China targeting Canadians since Huawei exec's arrest

Adjust Comment Print

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news briefing in Beijing on Friday that China always welcomes foreigners, including Americans, but expects them to respect and abide by Chinese law.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory Thursday for Americans planning trips to China, warning U.S. citizens to "exercise increased caution" when visiting the communist nation.

Lu, the Chinese spokesman, said that 2.3 million Americans visited China between January and November past year, adding, "I think this figure speaks volumes for the security condition in China".

The thirteen include former diplomat Michael Kovrig and consultant Michael Spavor, arrested on December 10, for activities said to threaten national security, as well as Sarah McIver, who was subsequently freed and returned to Canada. China says both men were suspected of endangering state security.

The move was widely seen as retaliation after Canada arrested an executive of telecom giant Huawei at the request of the United States, which said she violated Washington's sanctions on Iran.

"China always welcomes foreign citizens - including USA citizens - to visit China, and protects their security and legal rights, including freedom of entry and exit". "US citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to "state security". Canada has not issued a travel advisory. 'This number has remained relatively stable, ' the official said.

Travelers to China should enter with a United States passport or valid Chinese visa and keep it at hand.

"This is a problem that the USA should pay attention to and correct".

An updated U.S. State Department notice warns that China sometimes arbitrarily detains U.S. citizens or prevents them from leaving the country. We saw what happened with the American there in Russian Federation.

"We're building a relationship with them that's critically important because the better you get to know one another the more they will discuss things frankly and openly".

The detentions were confirmed by a Canadian government official, according to the newspaper.

"At least" eight of those 13 have since been released, a Canadian government statement said, without disclosing what charges if any have been laid.

Prior to Thursday's statement, the detention of only three Canadian citizens had been publicly disclosed.

Canada has an extradition treaty with the USA, and Meng has been released on bail after an open court hearing in Vancouver. Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor remain in custody. The government has treated them as Chinese citizens, however.

Liu stressed that China is a country under the rule of law and will protect the interests of the parties concerned during the process.