US travel advisory distorts truth, hypes up ‘fear of China’ sentiment: experts

By Zhang Han Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/12 23:49:40

Photo: Xinhua

The US has added more fuel to China-US tensions by warning its citizens over "arbitrary detention" in China, but the alert was slammed by Chinese experts as a blatant distortion of the truth aimed at hyping a "fear of China" atmosphere. 

The US state department on Saturday warned its citizens to exercise increased caution regarding China due to an "arbitrary enforcement of local laws for purposes other than maintaining law and order." This "arbitrary enforcement" may include detention and the use of exit bans, it said. 

The alert claimed that US citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to "state security."

The warning was also emailed to US citizens registered as being in China, Bloomberg reported. 

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Sunday that the move was a blatant distortion of China's law enforcement to hype up a "China fear" atmosphere among Americans and heighten bilateral confrontations. 

Foreign citizens will only be arrested in China for solid evidence of illegal acts, including those that jeopardize China's national security. It is untrue to imply that one can be arrested just for a few critical comments, Li said. 

This is not the first time that the US issued travel warnings against China. In December 2018, the state department considered issuing a warning to advise citizens to be cautious of traveling to China to avoid "being arbitrarily interrogated and detained" after Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was interrogated and detained at its request in Canada, according to media reports. 

It upgraded travel alert in January 2019 that asserted dual US-Chinese nationals are at particular risk from so-called exit bans that prevent them from leaving. 

But such travel alerts were dismissed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry as "not holding water," citing a higher ratio of Americans traveling to China than vice versa. The US has been citing various reasons to block Chinese people from visiting the US, and conduct needless checks, then ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said. 

The latest travel advisory serves the Trump administration's political aim of fueling a domestic anti-China atmosphere, which will help it scapegoat China for its coronavirus failures, other problems and fool a certain demographic of voters before the election, Li said.

The travel advisory can also be interpreted as part of its overall strategy to pressure China over a wide range of topics such as the national security law for Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the South China Sea, Li said.

The US has also become more active in the Taiwan Straits, increasing its operations. 

These acts targeting China will push the two countries further apart on the decoupling track, Li noted. 

Chinese analysts also warned of conspiracies and coordinated actions within the Five Eyes intelligence alliance to contain China. 

Australia on Tuesday updated its travel advice for China, claiming that foreigners could be arrested on alleged national security grounds. 

Li warned that such close collusion among the members of the intelligence clique is not only about politics and military, but also about strategy in the international community. It is self-evident that they act in concert and will collude even more closely on China-related issues in the future to discredit China, Li said. 

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