Agency, 4 January : Americans visiting China could be prevented from leaving the country by “coercive” exit bans, the US State Department has warned, advising citizens to exercise increased caution in a sign of rising tensions between Beijing and Washington.
In a statement released on Thursday, the State Department warned that Chinese authorities could potentially keep US travellers in China “for years” and subject them to the “arbitrary enforcement of local laws”.
Exit bans are broadly used to force US citizens to take part in Chinese government investigations, the State Department said, as well as to lure people back to China from abroad or help authorities resolve civil disputes in favour of Chinese parties.
“In most cases, US citizens only become aware of the exit ban when they attempt to depart China, and there is no method to find out how long the ban may continue. US citizens under exit bans have been harassed and threatened,” the State Department advisory said.
The warning follows a stand-off between Canada and China over the detention of Chinese telecoms group Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Canada following a US extradition request.
Ms Meng was arrested in Vancouver over allegations of violating US sanctions on Iran.
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