China accused of taking more western hostages

The US state department has urged Americans to "exercise increased caution" when travelling to China after a spate of high-profile detentions.

Its updated advice says dual US-Chinese nationals are at particular risk from so-called exit bans that prevent them from leaving.

Canada also revealed that 13 Canadians had been detained since 1 December.

On that day, a top Chinese executive was arrested in Canada at the request of US prosecutors.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver and faces extradition to the US to face fraud charges, which she denies, that are linked to allegations of avoiding US sanctions on Iran.

The new advisory warns that dual US-Chinese nationals are at particular risk from so-called exit bans, which it says can be used to prohibit US citizens from leaving China - in some cases keeping them in the country for years.

The exit bans are also being used to try to lure other individuals back to China, it warns.

The advisory says exit bans are being used to "compel US citizens to participate in Chinese government investigations" and "to aid Chinese authorities in resolving civil disputes in favour of Chinese parties".
This will also make it harder to do business with China.  That could backfire on the Chinese government and further weaken its trade position with the West. 

Huawei has been accused of being tied to Chinese intelligence and there is some fear in the West that its products are used to gather intelligence.


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