In its previous travel advisory for China issued on January 22 past year, the State Department urged Americans to "exercise increased caution" in the country because of "the arbitrary enforcement of local laws and special restrictions on dual U.S".
"People who do go to China, I'm hoping they will raise this with their interlocutors to make clear that it is hurting China's image in the world, and it's going to make it harder for some people who want to travel to China", Robert Malley, the Crisis Group's president and a former member of the USA national security council under president Barack Obama, said in an interview Thursday. Under Chinese criminal procedure law, special forms of detention and interrogation can be used for state security suspects. "China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained Huawei executive. or face grave consequences that the Canadian side should be held accountable for", the assistant minister, Le Yucheng, says in a statement.
That's exactly what the members of the Canada-China Legislative Association say they will do when they arrive in China on Saturday, said Conservative MP Michael Cooper.
China has detained 11 Canadians since early December when a senior executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei was arrested in Vancouver on a USA request for alleged violations of Washington's sanctions on Iran, according to Ottawa. USA prosecutors have blamed her for misdirecting banks about transactions connected to Iran, putting the banks in danger of violating US sanctions.
The diplomatic trip, scheduled before last month's detentions, is being taken by members of the Canada-China Legislative Association, a bipartisan group of four MPs and two Senators with a shared interest in Canada-China relations.
"The message from Global Affairs Canada. was that it would be better for us to go rather than to cancel", said Cooper.
The Chinese government has only given vague details about the detention of the two Canadians, and it has not drawn a direct link to Meng's arrest.
The warning adds: "China does not recognize dual nationality".
China says the two men were associated with jeopardizing state security. Canadian consular officials saw them once each in mid-December. Earlier in the day, a group of 36 Australian academics demanded their government "call for the immediate release of these two detainees".
China ratcheted up its accusations against the two detained Canadians on Thursday, with the country's chief prosecutor declaring that the pair broke Chinese law "without a doubt".