30 Dec. 1996
Residents cycle past a large billboard featuring a picture of an Air China passenger jet with the national and international airlines' logo in eastern Beijing December 30. The government will ease restrictions on foreign travel for its citizens by the end of the year and simplify procedures for exit visas and standardise personal passport applications. So far, only a tiny fraction of the population - mostly the rich and powerful - have been able to travel abroad. Between January 1990 and June 1996, China allowed 4.3 million people to travel abroad for personal reasons.