04 Jan 2019
US urges citizens to exercise 'increased caution' on China travel
The US State Department has urged its citizens traveling to China to exercise "increased caution" due to "arbitrary enforcement of local laws" and special restrictions on dual US-Chinese nationals.
The warning comes after the detention of two Canadians by the Chinese authorities.
The updated travel advisory said Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit US citizens from leaving China by using "exit bans".
China uses 'exit bans' to lure citizens, alleges State Department
The advisory stated that sometimes the Chinese government uses "exit bans" to keep US citizens in China for years.
China, it alleged, uses exit bans coercively to compel the US 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.
'US citizens under exit bans have been harassed and threatened'
"In most cases, US citizens only become aware of the exit ban when they attempt to depart China, and there's no method to find out how long the ban may continue. US citizens under exit bans have been harassed and threatened," the State Department said.
US citizens may be detained without access to US consular services or information about their alleged crime, it added.
US advisory comes after Chinese authorities detained two Canadians
"Extra security measures, such as security checks and increased levels of police presence, are common in the Xinjiang Uighur and Tibet Autonomous Regions. Authorities may impose curfews and travel restrictions on short notice," the State Department said.
The development comes in the wake of detention of two Canadians by Chinese authorities last month on charges of activities that "endanger China's security."
China using 'state security' reason to detain several US citizens
The state department cautioned further that US citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to "state security". Security personnel may detain and/or deport US citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government, it said.
China may prevent US Embassy from providing consular services: Advisory
China, the travel advisory says, does not recognize dual nationality. US-Chinese citizens and the US citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and China may prevent the US Embassy from providing consular services, it said.