US Issues Sweeping Travel Warning For China & HK: “Arbitrary Detention & Prolonged Interrogations”
Tue, 09/15/2020 – 17:45
In the latest move taking aim at China over the Hong Kong national security law, and part of the broader tit-for-tat being waged between diplomats, the Trump administration is again telling American citizens they are at risk of “arbitrary detention” and “arbitrary enforcement of local laws” if they travel to Hong Kong or mainland China.
A newly updated State Department advisory warns that China imposes “arbitrary detention and exit bans” in order to compel cooperation with investigations in order to “gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments,” as well as pressure Chinese nationals abroad to return.
The advisory states further: “U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the [People’s Republic of China] or Hong Kong, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.”
China “unilaterally and arbitrarily exercises police and security power in Hong Kong” it says of the semi-autonomous city-state. It warns that US citizens are “strongly cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and avoid demonstrations.”
However, following the worst of the coronavirus pandemic appearing to be long gone in China, with the United States now for months being the global epicenter, the State Department reduced its travel advisory for China from level 4 (or “Do not travel”) to a less ominous level 3 (or “reconsider travel”).
The Chinese foreign ministry slammed the new advisory on Tuesday, calling it “unwarranted political manipulation”. Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “China has always protected the safety and legal rights of foreigners in China in accordance with law. China is one of the safest countries in the world.”
“Of course, foreigners in China also have an obligation to abide by Chinese laws,” he added.
Recently a couple of high profile Australian citizens, one of which works as a television anchor for a Chinese state news agency, were detained in China have had little to no access to lawyers or outside communications.
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