This week Chancellor George Osborne and Mayor of London Boris Johnson have been part of a UK delegation visiting China to promote its economic ties with Britain.
One of the most prevalent initiatives being announced is that visa applications for Chinese nationals entering the UK will be simplified. Under the plan, Chinese nationals coming to the EU will not need to submit separate UK visa applications if they book with selected travel agents.
In an audience with students at Peking University in Beijing, the Chancellor said he wants to make it clear that there is no restriction on the number of Chinese students and tourists who can visit Britain.
China is one of the UK’s most lucrative markets for tourism and business, with more than 200,000 visas issued to Chinese nationals last year.
Mr Osborne also announced a partnership between Peking University and The University of Manchester to create a joint centre for genomic medicine, which serves to strengthen the appeal of the north-west to Chinese students looking to study abroad.
He said: “This partnership will – I hope – give even more of you the chance to come to Britain and study there. We already have 130,000 Chinese students like you studying in Britain. I want more of you to come. And more Chinese visitors too. Let me make this clear to you and to the whole of China. There is no limit to the number of Chinese who can study in Britain.”
Mr Johnson shared a platform with the Chancellor and reiterated his sentiments by reminding the audience that fictional wizard Harry Potter’s first relationship was with Cho Chang – a Chinese overseas student attending Hogwarts School. He said this was a perfect illustration of “cultural interpenetration between Britain and China”.