Sunday marked the first day travelers could cross into China in over three years, as Beijing finally opened its borders for the first time in the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Newsmax reports that China’s borders re-opening represents the “final farewell” of the country’s harsh zero COVID policies, and the move comes only after historic protests against the regime’s protocols.
“After three years, mainland China opened sea and land crossings with Hong Kong and ended a requirement for incoming travelers to quarantine, dismantling a final pillar of a zero-COVID policy that had shielded China’s 1.4 billion people from the virus but also cut them off from the rest of the world.
China’s easing over the past month of one of the world’s tightest COVID regimes followed historic protests against a policy that included frequent testing, curbs on movement, and mass lockdowns that heavily damaged the second-biggest economy.”
The country’s re-opening is a boon for the nation’s economy and a long-awaited reunion for millions of Chinese people.
For many, Sunday was the first time that they could visit family members and friends in over three years.
“I’m so happy, so happy, so excited. I haven’t seen my parents for many years,” said Hong Kong resident Teresa Chow as she prepared to cross into mainland China from Hong Kong’s Lok Ma Chau checkpoint.
“My parents are not in good health and I couldn’t go back to see them even when they had colon cancer, so I’m really happy to go back and see them now,” Chow said.
Saturday marked the beginning of “chun yun” for the Chinese, a 40-day period of Lunar New Year travel, which was, prior to the pandemic, the world’s largest annual migration according to Reuters.
The Chinese government expects 2 billion trips this season, nearly double last year’s figure.
The communist nation reopens in the midst of rising tensions between Eastern and Western powers.
U.S. President Joe Biden visited 60 Minutes in late 2022 to discuss his view on America’s current relationship with the Chinese.