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Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

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globe-trotter
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Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by globe-trotter » January 21st, 2019, 1:06 am

I'm concerned about the State Department's recent travel advisory, which warns U.S. citizens of the following:

Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using ‘exit bans,’ sometimes keeping U.S. citizens in China for years.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of the exit ban when they attempt to depart China, and there is no method to find out how long the ban may continue. U.S. citizens under exit bans have been harassed and threatened.

U.S. citizens may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to “state security.”.


Oddly enough, there is no travel advisory for Hong Kong, only for mainland China.

Does this mean that Hong Kong is excluded from imposing exit bans on U.S. citizens?

Isn't Hong Kong part of China? Why isn't it subject to the same laws?

FYI:

- I am a U.S. citizen (non-Chinese)

- I have already booked my inbound flight from NY>Hong Kong, and my return flight from Beijing>NY. I will lose hundreds of dollars in cancellation fees if I cancel

- The purpose of my trip is tourism

CannedHam
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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by CannedHam » January 21st, 2019, 2:19 am

I'm going over to the mainland this year and have no worries. There are hundreds of thousands of foreigners there, and what, like two or three of them were detained and eventually released?

And as to your questions about Hong Kong, some simple googling will give you the answer, but the long and short is that Hong Kong still has autonomy in running the area (hence its designations as a "Special Administrative Region"). A tourist visa, for example, is required to enter the mainland, but not Hong Kong. Although this autonomy is slowly eroding.

If you are super worried, stay in Hong Kong.

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Contrarian Expatriate
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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by Contrarian Expatriate » January 21st, 2019, 4:57 am

China went after a high-level executives for retribution, not tourists.

But I would skip Hong Kong altogether in favor of Japan or Singapore. Hong Kong was one of the worst places I ever visited. Even the locals hate it there now.

globe-trotter
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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by globe-trotter » January 21st, 2019, 8:04 am

Contrarian Expatriate wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 4:57 am
China went after a high-level executives for retribution, not tourists.

But I would skip Hong Kong altogether in favor of Japan or Singapore. Hong Kong was one of the worst places I ever visited. Even the locals hate it there now.
I've been concerned that tensions between the U.S. and China can escalate to the point where China starts randomly targeting U.S. tourists for travel bans in retaliation. Anything can happen between now and October, especially since Trump seems hellbent on antagonizing China.

My itinerary includes Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Beijing, and a small town or village in China (TBD).

globe-trotter
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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by globe-trotter » January 21st, 2019, 8:07 am

CannedHam wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 2:19 am
I'm going over to the mainland this year and have no worries. There are hundreds of thousands of foreigners there, and what, like two or three of them were detained and eventually released?

And as to your questions about Hong Kong, some simple googling will give you the answer, but the long and short is that Hong Kong still has autonomy in running the area (hence its designations as a "Special Administrative Region"). A tourist visa, for example, is required to enter the mainland, but not Hong Kong. Although this autonomy is slowly eroding.

If you are super worried, stay in Hong Kong.
You're probably right. The chance that I'll be targeted is pretty minute. But, it's kind of a bummer to have that worry in the back of my mind, however small. My trip is, after all, for pleasure, not business.

Hopefully Hong Kong will retain its autonomy indefinitely.

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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by globe-trotter » January 21st, 2019, 6:20 pm

I came across this article last night. It claims that U.S. citizens, who work for companies that have debt and other issues with China, may be targeted for exit bans, even though they themselves did nothing wrong. They become China's pawns against the U.S. entity that owes money to China, or has some unresolved legal issue with them.

I work a civil service job with a large NY state agency in the NYC area. It's probably unlikely, but still plausible to assume that they have legal/financial dealings with some Chinese government agency (parts supplier, etc.). I hate to sound paranoid, but it can potentially get thorny and complicated:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion ... -worrying/

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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by Yohan » January 21st, 2019, 7:35 pm

globe-trotter wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 1:06 am
- I am a U.S. citizen (non-Chinese)
- I have already booked my inbound flight from NY>Hong Kong, and my return flight from Beijing>NY. I will lose hundreds of dollars in cancellation fees if I cancel
- The purpose of my trip is tourism
There are many people worldwide, including US citizens who are visiting China solely for tourism and I do not know about any serious problems - as long as you follow some rules - this means, while in China never talk openly bad anything about the government, refrain from any political comment (Tibet etc.)...

Stay away from drugs, punishment can be horrible, don't talk about religion and don't distribute bibles, accept the fact that internet is censored, various websites will not work... but otherwise?

Just go to HongKong and China - there are several members of this forum who visited China as tourists, but are also working there and I don't remember anyone reporting any really serious problem. Enjoy your trip! Have a good flight!

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Yohan
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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by Yohan » January 21st, 2019, 7:41 pm

Contrarian Expatriate wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 4:57 am
China went after a high-level executives for retribution, not tourists.
But I would skip Hong Kong altogether in favor of Japan or Singapore. Hong Kong was one of the worst places I ever visited. Even the locals hate it there now.
I think so too. Long time ago I was visiting HongKong, but I am not interested in this city anymore. Not really interested in China too.

I prefer Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea and I am anyway living in Japan permanently.

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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by CannedHam » January 21st, 2019, 9:18 pm

globe-trotter wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 8:07 am
CannedHam wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 2:19 am
I'm going over to the mainland this year and have no worries. There are hundreds of thousands of foreigners there, and what, like two or three of them were detained and eventually released?

And as to your questions about Hong Kong, some simple googling will give you the answer, but the long and short is that Hong Kong still has autonomy in running the area (hence its designations as a "Special Administrative Region"). A tourist visa, for example, is required to enter the mainland, but not Hong Kong. Although this autonomy is slowly eroding.

If you are super worried, stay in Hong Kong.
You're probably right. The chance that I'll be targeted is pretty minute. But, it's kind of a bummer to have that worry in the back of my mind, however small. My trip is, after all, for pleasure, not business.

Hopefully Hong Kong will retain its autonomy indefinitely.
Yeah, your odds of getting flat out killed in a place like the Philippines or South America are probably way higher than the odds of being detained in China as a random tourist. I love Hong Kong more than any other place in the world, but IMO the writing is on the wall, unless there's a regime change in the mainland. Xi Jinping has been extremely hostile towards HK (and Taiwan as well).

globe-trotter
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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by globe-trotter » January 22nd, 2019, 12:59 am

Yohan wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 7:35 pm
globe-trotter wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 1:06 am
- I am a U.S. citizen (non-Chinese)
- I have already booked my inbound flight from NY>Hong Kong, and my return flight from Beijing>NY. I will lose hundreds of dollars in cancellation fees if I cancel
- The purpose of my trip is tourism
There are many people worldwide, including US citizens who are visiting China solely for tourism and I do not know about any serious problems - as long as you follow some rules - this means, while in China never talk openly bad anything about the government, refrain from any political comment (Tibet etc.)...

Stay away from drugs, punishment can be horrible, don't talk about religion and don't distribute bibles, accept the fact that internet is censored, various websites will not work... but otherwise?

Just go to HongKong and China - there are several members of this forum who visited China as tourists, but are also working there and I don't remember anyone reporting any really serious problem. Enjoy your trip! Have a good flight!
That sounds easy to do. Thanks.

globe-trotter
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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by globe-trotter » January 22nd, 2019, 1:04 am

CannedHam wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 9:18 pm
globe-trotter wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 8:07 am
CannedHam wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 2:19 am
I'm going over to the mainland this year and have no worries. There are hundreds of thousands of foreigners there, and what, like two or three of them were detained and eventually released?

And as to your questions about Hong Kong, some simple googling will give you the answer, but the long and short is that Hong Kong still has autonomy in running the area (hence its designations as a "Special Administrative Region"). A tourist visa, for example, is required to enter the mainland, but not Hong Kong. Although this autonomy is slowly eroding.

If you are super worried, stay in Hong Kong.
You're probably right. The chance that I'll be targeted is pretty minute. But, it's kind of a bummer to have that worry in the back of my mind, however small. My trip is, after all, for pleasure, not business.

Hopefully Hong Kong will retain its autonomy indefinitely.
Yeah, your odds of getting flat out killed in a place like the Philippines or South America are probably way higher than the odds of being detained in China as a random tourist. I love Hong Kong more than any other place in the world, but IMO the writing is on the wall, unless there's a regime change in the mainland. Xi Jinping has been extremely hostile towards HK (and Taiwan as well).
Yes, it's unfortunate that China is looking to consolidate its power and annex areas that were traditionally autonomous.

I'm strongly leaning towards keeping my travel plans intact. I'm not changing anything unless there is a major disturbance in U.S.-China relations leading up to my trip.

globe-trotter
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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by globe-trotter » January 22nd, 2019, 1:12 am

Yohan wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 7:41 pm
Contrarian Expatriate wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 4:57 am
China went after a high-level executives for retribution, not tourists.
But I would skip Hong Kong altogether in favor of Japan or Singapore. Hong Kong was one of the worst places I ever visited. Even the locals hate it there now.
I think so too. Long time ago I was visiting HongKong, but I am not interested in this city anymore. Not really interested in China too.

I prefer Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea and I am anyway living in Japan permanently.
I've been to Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines. Thoroughly enjoyed them. But I'm looking to explore other areas of Asia. Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China are on my itinerary for October. Even if I end up disappointed with these places, I'll be more than happy if my trip simply goes as planned, with no hiccups. That's my criterion for a successful vacation.

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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by xiongmao » January 22nd, 2019, 10:29 am

I'm in China right now. I got worried but then I got reassured by finding a video that claims there are 400,000 foreign English teachers in China. Safety in numbers and all that!

China has a visa system so it can stop unwanted people coming here in the first place.

A few countries have exit visa restrictions. I once looked into working in Saudi - they have the same. Uh, no thanks on that one!

Oh well, drop by if you pass by Zhejiang.
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globe-trotter
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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by globe-trotter » January 22nd, 2019, 5:32 pm

xiongmao wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 10:29 am
I'm in China right now. I got worried but then I got reassured by finding a video that claims there are 400,000 foreign English teachers in China. Safety in numbers and all that!

China has a visa system so it can stop unwanted people coming here in the first place.

A few countries have exit visa restrictions. I once looked into working in Saudi - they have the same. Uh, no thanks on that one!

Oh well, drop by if you pass by Zhejiang.
Thanks for the invitation, mate! I wish I had more time in China. It's a huge country, and couldn't possibly be explored in the limited time I have. I'm going to be checking out only some of the main highlights (Great Wall, Forbidden City, Shanghai, etc.).

Off topic: Could you recommend a small town or village between Shanghai and Beijing that would give me a good idea of village/small town life in China? It will be a good contrast to the huge cities I'll be visiting.

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Re: Should I Cancel My Trip to China and Hong Kong in October?

Post by E Irizarry R&B Singer » January 22nd, 2019, 7:59 pm

globe-trotter wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 5:32 pm
xiongmao wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 10:29 am
I'm in China right now. I got worried but then I got reassured by finding a video that claims there are 400,000 foreign English teachers in China. Safety in numbers and all that!

China has a visa system so it can stop unwanted people coming here in the first place.

A few countries have exit visa restrictions. I once looked into working in Saudi - they have the same. Uh, no thanks on that one!

Oh well, drop by if you pass by Zhejiang.
Thanks for the invitation, mate! I wish I had more time in China. It's a huge country, and couldn't possibly be explored in the limited time I have. I'm going to be checking out only some of the main highlights (Great Wall, Forbidden City, Shanghai, etc.).

Off topic: Could you recommend a small town or village between Shanghai and Beijing that would give me a good idea of village/small town life in China? It will be a good contrast to the huge cities I'll be visiting.
You guys might want to PM this kind of information. China must remain China. You guys have seen what HK (Hong Kong) is like nowadays; I loathe that place.
It's time to expatriate to evade your fate; it's time to expatriate before the barn door permanently closes on "US" sheep.
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