US visa process system improved in Beijing?

Xinhua republishes an article from

A senior US official in charge of visa affairs says the US embassy in Beijing has improved its visa processing system and that more Chinese applicants will be able to have their applications approved more efficiently.

In the face of growing criticism over the difficulties faced by Chinese people getting visas for the US since the September 11 attacks, US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affair, Maura Harty, visited Beijing on Wednesday to assure Chinese people that the US was still "an open and welcoming society"...

The US embassy in Beijing started to fingerprint visa applicants a year ago, a measure which it says is aimed at boosting security.

In her visit to Beijing, Harty defended the fingerprinting requirement for applicants, saying it was necessary and was a quick and efficient process that took less than a minute. However, many Chinese applicants consider the measure discriminatory, as applicants in some other countries don't have to have their finger prints taken.

Three comments:

- The American embassy in South Africa treats South Africans in the same way they treat Chinese citizens in Beijing.

- I'll believe they have improved the system when you no longer see a line of desperate visa applicants snaking around half a city block. Which still happens every day.

- The story does not seem to have been reported in Chinese language media.

Xinhua article

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