The U.S. has asked its citizens to “exercise increased caution” in China due to a “heightened risk of arbitrary detention” — a claim slammed by Chinese state-backed media Global Times as a “blatant distortion of truth.”
The U.S. advisory was issued on Saturday and did not specify what prompted the alert.
But it came amid worsening U.S.-China relations over a range of issues that include Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Hong Kong, as well as alleged human rights violations by Chinese officials in Xinjiang and Tibet.
“Exercise increased caution in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) due to 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,” read the advisory.
“U.S. citizens may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime,” it added.
The advisory also said that U.S. citizens may be “subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to ‘state security’” and warned that they could be detained and/or deported “for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.”