Travel to China – Could it Be Dangerous?
The exit ban and entry ban in China are effective January 26th. There will be many restrictions on individuals entering the country for travel purposes. Individuals who have not obtained a visa before, will find it difficult to leave the country for a vacation. While many are unsure of the reasons for the new rules, there are a few common threads that explain why the Chinese government made these changes.
First, China is facing multiple external threats from US imperialism. The US is not only involved in Iraq and Afghanistan but has bases in Japan, Korea and other nations. With this in mind, China needs to have its own army ready to protect its interests. Therefore, any citizens travelling to or going to these countries will find some form of restriction on their movements.
Secondly, China’s government cannot tolerate US “double entry” policy. This means that when citizens from other countries travel to China they must also obtain a Chinese visa. In doing so, they can freely enter China to work, study or holiday. These restrictive measures were put into place as a way of discouraging foreign interference in China’s internal affairs.
Many foreigners coming to China will find they do not have access to the correct types of visas. For example, some foreign nationals will find they are unable to board a plane without a visa. Some will be turned away at the airport. If a foreign national does arrive in China and cannot acquire a visa, they will then require a passport to exit the country.
In addition to the new exit and entry requirements, China’s central government is also dealing with the issue of human rights. The United States, under the Geneva Convention, has agreed to suspend activities that result in gross violations of human rights. This includes detaining political prisoners, jailing peaceful protesters, denying women equal rights, and excessive searches of people’s property. While the United States does suspend such activities, it does not have an obligation to free speech or to respect freedom of expression guaranteed by the Chinese constitution. To protect citizens’ rights, China’s central authorities have taken steps to limit the amount of access that foreign nationals can have to the Chinese mainland.
One of the most important areas where travelers to China have been affected by the Beijing customs and exit inspections is in terms of their ability to obtain work. Though the exit ban has not yet been implemented for all foreign nationals, many businesses are reporting a sharp decline in potential employees in the past two months. Though the numbers have fluctuated slightly since the implementation of the exit ban, many businesses have found that a large number of potential candidates have already been denied entry. These businesses say that the decline in potential employees has been caused by the Chinese government’s revised interpretation of its own entry requirements. These new rules require more detailed information on the possible employees’ activities abroad, including information on their past history of civil disobedience and violence.
According to travelers to China who spoke with Human Rights Watch, China’s local authorities have severely cracked down on human rights defenders and independent media sources. The authorities have shut down more than twenty media companies and restricted the distribution of overseas press reports that mention the names of human rights defenders. The authorities have also intensified their harassment of citizens who criticized the Chinese government, including a number of cases of physical harassment. According to HRW, all of the cases of harassment and censorship described in the reports were carried out in violation of the internationally accepted principles of fair trial and freedom of expression.
Travel to China may be an exhilarating adventure, but it is important to protect yourself from the risks of traveling abroad and from the risks of China’s controversial foreign trade. You should take steps to protect your rights while you are abroad and should consult with a travel lawyer upon your departure. The new Chinese Law contains some frightening provisions allowing the authorities to arbitrarily detain citizens for virtually any reason. You should take care to read the fine print before entering into a travel agreement with any particular country. The same applies to traveling to China for any other purpose.