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January 4, 2019

US issues new China travel warning

By Leonie Barrie

US citizens travelling to China have been advised to “exercise increased caution” by the US Department of State, which yesterday (3 January) issued a Level 2 travel advisory for the country.

The advisory warns of “arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual US-Chinese nationals.”

It continues: “Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit US citizens from leaving China by using ‘exit bans,’ sometimes keeping US citizens in China for years. China uses exit bans coercively: to compel 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 favour of Chinese parties.”

In most cases, US citizens only become aware of the exit ban when they attempt to depart China.

The warning adds: “China does not recognize dual nationality. US-Chinese citizens and 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 is the second time in a year that the State Department has issued a travel warning about China, the largest supplier of apparel to the United States. However, the Level 2 warning is not as severe as Level 3 “Reconsider travel,” or Level 4 “Do not travel.” The move also comes amidst the arrest of the CFO of Huawei in Canada, who now faces extradition to the US amid fraud charges.

Ihis week alone Level 2 warnings have also been issued for garment producing countries Tunisia due to terrorism; and in Indonesia due to terrorism and natural disasters. Travellers have also been urged to exercise increased caution in Burma due to areas of civil unrest and armed conflict.

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