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U.S. Warns Travelers May Not Return From China, Issues Level Two Travel Advisory

By Sharelle Burt

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The United States has issued a travel advisory for China, warning citizens that if they visit, they might not be able to return.

The State Department thinks China is enforcing local laws to keep U.S. citizens without cause. They also warn Chinese-American citizens or Americans of Chinese heritage may be targeted and subject to “additional scrutiny and harassment.”

“Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using ‘exit bans,’ sometimes keeping U.S. citizens in China for years,” the State Department said.

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‘Exit bans,’ according to state officials, are used as a strategy to “compel U.S. citizens to participate in Chinese government investigations, to lure individuals back to China from abroad, and to aid Chinese authorities in resolving civil disputes in favor of Chinese parties.” Americans affected by the ban are subject to harassment and threats by authorities.

“U.S. citizens may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime,” the State Department said. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to “state security.”


This travel advisory is at level two, which advises increased caution. A level one advisory warns travelers to “exercise normal precautions,” while a level three advisory suggests that Americans “reconsider travel.” Lastly, a level four advisory recommends Americans stay away from traveling to a certain country altogether. In July, China decided to issue their own travel advisory for residents traveling to the United States, warning travelers to beware of “gunfights, stabbings, and muggings” and to “be very vigilant about the people around you, and avoid walking out alone at night.” Rightfully so.

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A level two advisory has also been issued for countries like South Africa, Brazil, Spain, France, United Kingdom, India, Russia, Algeria, Antarctica, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and Myanmar. American travelers who insist on going to China regardless need to follow guidelines while visiting. Be sure to carry a valid U.S. passport and Chinese visa at all times. Also, travelers should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to stay updated on emergency alerts.

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