The Possible Risks of Travel to China

Travel to China

The Possible Risks of Travel to China

The Chinese government’s plan to reform the existing Immigration system in China is a step towards intensifying controls over the entering of foreign nationals. The authorities have already sent notices to many foreign nationals residing in China and some have already been detained. There are reports that at least five foreigners were arbitrarily detained in July. They were reportedly caught unawares while inspecting a road construction project in Shiliupu, Xujiahui. When inspecting the site, the officials found they were trespassers and immediately took them into custody.

The authorities are tightening security at the entrance to China and detaining more foreign nationals. This is because the security threats from infiltration by terrorists and looters have increased along with the increase in trade with China. The practice of forcibly repatriating Chinese laborers that entered China illegally is on the rise. These laborers work for large companies in China and overstay or become illegal aliens. When the employers find out that the workers have been illegally brought into the country, they usually threaten to send them back to their home country. This practice of sending laborers back to China may be used as a means to force repatriation of the laborers from the United States.

The number of foreign nationals detained or expelled on visa overstays is on the rise. Recently there were reports that there were restrictions being imposed on tourists coming to China on days prior to Chinese New Year. Foreign nationals usually purchase airline tickets well in advance of the Chinese New Year to avoid detection and arrest during the holiday.

The authorities may also be trying to crack down on organised crime, which includes drug use, money laundering and pornography. The internet is being used for many criminal activities, including organising online casinos, online drug sales, human resource theft and trafficking, and pornography. Traveling outside China is now considered risky due to the prevalence of these types of websites and computer usage for porn sites. The internet is increasingly blocked within the country and travellers are advised to use electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops in order to stay away from the risk of getting caught.

For foreigners who travel regularly to China or live in the major cities, they may feel the need to hold an electronic device such as a laptop in their handbag or pocket in order to access vital information while travelling. However, carrying such electronic devices in public is not allowed. In some regions of China especially in the Beijing and Shanghai area, it is strictly prohibited to carry electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops. In some parts of the country, foreigners are required to remove all removable media from their bags when travelling. These laws are often ignored by foreigners although they are rarely reported by Chinese nationals.

Travel to China may not require a visa, but travellers are advised to be very cautious when entering the country. The most common travelling restrictions include those pertaining to the removal of travelers’ belongings in China, entering through the country without proper valid travel documentation and currency exchanges, purchasing or using unauthorised products, displaying counterfeit foreign currency, operating businesses without obtaining written permission from the local government and travelling to Hong Kong or Macau for personal reasons without a licence. Travellers who breach Chinese national security law are subjected to criminal penalties ranging from fines to jail terms. A number of Chinese nationals living in the US and Canada have become involved in criminal activity through travel to China and are sentenced to prison after being accused of stealing American and Canadian currency or illegally entering either country.

Canadian law restricts its citizens from travelling to China without special authorisation from the government. Canadian passports no longer allow foreigners to enter China without a license. However, Canadian authorities do not advise against travelling to China due to the risks involved. In July 2021, the government announced that it was banning Canadian companies from taking part in Chinese state owned enterprises unless they receive written permission from the government in advance.

Canadian authorities prohibit Canadians from engaging in “economic espionage”, which is commonly defined as attempts to acquire information or perform any unfair commercial action in China. Such activities include attempting to access classified Chinese state controlled economic data, trying to undermine China’s currency by buying or selling currency not recognised by the Chinese government, or hacking into Chinese state computer systems. Canada’s consular affairs department issues visas if there is a possibility that an individual may need one before travelling to China. For foreigners who plan to travel to China, it is recommended that they consult with their travel agency or Canadian Consulate regarding their security concerns prior to departure.