Americans should reconsider travel to China due to the risk of wrongful detention, the US State Department warned in an updated travel advisory issued Friday.
Although the previous advisory also listed mainland China as a “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” destination, it was due to the risk of “arbitrary enforcement of local laws.” The risk of wrongful detention was listed as a reason for US travelers to “exercise increased caution” in that advisory, which was issued in March.
A State Department spokesperson explained that because the Chinese government “continues to engage in this practice” of wrongful detention, “the Travel Advisory has been updated to advise U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Mainland China due to the risk of wrongful detention.”
“The Department of State has determined the risk of wrongful detention of U.S. nationals by the PRC government exists in the PRC,” both the late June and March advisories noted.
The updated advisory comes amid a period of heightened tensions between the United States and China.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Beijing last month in an effort to stop relations from continuing to plummet at a time of lingering distrust. At a news conference at the conclusion of the visit, Blinken said the US and China had made “progress” toward steering relations back on track as both sides agreed on the need to “stabilize” the bilateral relationship between the two superpowers.
The top US diplomat also said he raised the cases of the three Americans known to be wrongfully detained in China: Kai Li, Mark Swidan and David Lin, and noted that there are negotiations underway to try to secure their release.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will travel to the Chinese capital this week as part of continued efforts to stabilize the relationship between China and the US.