While the details are a little thin on the ground, the announcement posted on the official National Immigration Administration WeChat account this evening states that under the new rules, people with valid residence permits for 'work, personal matters and reunion' will be allowed to return to China without applying for a new permit. The new guidelines also look set to simplify rules for foreign nationals whose permits of those types expired after March 28.
‘Foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits for work, personal matters and reunion are allowed to enter China with no need for applying for new visas. If the above three categories of residence permits held by foreign nationals expired after 0 a.m., 28 March 2020, the holders may apply for relevant visas by presenting the expired residence permits and relevant materials to the Chinese embassies or consulates on the condition that the purpose of the holders’ visit to China remains unchanged. The above-mentioned personnel shall strictly abide by the Chinese regulations on epidemic prevention and control.’
Although this is positive news for many who have been unable to enter the country since the borders closed to foreigners at the end of March, of course, many questions are raised by this announcement – such as whether this means foreigners within the country will now be able to come and go (with 14-day quarantine on return) and how or whether this applies to all nationalities – which aren't clear right now but may gain clarity in the days to come.