Opinion on The Arrest of U.S. Citizens in Hong Kong and Beijing’s Security Laws

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Traveling overseas to China has just grown more dangerous. The U.S. State Department warns U.S. citizens living in China but especially Hong Kong, about a hazard of unreasonable detainment by Chinese authorities. Rising tensions from COVID19 and trade have deteriorated the economic and political relationship between the U.S. and China. Moreover, U.S. President Donald Trump has openly criticized, mocked, and blamed China for COVID’s pandemic status. Many condemn Trump’s administration for the trade war between the two countries, supporting Hong Kong riots and instigating China’s actions of arresting U.S. Citizens.

In Hong Kong, riots and protests about Beijing’s controversial security law started a year ago and consequently quieted down due to COVID19. The recent rallies are again in opposition to Beijing’s Communist Government extending China’s security practices to Hong Kong. Oddly, Hong Kong has maintained autonomy while still being part of China.Technically, Hong Kong is a Chinese colony; however, it operated as an independent country with a governing style differential from China. One Hong Kong law was Chinese authorities could not arrest people in Hong Kong without the proper documentation. The new law would allow Chinese government officials to capture non-residents in Hong Kong.

The reason this security law is dangerous is not only because it removes Hong Kong’s autonomy, but also the new law makes it illegal to speak against the government despite foreign citizenship or dual citizenship. Another essential aspect of citizenship is that the Chinese regime does not acknowledge dual citizenship. Any traveling American can be arrested for speaking against the administration or other alleged crimes despite a lack of evidence. There have been many stories that have surfaced throughout the years of American detainees in China. The security law leads to speculation that Hong Kong will have the same law severity as China and be unsafe for American citizens to travel too.

The concept of Beijing arresting Americans or other nationalities on bogus charges is not a new story. In 2019, two different events, non-related to each other, occurred; two American English teachers and two Canadians residing in China were arrested for what they claimed where false accusations.

Furthermore, the U.S. issued a travel advisory to all citizens staying in China and extending to Hong Kong about an increased risk of Americans facing deportation or detention without justification. The threat to Americans in China/Hong Kong is furthered by reports of no access to U.S. consular services during the detainment period, which can last months or years. Beijing’s top priority is securing the state, which means the Chinese government has the right to prolonged interrogation, investigation, and harassment.

Moreover, earlier this month, President Trump’s rambling speech mentioned the relationship between the two countries is “severely damaged.” In retaliation to China’s new national security law, President Donald Trump issued sanctions claiming Hong Kong will be treated the same as China now. China Officials have criticized Trump’s reprimand and vowed to take retaliatory action. Furthermore, these developments leave U.S. citizens in China and Hong Kong in a vulnerable position with the threat of unjustified imprisonment.

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