No free plane ride for Chinese nationals in Nepal

April 28, 2015 15:56
A group of Chinese tourists stranded in Nepal carry a banner that reads "Air China, we want to fly back home". Many tourist attractions, including ancient structures at Durbar Square in Kathmandu, were destroyed in the powerful quake. Photos: AF

Chinese citizens stranded in Nepal following a deadly earthquake on Saturday will have to pay their own air fares to return to the country.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied media reports that Chinese nationals in the South Asian country can fly home for free, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.

It said it has not received any notice saying that citizens can take free flights to return from Nepal.

On Sunday, mainland media reports quoted Liu Hsiao-kuang, an attache at China’s embassy in Nepal, as saying that Chinese citizens can board airplanes even without tickets as long as they can show their passports.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday about 4,000 Chinese citizens were in Nepal the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the country early on Saturday. At least four Chinese were killed, he said.

The death toll from the quake has surpassed 4,000 as of Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a netizen who identified himself as a "Hongkonger" posted a message on online forums thanking the Chinese embassy "for saving us".

He said he was able to get a free ride to mainland China on one of the airplanes arranged by the Chinese embassy in Nepal.

However, a Chinese woman who was able to take a flight back to Sichuan province from Kathmandu on Sunday said all of the passengers on the plane paid for their seats and the airfare was about the same as usual, denying online rumors that ticket prices rose sharply after the disaster.

Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport is said to be in normal operation and those without plane tickets are not allowed to enter, the report said, adding that thousands were trying to leave the capital after the earthquake.

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