The change in the visa rules came as French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna met with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on Friday.
Beijing announced that from December citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia will all be allowed to visit China for 15 days without a visa.
The relaxation of the visa rules will be trialled for a year.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna was in Beijing to seek reassurances that China would not help Russia – directly or indirectly – in its war against Ukraine.
Beijing has refrained from criticising Russia’s invasion or the Hamas attack that sparked its latest war with Israel, taking a different stance than many in Europe and the United States. It has accused the West of prolonging the European conflict by supplying arms to Ukraine and called for an end to the fighting in both wars.
Her meetings in Beijing underscored an effort by both sides to continue a dialogue despite their growing differences, whether on the Ukraine war, the Israel-Hamas war or Europe’s huge trade deficit with China. The talks in some ways foreshadowed an EU-China leaders meeting next month.
In a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang earlier in the day, Colonna said their countries should work together to address issues such as climate change and biodiversity. A major UN climate conference starts next week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“As big powers, we both share the responsibility to tackle global challenges … and we can make concerted efforts in alleviating tensions around the world,” she said.
China has been critical of US efforts to seek the help of its allies, including in Europe, in its competition with China over trade, technology and security. It has accused the US of building groupings to contain China’s development and rise.
Foreign Minister Wang warned against the politicising of issues and protectionism. The European Union has been taking a tougher line on China, launching a trade investigation into subsidies given to Chinese electric vehicle makers.