Chinese government officials are warning their U.S. counterparts that they could detain U.S. citizens in China in response to the Justice Department’s prosecution of Chinese military-affiliated scholars, according to people familiar with the case.
Chinese officials have issued the warnings to U.S. government officials repeatedly and through several channels, the people said, including through the U.S. embassy in Beijing.
The people said that the Chinese message has been blunt: the United States should prosecute the Chinese scholars in US courts, otherwise Americans in China may find themselves in violation of Chinese law.
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China began issuing the warning this summer after the United States began arresting a number of Chinese researchers who visited U.S. universities for conducting research, accusing them of hiding from U.S. immigration officials their active duty status to the People̵
The arrests were the subject of an article in the Wall Street Journal that also reported US allegations that Chinese diplomats coordinated activities with the researchers, describing it as a factor in ordering China to close the Houston consulate in July and remove the remaining military researchers from the country. .
Chinese authorities have occasionally detained foreign nationals in movements that their governments regard as unfounded or in some cases as diplomatic retaliation, a tactic that many in Washington political circles have referred to as “hostage diplomacy.” China has denied US citizens permission to leave the country and arrested, charged or convicted Canadian, Australian and Swedish citizens for what officials from these governments have said are false accusations.
Read more on the Wall Street Journal.