China advised its citizens against traveling to the United States citing recent increases in crime and harassment.
(Reuters) – China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a safety warning for Chinese citizens and companies in the U.S. according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism also issued an alert for Chinese tourists traveling to the United States. “Recently, shootings, robberies and theft have occurred frequently in the U.S.,” the ministry said on its website in Chinese, according to a CNBC translation.
“Recently, U.S. law enforcement agencies have on multiple occasions used methods such as entry and exit checks, and on-site interviews to harass Chinese citizens in the U.S.,” the ministry said, according to CCTV.
“The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy and Consulate in the U.S. warn Chinese citizens and Chinese-invested institutions to raise their safety awareness, strengthen preventative measures, and respond properly,” it added.
The multiple warnings come amid increasing trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies. Beijing toughened its stance over the weekend by officially laying the blame on the U.S. for the trade war, to which Trump’s administration responded by saying China was pursuing a “blame game.”
In January, the State Department issued a travel advisory telling American citizens to “exercise increased caution” when traveling to China due to Beijing’s attempts, on occasion, to prevent U.S. citizens from leaving the Asian country. On Saturday, The Associated Press reported the State Department is now requiring nearly all U.S. visa applicants to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers.
Chinese tourists spent $26 billion in the U.S. in 2016 and are responsible for boosting the sales of many U.S. luxury retailers, so restricting Chinese tourism may be a move to get bargaining power in trade negotiations.
San Miguel Times