BEIJING, February 10. /TASS/. Some 1.2 million Chinese citizens made trips to Russia in 2014, which is 10% more than in 2013, a spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Beijing told TASS.
"The bulk of visas we issue are tourist and business ones," Oksana Dudnik, the chief of the embassy’s consulate department said.
Chinese tourists are attracted by sights in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the first place but the number of trips to Sochi, Kazan, Siberia, and the Far East is also growing, she said.
"The high level of inter-state political relations lubricates the regime of reciprocal trips by Russian and Chinese citizens to the other country," Dudnik said. "For instance visas have been lifted for the holders of service passports and an opportunity has appeared to issue visas upon direct invitations from (Chinese) companies and organizations."
Russian citizens made about 2 million trips to China last year. The number of Russians who the Chinese authorities have issued long-term residential permits stands at slightly over 11,000 persons.
"The biggest number of Russians live in Beijing — almost 2,500 — and also there are quite a few Russians in Shanghai (1,600 persons), and in the northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang (more than 1,500 persons) and Liaoning (about 1,300 persons).
Dudnik said it was highly regrettable that some Russians committed offenses on the Chinese territory, adding that about 50 Russians were serving sentences for serious offenses here.
"Most offences concern the regime of immigration — the regulations for sojourn and employment and visa formalities," she said. "As for more serious crimes, Chinese courts have subjected 50 Russians to investigation procedures or have issued jail terms to them."