China on Thursday replaced the head of its Cabinet office responsible for Hong Kong following months of anti-government protests in the territory and rising tensions over the outbreak of the viral COVID-19 respiratory illness. "In case of compelling reasons to travel to India, such persons may get in touch with (Indian) embassy in Beijing or consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou for new visa", the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a circular titled "suspension of regular visa and e-visa of Chinese nationals residing anywhere and foreigners residing in China" issued on Saturday for all airlines, Indian and foreign, that operate global flights to and from India, adding, "These visa restrictions will not apply to aircrew, who may be Chinese nationals or other foreign nationalities coming from China", it adds.
Beijing also said today that it had appointed as deputy directors of the HKMAO Luo Huining, who became the new liaison office head in January, and Fu Ziying, the director of the Macau liaison office.
"I think Xi Jinping wanted to find someone he could trust", said Cabestan.
The appointment of such a senior official potentially indicates a permanent overhaul in how Beijing manages the former British colony.
The CCP late a year ago issued a communique signaling greater intervention in everything from education in Hong Kong to how the territory picks its leader.
Xia served as Chinese President Xi Jinping's deputy when Xi was Communist Party secretary of Zhejiang province from 2003 to 2007.
The new director, Xia, is a senior official, holding the role of secretary-general at the national committee of China's top political advisory body.
Hong Kong's government, having weathered months of mass protests, now faces deepening public distrust over its handling of the spread of a coronavirus outbreak centered on the mainland that's led to runs on surgical masks and toilet paper and shuttered local schools through March.
Speculation has also swirled that Beijing may be preparing to replace Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam when matters settle down. Ticketholders who had planned to fly to Hong Kong are also eligible if tickets were purchased before January 23. The gaming hub, meanwhile, has been forced to temporarily close its casinos.
Hong Kong's global schools are bracing for an exodus of families from the city, with some warning they may have to shut for good after the government suspended classes to prevent the spread of coronavirus.