U.S. issues new China travel warning amid detentions

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Updating its travel advisory, the State Department maintained its previous guidance that Americans should exercise increased caution in China.

"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 US national security council under president Barack Obama, said in an interview Thursday. The Chinese also say they were not briefed on the reasons for Meng's arrest.

"At least" eight of those 13 had since been released, the Canadian government said in a statement, without disclosing what charges if any have been laid.

As evidence, Malley says that analysts with Crisis Group were being invited to meet with Chinese officials up until the day Kovrig was arrested. Those detentions occurred days after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the request of the United States.

Meng faces extradition to the United States to face fraud charges, which she denies, linked to allegations of avoiding the U.S. sanctions on Iran. Diplomatic tension between Canada and China has intensified since Meng's arrest on December 1. Michael Kovrig, who was on leave from Global Affairs Canada, and entrepreneur Michael Spavor.

Cooper said that despite planning to discuss the Canadians' detention, the goal of the trip is to engage directly with Chinese government officials to discuss a broad range of issues, such as trade.

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.

The warning adds: "China does not recognize dual nationality".

There are growing security concerns from many countries and those in the cyber-intelligence community regarding the use of Chinese telecom companies, which include Huawei and ZTE, because of possible ties to the Chinese communist regime.

Robert Malley, president and CEO of International Crisis Group, said Kovrig wasn't endangering national security as Beijing has alleged, and that detaining him may deter the international investment community from doing business in China."I'm focused on getting him out and one thing I can say for sure, the one thing he wasn't doing is endangering China's national security", Malley told CBC News. Canadian consular officials saw them once each in mid-December.

Earlier on Thursday, China's top prosecutor said the two Canadians had "without a doubt" violated the law.

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