Travel News Safety & Insurance The U.S. and U.K. Have Issued a New Travel Warning for China and Hong Kong The advisory warns travelers could be subject to arbitrary arrests or exit bans Written by Katherine Alex Beaven Instagram Katherine Alex Beaven is a freelance news writer for TripSavvy. She’s lived abroad in Italy, Japan, South Africa, and Australia. Tripsavvy's Editorial Guidelines Katherine Alex Beaven Updated 09/17/20 Share Pin Email Gavin Hellier This Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of State dropped its official travel warning for China down a notch from the long-standing "Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisory originally issued back at the start of the pandemic. However, eager travelers shouldn’t celebrate just yet. Less than 24 hours later, both the U.S. and U.K. issued travel advisories for citizens traveling to Hong Kong and mainland China, citing the risk of arbitrary arrest. The U.S. Department of State's warning cautions that “the PRC [People's Republic of China] government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including by carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and through the use of exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law.” The travel warnings come nearly three months after China imposed a national new security law on Hong Kong back in June. Essentially, it makes it definitively illegal for anyone to voice subversive views on the Chinese government, regardless if they are a Chinese citizen and regardless if the alleged subversive behavior took place while in China or Hong Kong. The controversial law is a sharp undercut to freedoms of speech, and the fact that it applies to everyone—even people outside of China and Hong Kong—is unprecedented. The U.S. warning cautions that “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” and could also “be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention”—all without any legal rights. And that, in most cases, U.S. citizens aren’t even aware that an exit ban exists until they try to leave, only to become detained or arrested. Lack of legal process means detained travelers have no way to “find out how long the ban might continue or contest it” in court. There’s also nothing that says the offending subversive activity—which is up to the interpretation of the Chinese government—is limited to public displays. According to the U.S. travel warning, even private electronic messages that are critical of the Chinese government may cause travelers to find themselves in hot water. Interesting Fact: Hong Kong Isn't Quite a Part of China Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit How to Stay Safe While Traveling in China Is It Safe to Travel to India? Travel to Asia: A Reopening Timeline, Country by Country Is It Safe to Travel to South America? Is It Safe to Travel to Russia? Is It Safe to Travel to Dubai? Travel to Europe: A Reopening Timeline, Country by Country Is It Safe to Travel to London? 3 Countries You Can't Visit With an American Passport Beware: Disrespecting Buddha in Myanmar Can Get You Thrown in Jail Do You Need a Visa to Go to Hong Kong? Cuba Travel Restrictions and Warnings: What You Need to Know 2020 Travel Warnings for Countries in Africa What You Should Know About Buying Prescription Drugs in Mexico Do You Need a Visa to Visit Macao? Do I Need a Tourist Visa to Visit Sweden?