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US issues level 3 travel advisory to China amid safety concerns. Here’s what to know

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Are you thinking about traveling to China to visit or study abroad? The U.S. government suggests reconsidering your trip for now. 

According to the U.S. Department of State, traveling to China is under a level 3 travel advisory, warning Americans to reconsider. The State Department has four warning levels. The fourth is “Do not travel.”

Is it safe to travel to China right now?

The U.S. is asking Americans to reconsider traveling to China due to various reasons, including concerns about health and safety, such as the prevalence of contagious diseases like COVID-19, as well as political tensions or security risks in certain regions.

As of April 12, there are some specific areas that the U.S. is asking people to reconsider travel to. Those areas include:

  • Mainland China due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, including exit bans and the risk of wrongful detentions.
  • Exercise increased caution when traveling to the Hong Kong SAR due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws.
  • Reconsider travel to the Macau SAR due to a limited ability to provide emergency consular services. 

Additionally, the U.S. government may issue travel advisories based on factors like civil unrest, natural disasters, or other hazards that could affect travelers’ well-being.

Americans detained in China

Mark Swidan — a man from Houston, Texas — has been detained in China for over 10 years on drug charges. According to The Texas Tribune, Swidan was detained in China in 2012 while on a trip looking for materials for his home and business in Houston. Chinese authorities arrested him after his driver and translator were found in possession of drugs. The driver blamed Swidan, who is accused of trafficking and manufacturing methamphetamine.

A review of Swidan’s case said there were no drugs on him or in his hotel. Last year, the Republic of China’s Jiangmen Intermediate Court denied Swidan’s appeal and upheld his death penalty with a two-year suspended death sentence.

Other Americans considered wrongfully detained include Chinese American businessman Kai Li from Long Island, N.Y., and California pastor David Lin.

What countries have a Level 3 travel warning?

  • Guinea
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Macau
  • Chad
  • Nicaragua
  • Colombia
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • South Sudan
  • Guatemala
  • Pakistan
  • Honduras
  • Burundi
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Niger
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Lebanon

What countries have a Level 4 travel warning?

  • Belarus
  • Burma
  • Afghanistan
  • Haiti
  • Iran
  • Russia
  • Somalia
  • Central African Republic
  • Yemen
  • Ukraine
  • Sudan
  • Libya
  • Syria
  • Venezuela
  • North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)
  • Burkina Faso
  • Central African Republic

Traveling abroad? Here are some safety tips

U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and to prepare contingency plans for emergencies. 

Safety tips if you’re traveling outside the U.S.:

  • Don’t travel alone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Try not to be flashy.
  • Avoid going to places at night, especially by yourself.

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