LONDON: Britain, while issuing a new a travel advisory for China, warned that its nationals may be at risk of arbitrary detention, after several foreigners were held on various charges including cases involving state secrets and national security.
The British Foreign Office in its latest advice posted on its website said that “China’s authorities have under certain circumstances detained foreigners citing ‘endangering national security”. “There is also a risk of arbitrary detention, including of British Nationals,” it said.
British advice, which previously contained no reference to the risk of arbitrary detention, had been updated to “clearly and factually reflect recent incidents”, said a spokesman for the British embassy in Beijing. “But the level of our advice has not changed,” he added.
The British warning comes after several foreigners were detained in China on national security charges, including Canadians, Australians, Japanese and at least one American. Some of them remain in detention.
According to China’s foreign ministry, in one of the latest high-profile cases, Cheng Lei, an Australian citizen and anchor on Chinese state television, was detained in August for “carrying out criminal activities endangering China’s national security,”. Her detention follows a period of strained relations between China and Australia.