On September 15, the United States issued a sweeping new advisory warning against travel to mainland China and Hong Kong, citing the risk of “arbitrary detention” and “arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”
The advisory is likely to heighten tensions between the sides that have spiked since Beijing’s imposition on Hong Kong of a strict new national security law in June that has already been met with a series of U.S. punitive actions.
The statement warned U.S. citizens that China imposes “arbitrary detention and exit bans” to compel cooperation with investigations, pressure family members to return to China from abroad, influence civil disputes and “gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.”
The advisory said: “U.S. citizens traveling or residing in China or Hong Kong, 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 without due process of law.”
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has revealed that Zhenhua Data, a Chinese firm based in Shenzhen, is monitoring 2.4 million people around the world. The firm's main clients include the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its military. Chris Balding, an American scholar, said that "China is absolutely building out a massive surveillance state both domestically and internationally." This poses a threat not only to Chinese citizens, but also to citizens of the world.
When Chris Balding started researching the internal workings of Huawei, the Chinese technology giant, last year, he obtained a copy of Zhenhua Data’s vast database. The company monitors high-powered influencers around the world, including national leaders, military officials, entrepreneurs and artists, as well as their friends, family, and colleagues. The information collected by Zhenhua Data includes birth dates, addresses, marital status, photos, relatives, and social media accounts.
A Chinese researcher named Zhang Jian said, "This data is meant to be used against these Western countries one day to launch a propaganda war that favors the CCP’s rule. The company is involved in this paramilitary battle with the intelligence community."