HongKong

US State Department eases Hong Kong travel warning

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The U.S. State Department lowered its travel warning for Hong Kong, placing it at “Tier 2: Increased Caution.” Some democracy advocates in Hong Kong have criticized the move as the Biden administration continues to seek a more cooperative relationship with Beijing.

The quietly implemented move came a day before the Fourth of July weekend, which marked an easing of US travel warnings for Hong Kong. Mainland China has stripped Hong Kong of its political freedoms and autonomy through the 2020 National Security Law.

In March 2022, Hong Kong’s warning was raised to “Level 4: Do not travel,” which warns against Hong Kong’s strict coronavirus control measures and enforcement of local laws. On March 10 this year, the warning was lowered to “Level 3: Reconsider travel”, which also covers other parts of China.

The U.S. State Department also reissued a level-three warning for mainland China last week, saying there was a “risk of wrongful detention” for U.S. citizens.

The new travel advisory, issued on June 30, no longer includes language about Hong Kong’s enforcement of coronavirus measures — most of which have been lifted — but it continues to warn Americans about the implementation of the national security law, noting that it covers non-Hong Kongers criminal behavior. Hong Kong residents outside Hong Kong, and Hong Kong does not recognize dual nationality.

US lawyer Samuel Bickett has been detained for two years and deported after Hong Kong authorities accused him of assaulting a police officer, wrote He tweeted that he was confused by the change. “As an American who was wrongfully imprisoned there in 2019, 2020 and 2021, and watched things get more dangerous since then, I find the change puzzling,” he said.

Others noted that the downgraded advisory was issued on the 2020 anniversary of the national security law. “Disturbing to see the advisory level downgraded on the third anniversary of the national security law,” wrote Guo Anna, executive director of the Hong Kong Democratic Council.

The Biden administration has taken steps to seek high-level dialogue with Chinese officials despite the U.S. government’s public assertion that Beijing fully controls Hong Kong, which is supposed to remain autonomous under the Basic Law. After U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and top diplomats in Beijing last month, the State Department said both sides had stressed the importance of “strengthening people-to-people exchanges.”

High-level diplomatic dialogue continued this week. On Sunday night, two days after the State Department issued an updated travel warning for Hong Kong, the Treasury Department announced that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would travel to China on Wednesday.

A State Department spokesman did not directly respond national reviewQuestioned the specific reasons for adjusting the Hong Kong travel warning, but denied that any travel warning decisions were based on political considerations.

“The Department of State regularly updates our travel advisories and country-specific information for all countries based on a comprehensive review of all available safety information and ongoing developments. Travel advisories are based on conditions in countries that may pose a risk to the safety of U.S. citizens. Travel advisories also consider to decisions made to protect the safety of U.S. government personnel abroad and to ensure that U.S. citizens receive appropriate security information.”

A State Department spokesman added: “Bilateral political or economic factors were not considered in this analysis.”

In the days after the country’s decision, Hong Kong authorities’ assertion of universal jurisdiction over political speech made abroad is back in the spotlight: The Hong Kong government announced it was seeking to arrest eight people who fled the city during the events Activists and legislators. The crackdown will be severe in 2020, and now I live abroad.

New York State’s new recommendations are designed to help facilitate the return of U.S. business travelers, expatriates and tourists to the city. The return of foreign tourists remains a key goal of Hong Kong Chief Executive Lee Kar-chau, who earlier this year launched a major campaign to encourage tourism after the Hong Kong security law was implemented.

The U.S. State Department also does not rule out granting Lee Kuan Yew an exceptional opportunity to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco in September. Lee Kuan Yew was sanctioned by the US government in 2020 for his involvement in the crackdown.



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