Hundreds of Chinese are currently stranded in Sweden unable to return home due to covid-19 restrictions in China.
Media STV has spoken to “Jian” (who’s real is something else but he would like to stay anonymous) who worked in Borås but is now unable to return to his home country of China, even though his work permit expired more than a month ago. He is now stuck with acquaintances in Borås.
About the situation, he says, “I’m powerless and can do nothing. The Embassy says to wait”.
Jian has been in Sweden working for a company for two years and now that his job is over he would like nothing better than to return home. A month has passed, however, and he still has not managed to get a ticket to China. The Chinese embassy in Sweden tells him to wait.
“It feels really hard,” Jian says.
Jian is not the only Chinese in this situation and many others are unable to return home due to China’s strict covid-19 restrictions and the fact that there have been no flights to China from Sweden this year.
According to Jian, there are several hundred Chinese in the same location as him, many around Gothenburg and Stockholm as well and they all support each other in a chat group.
“We can not stay here forever. We are now a few hundred who can not get home. For about half of the people, their visa has expired,” Jian says
In an email to STV, the Chinese Embassy in Sweden confirms that some students and workers have not been able to return to China and writes that they “take this seriously”. The Embassy can however not answer when or how the Chinese will be able to return home or exactly how many people are affected.
Instead, the Embassy states that Chinese authorities will take up air traffic “at an appropriate time, based on the covid situation in China”, and appeal, in their response, to Swedish authorities to make it easier for Chinese citizens, for example by extending residence permits and visas.
Jian says that it is also not possible to trust a transfer via another country, as air traffic to China is unstable from other countries as well. Covid tests and a special health certificate before departure are also required, which must be applied for through a Chinese Embassy. He may risk being trapped elsewhere and there he will be without a network of contacts.
“I’m powerless and can do nothing. It feels sad,” he says.