The Chinese government has repeatedly warned U.S. officials that they may detain U.S. citizens in China because of the Justice Department’s prosecution of Chinese military-affiliated scholars, people familiar with the case say. Wall Street Journal.
Sources said the message, sent through the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and several other channels, says that until U.S. officials drop the charges against the scholars, Chinese officials could arrest Americans currently residing in the country.
According to the Journal, sources confirmed that over the summer, the United States began detaining Chinese researchers doing research at US universities over allegations of concealment. to U.S. immigration authorities their active duty status to the People̵
Journal had reported on the arrests in August along with accusations from US officials that Chinese diplomats used these researchers as part of an intelligence gathering scheme.
Following the arrests, China closed its Houston consulate in July, removing the remaining U.S. military researchers
In response to a request for comment from The Hill, a Foreign Ministry spokesman did not directly address the recently reported threats from Chinese officials. However, they said the department warns “U.S. citizens traveling to China about arbitrary enforcement of local laws, especially the travel bans imposed on U.S. citizens.”
The spokesman went on to say that the agency on the State Department’s website warns “U.S. citizens that business disputes, court rulings on paying a settlement or government investigations into both criminal and civil matters could result in a curfew that will ban your departure to China until the problem is solved. ”
“Even individuals and their family members who are not directly involved, or even aware of this procedure, may be subject to a curfew,” the spokesman added in the statement.
The news is just the latest development that adds to America’s tense relations with China in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
President TrumpDonald John Trump Michigan court overturns absentee vote extension of Trump jokes, he will ‘find a way’ to fire Government DeSantis if he loses Florida Biden, hits Trump’s response to attempted kidnapping of Michigan governor: ‘What the hell is wrong with this guy? ‘ MORE has repeatedly accused China of the eruption and its fallout.
It is believed that the virus originated in Wuhan, China.
Prior to the virus outbreak, both countries were locked in a bitter trade war, with Trump at one point threatening to impose tariffs on the country if he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping were unable to reach an agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently updated its travel consultants for China and Hong Kong the 14. of Septemberand said it now urged U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to these areas “because of COVID-19 and risk because of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”
The September advice also warned that Chinese officials could detain citizens of other countries. “to obtain bargaining power over foreign governments. ”
John Demers, head of the National Security Department’s National Security Department, told the magazine that the agency was “aware that in other cases the Chinese government has detained American, Canadian and other people without legal basis to retaliate against legal prosecutions and exert pressure on their governments with a gross infringement of the persons involved. “
According to the news release, Demers declined to comment on the details of the alleged Chinese threats made in connection with the US cases against the researchers, but said that “if China wants to be considered one of the world’s leading nations, it must respect the rule of law and stop taking hostages. ”
In September, federal prosecutors dropped charges against a visiting Chinese scientist at the University of Virginia who had been accused of stealing trade secrets from his professor.
A federal prosecutor said during a hearing in Chicago where Hu Haizhou was arrested that further investigation determined that “part” of the material allegedly found on his computer was “in a shared room that Mr. Hu had. authorized access “to, according to a transcript obtained by the journal.
As a result, prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss all charges, which the court later accepted.