29 April 2015

‘The Chinese Passport Demonstrates Its True Worth’

APRIL 27, 2015

HONG KONG — On April 25, a massive magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal near its capital Kathmandu, with the death toll topping 4,000. Thousands of Chinese tourists were among those who survived, and the vast majority anxious to flee would soon come to know the value, and the limits, of the passports they bore as they sought to return home.

Over the past few years, Nepal has become a popular tourist destination for China’s growing middle class; visitors pose with pigeons in the historical Dunbar Square in Kathmandu and trek in the foothills of the Himalayas to gaze at the snowy peaks. According to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency, there were about 4,000 Chinese tourists in Nepal at the time of the earthquake. Almost all of them, in the chaotic aftermath, were anxious to get home. “Passengers can board [Chinese planes in Kathmandu] with or without a plane ticket as long as they have Chinese passports,” according to an April 26 Xinhua editorial, which concluded, “In a time of need, the Chinese passport demonstrates its true worth.”

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