- Beijing has reportedly threatened to arrest Americans in China amid growing tensions between the countries.
- Beijing says the US is unfairly detaining Chinese academics and has threatened to retaliate on numerous occasions, according to a report.
- Earlier this year, the US Department of Justice arrested four Chinese researchers who it accused of hiding affiliations with the People’s Liberation Army in their visa applications.
- The US State Department is advising Americans to avoid travel to China after Beijing indicted two Canadian nationals for espionage.
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Beijing has repeatedly threatened to lock up Americans in China if the US does not drop its Chinese scholars’ persecution.
China has communicated the threat to the White House on numerous occasions and through multiple channels, including the US embassy in Beijing, according to The Wall Street Journal.
This latest escalation in tension between the White House and Beijing dates back to July when the US Department of Justice arrested four Chinese researchers, accused of concealing affiliations with the People’s Liberation Army in their visa applications. One — Juan Tang — spent a month in the Chinese consulate in California before being arrested by the FBI. She denied the allegations and has since been released on bail.
At the time of her arrest, Beijing warned the US that it would detain an American in China if Tang were not allowed to return to China, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Since then, the US has stepped up its campaign to identify Chinese academics and students it claims security risks. Last month it revoked visas for 1,000 Chinese nationals who wanted to study and research in the US.
As part of an increasingly hardline approach to Beijing, the Trump administration has accused China of seeking to steal technology and military information in a bid to overtake replace it as the world’s leading superpower.
Last month, the US State Department advised citizens against traveling to China, warning that Beijing was using arbitrary detention and blocking foreign nationals from leaving “to gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.”
In June, Beijing indicted two Canadian nationals on espionage charges 18 months after first detaining the pair.