U.S. urges citizens to exercise `increased caution` on China travel

Diplomat Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were seized separately last month by China's spy agency

China insists detained Canadians ‘without a doubt’ broke security laws

The Canadian group of two senators and four MPs will arrive in China on Saturday.

Backed by the USA and several European countries, Canada's foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, has repeatedly called for the immediate release of Kovrig and Spavor, whose arrests Ottawa has termed arbitrary.

They are travelling to Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong and will meet with counterparts from China's National Peoples' Congress. She was later released on bail pending her extradition hearing.

China has been outspoken about Meng's arrest, which was described as "basically kidnapping" in state media.

On Dec. 24, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed criticism from the USA and Canada on its treatment of the two men, saying that China has abided by the law, protected Kovrig's interests and fulfilled its consular obligations.

There's been little movement from either side on the detentions in recent weeks.

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The federal government says 13 Canadians - 10 more than publicly known - have been detained in China since the arrest of a Huawei executive last month in Vancouver. "From January to November 2018, the number of Americans that came to China reached 2.3 million", he said. He said he wants the Canadian delegation to play a "constructive role" in their cases.

Adam Austen, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, said parliamentary delegations are independent and can make their own travel decisions, adding the department provided a pre-trip briefing to the participants.

The US Department of State has long used its internet presence to criticise China. It came days before talks on the U.S.

"We've overcome many tensions in the past, and I have no doubt there will be others in the future". A level-one advisory suggests travellers "exercise normal precautions", while a level-three advisory urges Americans to "reconsider travel".

A Global Affairs Canada spokesperson told CBC News late previous year that, at any given time, there are roughly 200 Canadians being held in custody in China. "It's pretty clear that what he was doing was neither secretive, nor in anyway endangering Chinese national security", Malley said.

Join the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program which is a free service offered to U.S. citizens traveling overseas that alerts the local embassy or consulate of your presence in the country.

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