Five of mainland China’s six Olympic host cities have effectively suspended business visa services for foreigners until after the games, the South China Morning Post reported. Authorities in Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao will no longer provide the invitation letters required in support of applications to visit the mainland for business, market research or training. According to the relevant authorities in each city, the issuance of invitation letters will recommence in mid-September. The Shanghai Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Commission said the new restrictions were ordered by "the superior authorities" in order to "sustain social stability during the games." Shanghai authorities said exemptions would be made in emergencies, while Beijing said it may consider applications from people coming to sign contracts in China.
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