, Chinese workers, as well as Russian and Chinese businessmen with exit-entry visas, were not allowed to cross this sector of the border.

Viktor Gorchakov pointed out that the governor's order had expired. According to him, there is now no reason to impose restrictions on visa-free tourist travel between the Maritime Territory and China. No SARS cases have been registered in Russian areas bordering on China. However, the deputy governor stressed that every Chinese citizen crossing the Russian border would be subject to a thorough /medical examination.

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