Beijing warns of US travel risks, harassment

Top News | 5 Jun 2019

Beijing has issued a warning on travel to the United States amid spiraling trade tensions.

Beijing also cautioned its companies operating in the United States that they could face harassment from American law-enforcement agencies.

The country's Ministry of Culture and Tourism said its travel alert was based on "recent incidents of gun violence, robberies and thefts."

So Chinese tourists were told to "fully evaluate the risks of going to the United States."

The warning was spurred by difficulties Chinese nationals are encountering in the United States, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated in Beijing.

And on whether it was linked to the trade dispute, Geng answered it was a response to "current circumstances."

The advisory came a day after Beijing warned mainlanders studying in the United States to be vigilant as the Trump administration steps up restrictions on academic visas and intensifies its scrutiny of Chinese researchers working in America. China Central Television reported: "Recently, US law-enforcement agencies have repeatedly harassed Chinese citizens visiting the United States through exit and entry inspections, door-to-door interviews and other means."

For its part, the Trump administration said Beijing is pursuing a "blame game" in public statements, and a weekend white paper it issued misrepresented the negotiations on trade.

The US Trade Representative's office and the US Treasury together repeated a message that Beijing negotiators had "backpedaled" on important elements of a deal that had been largely agreed, including on an enforcement provision.

China's policy paper on the trade dispute, however, held that Washington bore responsibility for setbacks by backtracking on commitments made during negotiations.

Geng said the United States was "singing the same old tune" and urged Washington to read China's white papers and stop telling itself it is infallible.

Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen, a prominent member of Beijing's negotiating team, had said in presenting the white paper that it is impossible for the United States to use "extreme pressure" to force concessions from China.

Talks broke down early last month after US accusations that Beijing had backtracked on pledges to codify changes to intellectual property and technology transfer practices.

It remains unclear if Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will meet when the presidents attend this month's G20 meeting in Japan.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

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