The US yesterday issued a sweeping new advisory warning against travel to mainland China and Hong Kong, citing the risk of “arbitrary detention” and “arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”
The advisory is likely to heighten tensions between the two, which have spiked since Beijing’s imposition in June of a new National Security Law in Hong Kong that has already been met with a series of US punitive actions.
The statement warned US citizens that China imposes “arbitrary detention and exit bans” to compel cooperation with investigations, pressure family members to return to China from abroad, influence civil disputes and “gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.”
“US citizens traveling or residing in China or Hong Kong, may be detained without access to US consular services or information about their alleged crime. US citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law,” the advisory said.
In Hong Kong, China “unilaterally and arbitrarily exercises police and security power,” the advisory said, adding that new legislation covers offenses committed by non-Hong Kong residents or organizations outside the territory, possibly subjecting US citizens who have publicly criticized China to a “heightened risk of arrest, detention, expulsion, or prosecution.”
When in Hong Kong, US citizens are “strongly cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and avoid demonstrations,” it said.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) told reporters at a daily briefing yesterday that the US should “fully respect the facts and should not engage in unwarranted political manipulation” when issuing such advisories.
“China has always protected the safety and legal rights of foreigners in China in accordance with law. China is one of the safest countries in the world,” Wang said.
“Of course, foreigners in China also have an obligation to abide by Chinese laws.”
WHEELING AND DEALING? Hou You-yi, Ko Wen-je, Eric Chu and Ma Ying-jeou are under investigation for allegedly offering bribes for the other side to drop out of the race Taipei prosecutors have started an investigation into allegations that four top politicians involved in attempts to form a “blue-white” presidential ticket have contravened election regulations. Listed as defendants are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). The case stemmed from judicial complaints filed last month with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office alleging that the KMT (blue) and the TPP (white) had engaged in bribery by offering money or other enticements
ELIGIBLE FOR JANUARY: All presidential candidates and their running mates meet the requirements to run for office, and none hold dual citizenship, the CEC said Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator and vice presidential candidate Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) is working with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to resolve issues with her financial disclosure statement, a spokesman for the candidate said yesterday, after the commission published the statements of all three presidential candidates and their running mates, while confirming their eligibility to run in the Jan. 13 election. Wu’s office spokesman, Chen Yu-cheng (陳宥丞), said the candidate encountered unforeseen difficulties disclosing her husband’s finances due to being suddenly thrust into the campaign. She is also the first vice presidential nominee to have a foreign spouse, complicating the reporting of
GOOD NEWS: Although open civic spaces are shrinking in Asia-Pacific countries and territories, Taiwan’s openness is a positive sign, an expert said Taiwan remains the only country in Asia with an “open” civic space for the fifth consecutive year, the Civicus Monitor said in a report released yesterday. The People Power Under Attack 2023 report named Taiwan as one of only 37 open countries or territories out of 198 globally, and the only one in Asia. Compiled by Civicus — a global alliance of civil society organizations dedicated to bolstering civil action — the ranking compiled annually since 2017 measures the state of freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression around the world. Researchers assign each country or territory one of five rankings describing the
NOT JUST CHIPS: Although semiconductor processes are on the list, it also includes military technology and post-quantum cryptography to combat emerging cyberthreats The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) yesterday released a list of 22 technologies it considers crucial to the nation’s security and competitiveness, including the 14-nanometer semiconductor process and advanced chip packaging. For the first time, the council made a list of core technologies with an aim of preventing secret information about those technologies being leaked to foreign countries, which could put the nation’s security and the competitiveness of local industries at risk. For years, local semiconductor companies have faced challenges from talent poaching and theft of corporate secrets by Chinese competitors, who are seeking to rapidly advance their technology capabilities through