A level two travel advisory has been made by the U.S. State Department cautioning against trips to China.
The advisory was updated out of suspicion that China may use local laws to unjustly detain U.S. citizens.
“Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit US citizens from leaving China by using ‘exit bans,’ sometimes keeping US citizens in China for years,” the State Department’s advisory noted.
Additionally U.S.-Chinese citizens or Americans with Chinese heritage should be particularly wary of “additional scrutiny and harassment.”
The State Department exposed that typically, Americans only learn about being possibly banned from exit as they are trying to leave.
“US citizens may be detained without access to US consular services or information about their alleged crime,” the department wrote. “US citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to “state security.”
Reasons or possible crimes that would incur such a penalty are usually not provided. However in the past China’s “security personnel may detain and/or deport US citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government.”
The advisory also explains how China regularly employs these exit bans to “compel US 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 favour of Chinese parties.”
The level two ban urges Americans to “exercise increased caution” when traveling to the People’s Republic of China. A level-three advisory recommends “reconsidering travel” to a country while a level-four advisory urges Americans to avoid traveling to a country all together.
While the circumstances vary for each place, other countries with a level-two advisory are Algeria, Antarctica, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Myanmar, and the United Kingdom.