US raises travel warning for HK

Local | Mandy Zheng 4 Jun 2020

The United States has raised its travel advisory for Hong Kong to "Level 2," urging Americans to "exercise increased caution" in the city.

Its State Department issued the notice on Tuesday, listing potential threats that US travelers may face, such as "civil unrest, risk of surveillance and arbitrary enforcement of laws for purposes other than maintaining law and order".

It also warned of the national security law to be imposed in Hong Kong and ongoing anti-government protests.

"US citizens, as well as US Consulate General employees, have been subject to a People's Republic of China propaganda campaign falsely accusing the United States of fomenting unrest in Hong Kong," the notice said.

Americans traveling to the city should heed their surroundings and "keep a low profile," the department said.

The department's travel advisory system comprises four levels, the highest being the most dangerous. China, Iran, Indonesia, Venezuela are among those labeled with "Level 4" - "do not travel."

In contrast, Hong Kong authorities have not issued any alerts for the US, which is undergoing protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

The killing of the unarmed black man at the hands of Minneapolis police triggered nationwide demonstrations over racism and police brutality.

Tourism section lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said that the American government's warning against traveling to Hong Kong is "certainly a political move."

"Donald Trump has made his stance on the national security law very clear. But at this point, there are few things he can do with Hong Kong's economy. So the US is aiming to make a political gesture by trying to affect tourism," Yiu said.

But he believed the influence would be limited for the next three to six months, considering the pandemic is still preventing people from traveling abroad.

The city's government announced Tuesday it would extend the 14-day compulsory quarantine arrangement to July 7 for those coming from the mainland, Macau and Taiwan, and September 18 for travelers from overseas.

The Trump administration has announced plans to end the special relationship with Hong Kong, which will deprive the SAR of some, if not all, of its privileges related to trade and business with the US.

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