U.S. State Department Advises Americans to “Reconsider Travel” to China Over Risk of Wrongful Detention

Xi Jinping (Source: Michel Temer)

The US State Department has issued a stern warning, advising Americans to “reconsider travel” to mainland China due to “arbitrary” law enforcement and increased risk of wrongful detention.

The US Department of State underscored the seriousness of the situation by issuing a travel advisory for China to Level 3: “Reconsider Travel.”

The Department of State has asserted that the risk of wrongful detention of U.S. nationals by the PRC government is real and ongoing in the communist China.

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC) government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including issuing exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries, without fair and transparent process under the law,” according to the travel advisory.

The advisory specifies that U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC could be detained without access to U.S. consular services or any information about their purported crime. Furthermore, U.S. citizens may be subjected to interrogations and detention without fair and transparent treatment under the law.

The warning also notes that foreigners in the PRC, including businesspeople, former foreign-government personnel, academics, relatives of PRC citizens involved in legal disputes, and journalists have been subjected to questioning and detention by PRC officials for purported violations of PRC national security laws. The advisory further points out that the PRC has also interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the country.

The PRC authorities seem to have vast discretion to classify a wide array of documents, data, statistics, or materials as state secrets. The warning highlighted that these authorities can detain and prosecute foreign nationals for alleged espionage. An intensified official scrutiny of U.S. and third-country firms operating in the PRC has been noticed, which includes professional service and due diligence companies.

The advisory stated that security personnel could detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC, Hong Kong SAR, or Macau SAR governments.

In addition, the PRC government has used restrictions on travel or departure from the PRC, or so-called exit bans, to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations;
  • pressure family members of the restricted individual to return to the PRC from abroad;
  • resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens; and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality. Dual U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese descent may face additional scrutiny and harassment. In cases of detainment or arrest, the PRC government may not notify the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulates General or allow consular access if the U.S. citizen entered the PRC on travel documents other than a U.S. passport.

Aside from mainland China, the U.S. also issued a travel advisory to Hong Kong and Macau.

The U.S. State Department urged citizens to consult with the PRC Embassy in the United States for the most updated information on travel to the PRC.

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Jim Hᴏft is the founder and editor of The Gateway Pundit, one of the top conservative news outlets in America. Jim was awarded the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award in 2013 and is the proud recipient of the Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation in May 2016.

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