The State Department designated both mainland China and Macau as “Level 3,” recommending travelers “reconsider travel” there. Hong Kong was classified as a “Level 2.”
By Alison Fox
The U.S. Department of State re-issued a travel warning against heading to China, including Hong Kong and Macau, due to the possibility of being wrongfully detained and the arbitrary enforcement of laws.
The State Department designated both mainland China and Macau as “Level 3,” recommending travelers “reconsider travel” there. Hong Kong was classified as a “Level 2” city, recommending travelers “exercise increased caution” when going.
“The People’s Republic of China (PRC) government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including issuing exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries, without fair and transparent process under the law,” the department wrote in its advisory, adding “PRC authorities appear to have broad discretion to deem a wide range of documents, data, statistics, or materials as state secrets and to detain and prosecute foreign nationals for alleged espionage.”
In Hong Kong, the department warned China has “demonstrated an intent” to use a 2020 national security law “to target a broad range of activities such as acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign entities.”
The renewed warning comes months after China resumed issuing international tourist visas following some of the strictest COVID-19-related restrictions in the world. For its part, Hong Kong started easing travel restrictions last year and no longer requires visitors undergo any COVID-19 testing or quarantine measures.
The State Department regularly updates its travel advisories for countries all over the world, assessing the security and health situations in each country and adjusting the classification accordingly on a scale of one (which indicates travelers should exercise normal precautions) to four (which warns Americans not to travel there). Recently, the department issued similar travel warnings for both Colombia and Jamaica.
In general, the State Department recommends American travelers enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive alerts “and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.”