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China threatens to arrest U.S. citizens in retaliation for academic arrests

By Jesse Stiller
Nation and World Editor

The Chinese Communist Party has issued a threat to the U.S. as tensions grow between both governments. The threat states that the communist party will begin to detain foreign citizens following a string of U.S. arrests of scholars from China.

According to The New York Times, officials in China warned the Justice Department that it would begin to detain American citizens following the prosecution of five Chinese scholars over the summer. 

The move by China comes amid rising tensions between the two nations during the Trump Administration, as reported by The New York Times. The U.S. is reportedly trying to avoid any major provocations between the two nations before the presidential election on Nov. 3.

The Justice Department stated, as reported by The New York Times, that the scholars were arrested for providing false information on their visa applications, possibly evading identification to conduct “industrial espionage” on American research centers and steal intellectual property. 

China has not acted on their threats, but the U.S. has raised their travel advisory level due to China’s proclamation (Envato Elements).

According to the Wall Street Journal, The report further alleged that the scholars were in conjunction with the People’s Liberation Army and working on their behalf.

According to Bloomberg, China had warned U.S. officials as early as this past summer that detainings of American citizens in China would occur if the American government did not stop prosecuting Chinese scholars in the U.S. The report stated that multiple warnings were sent through several channels to U.S. officials, including the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

The International Business Times reported that the State Department had issued a level-three travel advisory for those flying to China, which calls for those traveling to reconsider their trips and to reschedule until the advisory level is decreased. 

“‘U.S. citizens traveling or residing in (China) or Hong Kong may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime,’” a report cited by the International Business Times said, also stating that the report warned that China would enforce “exit bans” to prevent those from leaving the country “without due process of law.”

The official travel advisory from the Department of State reads that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) uses these exit bans “to compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations (and) to gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments,” among other reasons.

“In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law,” the statement said, also warning that the PRC did not recognize dual nationality.

Hu Xijin, Editor-In-Chief at the Global Times, which is also a Chinese-owned media company, tweeted on Oct. 18, asking, “Don’t Americans feel ashamed of double standards? Who gave the U.S. God-like right to define everything?”



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