Published: Fri, January 04, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

USA warns citizens of arbitrary action in China

USA warns citizens of arbitrary action in China

While the language was largely the same as earlier, the State Department warned of "arbitrary enforcement of local laws", sudden prohibitions on exiting the country and harassment of USA citizens of Chinese heritage.

The U.S. State Department issued an updated travel advisory Thursday for Americans traveling to China, warning of "exit bans" for some travelers. "The U.S., however, has recently used various excuses to conduct gratuitous inspections and create obstacles for Chinese citizens entering the U.S".

The United States warned its citizens Thursday they could face arbitrary action by authorities when they visit China, following the detention of a number of Canadians.

The latest advice also warns of "special restrictions" on those who hold dual US-Chinese citizenship.

"Chinese nationals" and Chinese authorities asserting broad authority to prohibit US citizens from leaving and using the exit bans "coercively".

"Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit USA citizens from leaving China by using 'exit bans, ' sometimes keeping US citizens in China for years", the advisory said.

Separately, three USA citizens were accused of committing "economic crimes" and barred from leaving China in November.

"Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government", the agency added.

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China's top prosecutor said on Thursdaythe two men had "without a doubt" violated the law.

China a year ago appeared to hit back at the U.S. travel advice by issuing its own guidance to Chinese coming to the United States, warning of the risk of mass shootings and the high cost of health care.

Canada has said several times it saw no explicit link between the arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, and the detentions of Kovrig and Spavor.

Their detentions followed the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who was held in Vancouver at the request of USA prosecutors on 1 December.

United States prosecutors have accused her of misleading banks about transactions linked to Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions.

Additionally, the State Department warned extra security measures, such as security checks and increased levels of police presence, are common in the Xinjiang Uighur and Tibet autonomous regions and authorities may impose curfews and travel restrictions on short notice.

In an updated travel advisory, the department said Americans should "exercise increased caution" in China.

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