Published: Sat, January 05, 2019
Money | By Bruce West

Canada: 13 citizens held in China since Huawei executive arrest

Canada: 13 citizens held in China since Huawei executive arrest

The US state department has urged Americans to "exercise increased caution" when travelling to China after a spate of high-profile detentions.

"Exercise increased caution in China due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual US-Chinese nationals", the advisory said.

The guidance warned that authorities in Beijing have used so-called "exit bans" to keep US citizens from leaving China, sometimes holding them "for years".

That number has been stable in recent year and compares to the 900 Canadians detained in the United States for similar reasons, the official said.

The advisory noted that U.S. citizens under exit bans "have been harassed and threatened", and that most don't find out about the exit bans until they attempt to leave the country.

The advisory also said that Americans affected by exit bans have been "harassed and threatened" by authorities.

Sheldon Hunt, who works at Canadian National Railway in Shanghai, said the warning would prompt people investing in China to be much more cautious and look to other, more promising and secure countries.

The U.S. wants Meng to face fraud charges.

China may also prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services to U.S. travelers.

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

Interested in China? Add China as an interest to stay up to date on the latest China news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

The updated advisory first issued past year comes amid increased tensions between China and the United States after the arrest of a Chinese technology executive in Canada.

Global Affairs Canada said on Thursday that most of the Canadians detained since December 1 are no longer in custody. China has accused the Liu family of being "involved in economic crimes".

Tensions between Ottawa and Beijing have been running high since the beginning of December, when tech giant Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on a USA extradition order.

Kovrig is a diplomat on leave from Global Affairs Canada and is employed by the International Crisis Group; Spavor is an entrepreneur who organized travel to North Korea.

China has detained 13 Canadians since early December when a senior executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei was arrested in Vancouver on a United States request for alleged violations of Washington's sanctions on Iran, according to Ottawa.

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