According to a new travel advisory, the U.S. recommends Americans “reconsider travel” to mainland China because of “arbitrary” law enforcement and the potential of being wrongfully detained.
The State Department released an advisory, describing that the Chinese government “arbitrarily enforces local laws,” including issuing exit bans on U.S. and other country citizens “without fair and transparent process under the law.”
The department expressed concern that U.S. citizens in China may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. They also noted that detainees could be subjected to interrogations and detention without fair and transparent treatment under the law, leading to the risk of wrongful arrest of U.S. nationals by Beijing.
The State Department has issued a warning advising individuals that Chinese authorities have a broad definition of what can be considered a state secret, including documents, data, statistics, or other materials. Anyone suspected of espionage may be detained or prosecuted based on these allegations.
The advisory notes mention that U.S. citizens may face detention or deportation if they send private messages critical to the governments of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Hong Kong SAR, or Macau SAR.
The update stated that exit bans, which are travel restrictions imposed on individuals leaving China, could be utilized to force people to collaborate in government investigations, coerce their family members to return to China from abroad, favor Chinese citizens in civil disputes, and gain negotiating power over foreign governments.
It’s advised that Americans avoid taking drugs before or during their trip to China and participate in any demonstrations or protests that authorities could interpret as acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, or collusion with a foreign country.
The State Department has released similar advisories for the semi-autonomous Chinese regions of Hong Kong and Macao.
The recent advisory is a result of increased tensions between Washington and Beijing. These tensions are caused by various issues, such as the U.S. military shooting down a Chinese surveillance balloon in American airspace and China’s relationship with Russia during Moscow’s war on Ukraine.