Passport Index has updated its Global Passport Power Rank for 2017, showing once again that while China may be the world’s second most powerful economy, its passport remains pretty weak.
With a visa-free score of 60, the Chinese passport is as powerful as passports from Sierra Leone, Ghana and Cuba, ranking 136th out of 199 countries and territories. Chinese passport-holders can now get into 22 countries without a visa and can receive a visa upon arrival in 38 additional countries, most of which are located in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. To visit anywhere in Europe or North America, Chinese citizens need visas.
This continues to be the case even as Chinese tourists continue to lead the world in outbound travel, spending a total of $261 billion while traveling abroad last year, more than doubling the amount spent by their US counterparts. Over the Golden Week holiday this year, more than 6 million Chinese tourists vacationed abroad, favoring countries like Thailand which grant mainland visitors visas on arrival.
Of course, visa policies often go both ways and China is less than welcoming to foreign travelers in this regard. Passport-holders of only 13 countries are allowed visa-free entry into the Middle Kingdom — this includes a hodgepodge of nations including Japan, Singapore, Serbia, Ecuador and Brunei.
In comparison, Hong Kong passport-holders can enter 142 countries/territories without a visa (ranking 45th) and Taiwan passport-holders can enter 120 (ranking 67th). Singapore has the world’s most powerful passport with its citizens being granted visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry to 159 different countries. Germany comes in second, followed by Sweden and South Korea.
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