State Department issues new China travel warning

The Canadian government has said several times it sees no explicit link between the arrest of Meng Wanzhou and the detentions of Canadian citizens

China lambasted the United States on Friday, calling a recent U.S. State Department travel advisory "logically weak" and unrealistic.

By way of comparison, there are nearly 900 Canadians in a similar situation in the U.S.

The update comes in the midst of growing tensions between the two countries that include the chief financial officer of Chinese phone maker, Huawei, being detained in Vancouver on request of USA prosecutors (she is now facing extradition to the US for fraud charges) and the barring of three USA citizens from leaving China in November because of "economic crimes".

The U.S State Department has called for the release of the two Canadians, while Germany, France, the European Union and Australia have also issued supportive statements.

Tensions between Canada and China have been escalating since Canada's December arrest of Chinese telecom executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, a move undertaken at the behest of the United States.

In Beijing, China's top prosecutor said Thursday that the two Canadians had "without a doubt" violated the law.

December 12: China's foreign ministry says it has no information about Kovrig, but says the organization he worked with - the International Crisis Group - was not registered in China, making its activities in the country illegal.

"I'm sure that Canada is doing everything that it can to secure the release of their nationals". China has accused the pair of endangering national security.

Chinese law makes it extremely hard for foreign non-governmental organizations to register because they have to find a local sponsor, said James Zimmerman, a lawyer in and former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

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"It seems as if China is engaging in a form of hostage diplomacy with regard to the global community, and especially Canada", Wu Qiang, a former politics lecturer at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University, told RFA.

While the language was largely the same as earlier, the State Department warned of "arbitrary enforcement of local laws", sudden prohibitions on exiting the country and harassment of U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage.

The State Department warned that travel bans are now increasingly being applied to USA nationals living in China, who have been "harassed and threatened" when they try to leave.

"The travel warning issued by the US, frankly speaking, does not stand up", he said.

"We've only heard that he was detained, but we know nothing about the reason", he said.

"I and all the members of the delegation want to do whatever we can to play a constructive role to see the safe and speedy return of the two Canadians", Cooper said in an interview on CTV's Power Play. If you have Chinese heritage you may be particularly subject to additional scrutiny, it adds.

She faces extradition to the USA to face fraud charges, which she denies, that are linked to allegations of avoiding U.S. sanctions on Iran.

"China's economy is facing some headwinds and so is going to want to attract businesspeople, is going to want to show it's open for normal business", he said.

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