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US warns against travel to China, Hong Kong citing COVID-19, arbitrary enforcement of local laws

ANI | Updated: Sep 16, 2020 02:58 IST

Washington [US], September 16 (ANI): The United States has issued a travel advisory for its citizens travelling to China including Hong Kong citing COVID-19 and "arbitrary enforcement of local laws".
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for the PRC and Hong Kong due to COVID-19.
According to the press release issued by the US Department of State, "The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including by carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and through the use of exit bans on US citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law. The PRC government uses arbitrary detention and exit bans -- to compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations, to pressure family members to return to the PRC from abroad, to influence PRC authorities to resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and to gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments."

The advisory also warned its citizens that in most cases the US citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart from the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.
"US citizens traveling or residing in the PRC or Hong Kong, may be detained without access to US consular services or information about their alleged crime. US citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law. Security personnel may detain and/or deport US citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government," the advisory said.
The State Department further said that the PRC government does not recognise dual nationality.
"US-PRC citizens and US citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the US Embassy from providing consular services," the department added. (ANI)