China has issued a travel warning to its citizens traveling to the US, citing reports that trade war tensions have seen Washington using its powers to “harass” Chinese travelers.
The travel alert follows a Monday warning issued by Beijing to Chinese students hoping to study in US universities. They were told to expect extra hurdles when it came to getting a visa to study and to expect a greater chance of having their visa application denied.
In a statement cited in Chinese media on Tuesday, the country’s foreign ministry and its US embassy claimed Washington used the powers of its agencies – like home interviews and immigration checks – to “harass” Chinese travelers.
It urged citizens to respond “actively and appropriately” in future to such actions and to raise their safety awareness.
A separate travel alert issued on Tuesday by Beijing’s culture and tourism ministry gave citizens a more thorough warning on the potential dangers, noting recent shootings and other violent crimes.
The department added that potential travelers should “fully evaluate the risks” of going to the US, adhere to its laws and regulations, and to “conscientiously raise their awareness of safety measures to ensure their safety.” The alert will remain valid until the end of 2019.
US-Chinese diplomatic relations have been at a low ebb thanks to a tit-for-tat trade war that has seen Beijing respond in kind to the billions of dollars in tariffs slapped on by Washington. Relations have also been hampered by US sanctions imposed on the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, which the Trump administration accused of spying for Beijing. The latter has repeatedly ridiculed the allegations.