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State Dept. issues travel warning for Americans going to China


Advisory cites arbitrary, coercive exit bans used by Chinese government

WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory Thursday for Americans planning trips to China, warning U.S. citizens to "exercise increased caution" when visiting the communist nation.

The Level 2 alert cited the Chinese government's use of arbitrary, coercive exit bans placed on Americans, which could include "prolonged interrogations and extended detention" lasting for years.

What are the details?

"Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using 'exit bans,' sometimes keeping U.S. citizens in China for years," the State Department advisory read. "China uses exit bans coercively:

  • to compel U.S. citizens to participate in Chinese government investigations;
  • to lure individuals back to China from abroad, and
  • to aid Chinese authorities in resolving civil disputes in favor of Chinese parties."

U.S. officials further warned that "China does not recognize dual nationality," adding that "U.S.-Chinese citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and China may prevent the U.S. embassy from providing consular services."

Anything else?

An ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has heightened rhetoric between the two countries for months. Adding to the tension, Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on Dec. 1 at the behest of the U.S. government.

This action led to to the detention of a handful of Canadian citizens by Chinese officials. The arrest of the Canadian nationals was considered a retaliatory move by foreign policy experts.

The Canadian government warned its citizens in October to "exercise a high degree of caution" when traveling to China. The Level 3 alert warned Canadians to "avoid non-essential travel" due to "an extreme risk to your personal safety and security."

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