State Dept. issues travel warning for Americans going to China

Anna Jefferson
January 5, 2019

Chinese authorities have detained a total of 13 Canadians since last month's arrest of a top Huawei Technologies executive, according to a report Thursday by the Globe and Mail.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asked about the updated China travel advisory in a televised interview, said the State Department wanted Americans to "understand the risk but still travel there when it's appropriate".

The publicised arrests of the three Canadians were widely seen as retaliation for Canada arresting Ms Meng, a move that infuriated Beijing.

Day said the delegation will not meet with John McCallum, the Canadian ambassador based in Beijing, but it will receive a briefing on the latest developments regarding the detainees from Weldon Epp, Canada's consul general in Shanghai.

Cooper acknowledged there was discussion about whether the trip would go ahead given the current tensions, until the leader of the delegation, Liberal Sen.

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The new advisory is an update to the previous advisory issued January 22, 2018. "Quite frankly, if there were safety issues or if it was deemed to not be beneficial, then we wouldn't be going".

The U.S. State Department on Thursday updated its China travel warning, telling Americans to "exercise increased caution in China due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S".

Day said his delegation has been well briefed by Global Affairs Canada and he's not anxious about its members' personal security.

Backed by the US and several European countries, Canada's foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, has repeatedly called for the immediate release of Kovrig and Spavor, whose arrests Ottawa has termed arbitrary.

Significantly more Canadians - almost 900 - are in similar circumstances in the U.S.

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Kovrig and Spavor are among 13 Canadians who have been detained in China since Meng's arrest on December 1, eight of whom have since been released.

Thirteen Canadians have been detained in China following the arrest on December 1 of a senior executive from Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei, Ottawa said Thursday, with eight subsequently released.

China disagrees. On Friday Lu Kang, the spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, said the State Department's exit ban warning "cannot stand up to scrutiny". "USA citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to 'state security, '" the advisory said. "It is not convenient to disclose more information now". Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor remain in custody.

Malley said he has full confidence in the approach the government has taken.

"U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to 'state security.' Security personnel may detain and/or deport USA citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government".

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Since then, China has arrested two Canadians on charges of endangering national security in what appeared to be retaliation. Her arrest has also heaped uncertainty on efforts by Washington and Beijing to reduce tensions in their trade war.

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