US updates China travel alert, warns citizens of arbitrary action

US updates China travel alert, warns citizens of arbitrary action

In its previous travel advisory for China issued on 22 January past year, the State Department urged Americans to "exercise increased caution" in the country because of "the arbitrary enforcement of local laws and special restrictions on dual US-Chinese nationals".

China, it alleged, uses exit bans coercively to compel USA citizens to participate in Chinese government investigations, to lure individuals back to China from overseas, and to aid Chinese authorities in resolving civil disputes in favour of Chinese parties.

The US state department has renewed its warning for US citizens traveling in China to exercise increased caution due to "arbitrary enforcement of local laws" amid heightened diplomatic tensions over the arrest in Canada of a Chinese technology company executive.

An American flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem during a welcoming ceremony for visiting U.S. President Donald Trump outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The advisory, which warns of the potential for arbitrary detentions, "cannot stand up to scrutiny", said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who noted that 2.3 million Americans visited China between January and November 2018.

The warning comes as two Canadian citizens remain in detention in China. The three family members, all American citizens, arrived in China in June under USA passports to visit the ailing father of Liu's wife.

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China last month detained two Canadians, a former diplomat and a businessman, on charges of activities that "endanger China's security".

According to the State Department, China may issue exit or travel bans in instances where there are business disputes and court orders to pay a settlement. "China always welcomes foreign citizens - including United States citizens - to visit China, and protects their security and legal rights, including freedom of entry and exit".

The updated guidance was issued amid increasing tensions between the US and China over ongoing trade disputes, as well as the December 1 arrest of Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.

"U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to 'state security, '" the advisory says. All three are U.S. citizens.

It added: "China does not recognise dual nationality". China has accused the Liu family of being "involved in economic crimes".

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