China says US travel advisory 'cannot stand up to scrutiny'

An aerial view taken with a drone shows visitors tour colorful structure made from blocks of ice at the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival held in Harbin in northeastern's China's Heilongjiang province, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival is known for massive, elaborate and colorfully lit ice sculptures featuring animals, cartoon characters and famous landmarks. (AP Photo/Olivia Zhang)
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2018 file photo, a traveler pushes his luggage beneath large Chinese flags hanging from the ceiling in Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong province. China on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, rebutted a U.S. travel advisory that urges American nationals to "exercise increased caution" when traveling in the Communist Party-ruled country. The advisory, which warns of the potential for arbitrary detentions, "cannot stand up to scrutiny," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who noted that 2.3 million Americans visited China between January and November 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

BEIJING — China on Friday rebutted a U.S. travel advisory that urges American nationals to "exercise increased caution" when travelling in the Communist Party-ruled country.

The advisory, which warns of the potential for arbitrary detentions, "cannot stand up to scrutiny," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who noted that 2.3 million Americans visited China between January and November 2018.

"I think this figure speaks volumes for the security condition in China," Lu said, adding that it far outnumbers the number of Chinese people visiting the U.S. "The U.S., however, has recently used various excuses to conduct gratuitous inspections and create obstacles for Chinese citizens entering the U.S."

The spokesman did not mention specific instances in which Chinese citizens encountered difficulty entering the U.S. An American official told the AP last May that Chinese graduate students studying in fields like robotics and aviation in the U.S. would be limited to one-year visas, while Chinese citizens seeking visas to work for companies on a U.S. Commerce Department list would need special clearance.

An updated U.S. State Department notice warns that China sometimes arbitrarily detains U.S. citizens or prevents them from leaving the country. The notice says the "exit bans" are imposed to compel Americans to facilitate government investigations or resolve business disputes. U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny, it adds.

"U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to 'state security,'" the advisory says. "Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government."

The notice is largely the same as one released a year ago, with the addition of a paragraph noting security checks and increased police presence in the Xinjiang and Tibet regions.

Must Read

South Korean President Moon in China on visit to...

Dec 14, 2017

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in Beijing on a visit to repair ties frayed by a dispute over...

Senior US diplomat pitches arms sales in China's...

Feb 5, 2018

The top U.S. diplomat overseeing arms sales said she would be promoting American weaponry at the...

AP PHOTOS: People in Asia and beyond welcome...

Feb 16, 2018

AP PHOTOS: People in Asia and around the world have been celebrating the Lunar New Year Friday

China to build massive $1.5 billion panda...

Mar 8, 2018

The Bank of China has pledged at least 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) to create a massive giant...

Explore an abandoned Chinese village now engulfed...

Jun 8, 2018

The abandoned Chinese fishing village of Houtouwan presents visitors with a chance to explore a...