ICC’s Response to Canadian and American Travel Advisories
CEO Peter Maize discusses the travel advisories recently issued by the Canadian and American governments regarding travel to China, and states ICC’s position that there is not an increased risk for our Short Term Teams.
Last week the United States Department of State issued an advisory to American citizens traveling in China, encouraging them to exercise increased caution when visiting the country. This week the Canadian government followed suit, cautioning its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution in China due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”
People traveling to China on tourist visas and visiting a government welfare centre, as is the case with ICC’s Short Term Teams, should be confident of their safety as long as they follow the laws of China. We have conducted these teams for many years and have never faced the kinds of circumstances listed in the U.S. or Canadian advisories.
The primary focus of the U.S. advisory is on “exit bans”, which are used by the Chinese government to prevent people from leaving the country while an investigation is being conducted or a conflict is being resolved. In these cases, a business deal or tax issue is often the reason. Although a few people have been detained by Chinese authorities in recent weeks, these people are not tourists and are not on government-approved visits, which is the case of our short term teams.
This U.S. advisory is largely the same as the one released a year ago. According to the advisory, issued at the beginning of January, “U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to ‘state security’. Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government.” The Canadian advisory comes after a recent court decision in China affecting a Canadian citizen.
While ethnic Chinese individuals with dual citizenship might face a slightly higher risk, for those on ICC’s short term teams, the risk is negligible.