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Americans Urged To "Exercise Increased Caution" When Traveling To China

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In the wake of high-profile detentions of foreign nationals in China, the U.S. State Department issued a Travel Advisory calling on U.S. citizens to "exercise increased caution" when traveling to the communist country.

The State Department cited "arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals" as the reason for alerting Americans.

Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using 'exit bans,' sometimes keeping U.S. citizens in China for years, says the "Level 2" Travel Advisory, issued on Thursday.

China uses exit bans coercively to compel U.S. 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, it says.

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. The State Department noted that there were cases of U.S. citizens under exit bans being harassed and threatened.

China does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-Chinese citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and China may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services, the Travel Advisory warns.

13 Canadian citizens were arrested by the Chinese police in retaliation for a top Huawei executive's arrest in Canada on December 1st at the request of U.S. prosecutors.

Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies Co., was arrested in Vancouver on charges of violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.

Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of the Chinese telecommunication giant's founder, faces extradition to the U.S. to face fraud charges, which she denies.

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