China issues travel alert against US
China issued a travel warning for the United States on Tuesday, saying Chinese visitors have been interrogated, interviewed and subjected to other forms of what it called harassment by US law-enforcement agencies.
The warning urges Chinese citizens and Chinese-funded bodies in the US to step up their safety awareness and preventative measures and respond “appropriately and actively.” It was issued by the foreign ministry, as well as the Chinese Embassy and consulates in the US.
The warning comes amid an increasingly bitter trade dispute between Beijing and Washington and tougher immigration enforcement by the Trump administration.
China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued its own travel alert for the US on Tuesday, noting the high frequency of shootings, robberies and theft in the country. Chinese students abroad were urged on Monday to assess the risks involved, given tightened visa restrictions.
The alerts are valid until December 31.
Commenting on the warning issued to students, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the US side had to be aware of the obstacles and impact they have created.
“For some time, the US has politicised normal China-US educational exchanges, using the China threat and Chinese infiltration as excuses,” Geng said at a daily briefing.
Chinese social media has been abuzz with talk of US visa and green card denials and other travel, education and employment woes under Trump, who has sought to restrict the numbers of foreign visitors and others coming to the US for what he claims are security and economic reasons.
Partly as a result of additional visa checks, Chinese travel to the US is falling after more than a decade of rapid growth, leaving cities, malls and other tourist spots scrambling to reverse the trend.
Travel from China to the US fell 5.7 per cent in 2018 to 2.9 million visitors, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office, which collects data from US Customs forms. It was the first time since 2003 that Chinese travel to the US slipped from the prior year.
China also issued a travel warning for the US last summer, telling its citizens to beware of shootings, robberies and high costs for medical care. The US shot back with its own warning about travel to China.