US warns citizens of arbitrary action in China

US warns citizens of arbitrary action in China

Updating a travel advisory, the State Department maintained its previous guidance that Americans should "exercise increased caution" in China but stopped short of discouraging visits.

China, it alleged, uses exit bans coercively to compel U.S. 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 State Department advises anyone traveling to China, to enter the country on a US passport with a valid Chinese visa and keep it on their person.

Its updated advice warns that U.S. citizens have been arbitrarily prevented from leaving the country.

The travel advisory update by the State Department on Thursday follows the detentions of two Canadians in China last month and came amid heightened diplomatic tensions in the wake of the arrest in Canada of a top executive in Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

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.

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It added: "China does not recognise dual nationality". USA citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny, it adds.

"U.S. citizens may be detained without access to USA consular services or information about their alleged crime", the department said.

China has detained 13 Canadians since early December when a senior executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei was arrested in Vancouver on a USA request for alleged violations of Washington's sanctions on Iran, according to Ottawa.

Beijing a year ago appeared to hit back at Washington's travel advice by issuing its own guidance to Chinese coming to the U.S., warning of the risk of mass shootings and the high cost of healthcare as well as robberies, searches and seizures by customs agents, telecommunications fraud and natural disasters.

Beijing has also defended its decision to bar the three USA citizens from leaving the country in November. "Chinese citizens and US citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment".

Their father, Liu Changming, is wanted in a $1.4bn (£1bn) fraud case in China and the family has said their detention is an attempt to lure him back to face charges.

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