Sat. Sep 19th, 2020
Citing New Security Law, U.S. Warns of Hong Kong Travel Risk


HONG KONG — The United States is warning citizens of the danger of arbitrary “police and protection power” in Hong Kong and urging Americans to reconsider travel to the city now that the Chinese government has imposed a sweeping protection law there.

The advisory, which was posted on the State Department’s web site on Monday, is unlikely to have significantly of an fast result on travel, as entry into Hong Kong is presently tightly limited by coronavirus manage measures. But it could more fray ties concerning the United States and China.

The State Division advisory warned that the protection law, which came into force in June, could topic Americans who have been publicly important of China “to a heightened danger of arrest, detention, expulsion, or prosecution.”

The protection law targets what it deems acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign aspects, but critics say the broad wording also offers the authorities broad-ranging powers to target voices of dissent. Dozens of folks in Hong Kong have presently been arrested underneath the law, like Jimmy Lai, a prominent professional-democracy media tycoon.

The State Division has previously warned about the danger of arbitrary detention in mainland China and about the use of exit bans that can’t be readily challenged in court to hold Americans in the nation.

Hong Kong, a semiautonomous territory of China, has its very own legal method that is a lot more independent and transparent than the Communist Get together-managed courts in the mainland. But the U.S. travel advisory suggests the danger of arbitrary enforcement is raising in Hong Kong as properly.

Americans traveling in mainland China or Hong Kong “may be detained without the need of entry to U.S. consular providers or info about their alleged crime,” the advisory stated. “U.S. citizens might be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without the need of due approach of law.”

Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, criticized the new travel warning on Tuesday, saying China was a single of the safest spots on earth and the mainland had recorded no regional transmission of the coronavirus for a month.

Final 12 months, the State Division warned of the danger of “confrontational” demonstrations in Hong Kong, as mass professional-democracy rallies evolved into an more and more violent push towards Chinese rule. Various other nations issued very similar warnings.

The United States also suspended extradition and bilateral tax agreements with Hong Kong immediately after President Trump ended the unique standing granted to the city. Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand have also halted their extradition agreements with Hong Kong above the protection law.

The United States has penalized Hong Kong and Chinese officials, and Beijing has responded with very similar measures towards American lawmakers and heads of nongovernmental organizations.

The warning on Hong Kong came as the United States enhanced its evaluation of the coronavirus danger in China, the place the spread of the virus is largely managed, by altering its advisory degree to “reconsider travel” from “do not travel.”

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