China deports Lesotho student

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Pascalinah Kabi

A MOSOTHO man who had gone to study at the University of Nottingham Ningbo in China ended up being jailed for seven days before he was deported on 27 November.

Lebohang Simon Makhanya had been fined M28300 for overstaying in the Asian country and after failing to raise the money, was thrown in jail and deported immediately after serving his sentence.

He arrived in Maseru on 28 November after spending almost two months in China when he only had a 30-day visa to stay in that country, according the university’s Communications and Marketing Manager, Joan Chen.

Mr Chen on Tuesday told the Lesotho Times: “Lebohang Simon Makhanya was an offer-holder who arrived at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) on 21 September 2015 on a 30-day visa.

“He paid a 900 RMB (M2 040.35) deposit fee prior to his arrival in China, which made him a potential student or officer-holder, subsequently gaining him a residence at the institution.

“The tuition fee is 80 000 RMB (M181 225.26) per year for international students, and Makhanya arrived at the institution nearly two weeks after registration had been completed.

“On 21 September, our Student Affairs Office staff met with him and informed him that he would need to complete the tuition fee payment, otherwise he could not be registered with UNNC. Makhanya was also asked to visit the International Office for visa issues.”

Mr Chen further said the university’s International Office staff tried helping Mr Makhanya with his police clearance but after his visa expired before he could pay the full tuition fee, he was reported to the police, leading to his detention and deportation.

“Makhanya overstayed in China knowing the consequences as it was clearly spelled out on his passport that he would pay a M1132.57 fine per day for overstaying,” Mr Chen said.

“He was also told that he should settle the full tuition fee so that he could be registered with UNNC and that if he was not, then the university would not be in a position to help him extend his visa.”

According to Mr Chen, Mr Makhanya informed the UNNC Student Affairs office on September 30 that he was having financial problems and would contact his family for assistance.

“On 15 October, he told the Student Affairs office that he was fully aware of his situation and  knew he would have to head back home if no positive update happened,” Mr Chen said.

“The student was therefore fully aware that he hadn’t yet been registered with the university and his visa would soon expire. As his visa expired, the university had to report to local police about his overstay.”

Mr Chen said the Chinese police then “summoned Makhanya to report himself at the station at 9:30am on 17 November”, which he did.

“He was told that he had to pay the fine for overstay or otherwise he would be put in jail according to Chinese immigration laws,” Mr Chen said.

“He was not opposed to be restricted in jail. He only said he could probably gather the money after Friday (November 20), which was not acceptable to the police.

“So a final judgment had to be made: seven days in jail and then immediate deportation afterwards.”

Repeated efforts by the Lesotho Times to contact Mr Makhanya failed, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations professed ignorance on the matter.

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