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by | Jan 3, 2019 | Breaking News, Business, Current Events, Government, News, Politics | 0 comments

The¬†US State Department has issued a travel advisory¬†urging Americans to “exercise increased caution” when traveling to the People’s Republic of China.

The State Department’s elevated travel advisory is out of concern that China may arbitrarily enforce local laws and detain US citizens without cause.

The advisory also indicates that US-Chinese citizens or Americans of Chinese heritage are especially vulnerable to “additional scrutiny and harassment.”

“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,” the State Department said in its advisory.

According to the advisory, China tends to use these exit bans in a coercive manner 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 favor of Chinese parties.”

“In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of the exit ban when they attempt to depart China, and there is no method to find out how long the ban may continue. U.S. citizens under exit bans have been harassed and threatened,” the warning said.

“US citizens may be detained without access to US consular services or information about their alleged crime,” the State Department said. “US citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to “state security.”

“Security personnel may detain and/or deport US citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government,” the agency added.

The State Department in recent weeks has issued a number of Level 2 travel warnings for countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Russia, France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, citing the risk of terrorism. Last week, that level of warning was issued for Burma, urging travelers to “exercise increased caution … due to areas of civil unrest and armed conflict.”

Level 2 travel warnings are one step more serious than Level 1 warnings, which urge travelers to “exercise normal precautions.” The next more serious warnings are Level 3, or “Reconsider travel,” and Level 4, “Do not travel.”

The updated warning does not apply to Hong Kong. The State Department’s advisory on that special administrative region urges travelers to “exercise normal precautions.”

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