Beijing Cracks Down on Illegal Foreigners

Posted May 15th, 2012 at 12:15 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Immigration authorities in Beijing on Tuesday began a 100-day crackdown on foreigners who illegally work and live in the Chinese capital.

Officials say the campaign targets foreigners who overstay their visas and work without authorization – an increasing problem for China and its developing economy.

Police say they will conduct random checks in areas frequented by foreigners, including at bars, hotels, restaurants and universities. Locals have also been encouraged to report foreigners suspected of wrongdoing to a police hotline.

Officials are warning foreigners to keep their passports and other important documents on them at all times, as required by Chinese regulations.

It is the first time China has openly targeted illegal residents in Beijing. Other Chinese cities are expected to implement similar campaigns, as authorities deal with a rising influx of immigrants from poorer countries.

Immigrants – both legal and illegal – have flocked to China in recent years as its economy has improved, though the exact number of illegal immigrants is not known.

An editorial in the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times on Tuesday called for a “tough attitude in the fight against illegal foreigners,” which it described as a “new challenge” for China.

While the paper said China should create favorable conditions for foreigners, it said the country “cannot afford to be an immigrant destination” at this stage in its development.

Since 2008, Beijing has recorded 13,000 instances of illegal entry, overstaying visas, and illegal employment by foreigners. Authorities estimate that 120,000 foreigners live in the capital.

The campaign comes days after a British tourist was detained after a video circulated online allegedly showing him assaulting a Chinese woman on a public street.

Police deny the crackdown has anything to do with the incident, which prompted outrage among many Chinese web users.