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US Issues Travel Advisory to China After 13 Canadians Detained

VANCOUVER – Some observers believe the detentions were retaliation for Wanzhou’s arrest in Vancouver, the United States warned its citizens on Thursday that they could face arbitrary action by the authorities during their visit to China, following the detention of a number of Canadians, AFP reported Friday.
In updating a travel advisory, the State Department has maintained its previous recommendations that Americans should “be more cautious” in China without discouraging visits.
While the wording was largely the same as before, the State Department cautioned against “the arbitrary application of local laws”, the sudden ban on leaving the country and the harassment of US citizens of Chinese origin.
“In most cases, US citizens are informed of the exit ban only when they are trying to leave China, and there is no way to determine the duration of the ban,” the state department said.
“US citizens subject to exit bans have been harassed and threatened,” the statement said.
It also urged Americans to ensure last-minute security checks and curfews in Xinjiang and Tibet, two minority-majority areas where Beijing has sought to impose tight control.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asked about the update of the notice in a television interview, and said the US State Department wanted the Americans “to understand the risk, but continue to return when appropriate. “
“We wanted to let them know that there was more risk of what China had done in terms of people who were traveling in this country and who were not allowed to return,” Pompeo told Fox’s host.
Thirteen Canadians were arrested in China following the arrest on December 1st of a senior Chinese telecom equipment giant, Huawei.
Global Affairs Canada spokesman Guillaume Berube confirmed the detentions to AFP, adding that the figures were excluded from Hong Kong.
Among the thirteen were ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and consultant Michael Spavor, arrested on December 10 for activities that would threaten national security, and Sarah McIver, who was later released and returned to Canada.
China protects security and the legitimate rights and interests of foreign citizens in the country, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Friday.
Approximately 200 Canadians in total have been detained in China for various alleged offenses and continue to face ongoing court proceedings.
In comparison, close to 900 Canadians are in a similar situation in the United States.
Some observers believe that the detentions of Kovrig, who works for the International Crisis Group, and Spavor, who was frequently consulted on North Korean cases, were retaliation for the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Vancouver.
Washington has accused her of fraud for helping to escape US sanctions against Iran. She was subsequently released on bail pending her extradition hearing.
Supported by the United States and several European countries, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has called for the immediate release of Kovrig and Spavor, whose arrests have been described as arbitrary in Ottawa.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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