Canada says 13 citizens detained in China since Huawei CFO's arrest

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The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory Thursday for Americans planning trips to China, warning U.S. citizens to "exercise increased caution" when visiting the communist nation.

The updated advisory first issued a year ago comes amid increased tensions between China and the U.S. after the arrest of a Chinese technology executive in Canada. Both men remain under investigation on the grounds of threatening national security.

The updated guidance was issued amid increasing tensions between the USA and China over ongoing trade disputes, as well as the December 1 arrest of Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. "Level Three" would see the government advising citizens to reconsider travel plans, while "Level Four" suggests the country should be avoided.

The State Department has issued a number of level 2 travel advisories in recent weeks.

The new advisory is an update to the previous advisory issued January 22, 2018.

The State Department advised U.S. travelers to enter China on a U.S. passport with a valid Chinese visa and keep it with you and ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately if arrested.

"This is a problem that the U.S. should pay attention to and correct".

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The department explained that the warning was because of "arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S". But Beijing-based Western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have argued that the detentions were a "tit-for-tat" reprisal by China. We saw what happened with the American there in Russian Federation. "Mutual understanding and mutual benefit comes after we get to know one another", he said. "We just wanted to make them aware of that, and I am hopeful that we got the language just right so Americans will understand the risk but still travel there when it's appropriate".

The detentions were confirmed by a Canadian government official, according to the newspaper.

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

McIver, a teacher, has since been released and returned to Canada.

Five of them remain in custody - including ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, whom China has accused of endangering national security.

"It's not advancing any goal other than the objective of further raising doubts about China's reliability as a country that's going to follow the rule of law".