USA cautions travellers on China's 'coercive use of exit bans'

The Liberal senator leading the Canadian parliamentary delegation travelling to China says his group will tread carefully in calling for the release of the two Canadians detained there.

The cases of Kovrig and Spavor have attracted concern and attention because of the serious charge from the Chinese against the two of "endangering national security". The three family members, all American citizens, arrived in China in June under United States passports to visit the ailing father of Liu's wife.

"The travel advice does not hold water".

In most cases, USA citizens only become aware of the exit ban when they attempt to depart China.

The Level 2 alert cited the Chinese government's use of arbitrary, coercive exit bans placed on Americans, which could include "prolonged interrogations and extended detention" lasting for years.

"China always welcomes foreign citizens, including US citizens, to visit China, and protects their security and legal rights, including freedom of entry and exit", Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a press briefing.

The new State Department warning also follows the arrest of several Chinese nationals in the USA on charges of espionage.

China is hitting back against a new travel advisory issued by the State Department.

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China on Friday rebutted the State Department's description of the dangers associated with traveling to the country, according to ABC News. Should you be arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.

Canada has called the detentions "deeply concerning" and "arbitrary", and demanded the immediate release of the two men.

The men, Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat now based in Hong Kong and Michael Spavor, a businessman who helped to organize tours to North Korea, were arrested by China's security agency over three weeks ago on suspicion of harming China's security. She faces extradition to the USA to face fraud charges. Diplomatic tension between Canada and China has intensified since Meng's arrest on December 1.

China ratcheted up its accusations against the two detained Canadians on Thursday, with the country's chief prosecutor declaring that the pair broke Chinese law "without a doubt".

"China always welcomes foreign citizens - including United States citizens - to visit China, and protects their security and legal rights, including freedom of entry and exit".

A foreign ministry spokesman told reporters that they "all have. valid identity documents as Chinese citizens" and are "suspected of having committed economic crimes".

"Right now, it's hard to know how China will deal with the other two, but it definitely has the feel of hostage diplomacy", he said.

  • Sonia Alvarado