27 Ugandans detained in China over expired visas

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People walk along a street in Beijing, China on October 12, 2021. PHOTO | AFP

27 Ugandans are being held in Chinese jail centers after being caught for staying in the Asian country after their visas expired.

Sources close to Uganda’s embassy in Beijing, China, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, claimed those arrested include students who had completed their studies and were about to return, but were unable to do so due to the lockdown restrictions.

According to a September 8 letter from the embassy to the Chinese government, “the majority of individuals are imprisoned in Hebei and Beijing on instances connected to overstaying their visas and illicit employment.”

“While the embassy recognizes that these are illegal cases that must be handled in accordance with the laws of the People’s Republic of China,” it continues, “the Covid-19 travel challenges have severely hampered the repatriation/deportation processes, resulting in their lengthy detention of up to four months.”

The embassy said it is prepared to engage with its Chinese counterparts to achieve the release and repatriation of the affected Ugandans.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry in Kampala is said to have asked the Ugandan embassy in Beijing to guarantee that the imprisoned Ugandans are released and deported.

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