US Issues New Travel Warning for China, Hong Kong

The new measure is unlikely to have an immediate effect due to the citys coronavirus restrictions, but could worsen US-China ties
Over 7 lakh US citizens visited Hong Kong in 2019
Over 7 lakh US citizens visited Hong Kong in 2019

The US this week cited the risk of &ldquoarbitrary detention&rdquo and &ldquoarbitrary enforcement of local laws&rdquo to issue a sweeping new advisory warning against travel to China and Hong Kong.

The advisory is believed to increase tensions between the sides that have already spiked since Beijing's imposition of the strict new national security law over Hong Kong. The decision had already been met with a series of punitive actions by the US.

The statement released by the US warned its citizens of &ldquoarbitrary detention and exit bans&rdquo imposed by China to compel cooperation with investigations, pressure family members to return to China from abroad, influence civil disputes, and &ldquogain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.&rdquo

The newly imposed security law in Hong Kong which came into effect on June 30, 2020, revolves around secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion. The law states that the four categories of crime are punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Article 38 of the law applies to people from outside Hong Kong, and &ldquowho are not permanent residents of Hong Kong.

According to the advisory, &ldquothe US citizens travelling or residing in China or Hong Kong, maybe detained without access to US consular services or information about their alleged crime. US citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.&rdquo

In Hong Kong, China &ldquounilaterally and arbitrarily exercises police and security power,&rdquo the advisory said, adding that new legislation also covers offenses committed by non-Hong Kong residents or organisations outside of Hong Kong, possibly subjecting US citizens who have publicly criticised China to a &ldquoheightened risk of arrest, detention, expulsion, or prosecution.&rdquo When in Hong Kong, US citizens are &ldquostrongly cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and avoid demonstrations,&rdquo the advisory said.

Meanwhile, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson to the Chinese foreign ministry told that the US should &ldquofully respect the facts and should not engage in unwarranted political manipulation&rdquo when issuing such advisories.

&ldquoChina has always protected the safety and legal rights of foreigners in China by the law. China is one of the safest countries in the world,&rdquo Wang said. &ldquoOf course, foreigners in China also have an obligation to abide by Chinese laws.&rdquo

Earlier last month, the Trump administration had suspended or terminated three bilateral agreements with Hong Kong citing Beijing&rsquos violation of its pledge for Hong Kong to retain broad autonomy for 50 years after its handover to Chinese rule. Following the national security law&rsquos passage, other western nations have also suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller