December 2, 2022

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China Travel Advisory

6 min read

Reissued to reformat the Hong Kong and Macau Travel Advisories and to provide updates on COVID-19 restrictions.

Reconsider travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Macau SAR, due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions. See specific risks and conditions in each jurisdiction below. Exercise increased caution in the PRC due to wrongful detentions.

Quarantine and Testing

The zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC, Hong Kong SAR, and Macau SAR governments severely impacts travel and access to public services.

All travelers should prepare to be tested for COVID-19 and to quarantine at a government-designated location for an extended duration upon arrival to the PRC, Hong Kong SAR, or Macau SAR. While in quarantine, health authorities will test travelers as often as daily for COVID-19 and will not permit travelers to leave their rooms. Travelers who test positive during this quarantine time may be transferred to a government-designated medical facility. Standards of care, accommodations, testing, and treatments may differ considerably from standards in the United States, including the possibility of unsanitary or crowded conditions, substandard or limited access to food provisions, and delayed access to medical treatment. Even after completing quarantine on arrival, travelers to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, may face additional quarantines and mandatory testing. Travelers may also face movement and access restrictions, including limited access to medical services and public transportation. In some cases, children in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR, who test positive have been separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements.

Testing and travel requirements frequently change. People within the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, may be subject to mandatory testing. In areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases, restrictions may include being confined to home or moved to a government-designated quarantine facility or hospital. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in the mainland areas of the PRC, or the Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau’s COVID-19 page for information on the COVID-19 situation in the Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR.

Lockdowns

Lockdowns, also called “dynamic static management of COVID-19 risks,” can occur in any location in the PRC, including in the Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, with little notice. Lockdowns may last for extended periods. Officials may instruct people not to leave specific districts, compounds, or residences. They may lock compound and building doors, and construct gates or walls around residences with little or no notice. Officials may require people to transfer to a quarantine facility.

Prepare to have sufficient water, food, and medication on hand for a minimum of two weeks. If an area is restricted due to COVID-19, groceries, deliveries, and public transportation may be unavailable. Hospitals may restrict entrance or be locked down on short notice. These restrictions may be more likely to occur in border areas, particularly on the borders with the DPRK, Burma (Myanmar), Mongolia, and Russia, where COVID-19 cases have occurred that officials believe stem from cross-border transmission. 

Country Summary: The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including carrying out wrongful detentions and using exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without fair and transparent process under the law.

The Department has determined that at least one U.S. national is wrongfully detained by the PRC government.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens in the PRC may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC and the Hong Kong SAR, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists have been unjustly interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws. The PRC has also interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC, Hong Kong SAR, or Macau SAR governments.

In addition, the PRC government has used restrictions on travel or departure from the PRC, or so-called exit bans, to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
  • pressure family members of the restricted individual to return to the PRC from abroad,
  • resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law. Relatives, including minor children, of those under investigation in the PRC, may become subject to an exit ban. 

The PRC, Hong Kong SAR, and Macau SAR governments do not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese descent may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC, Hong Kong SAR, and Macau SAR governments may prevent the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate General from providing consular services.

XINJIANG UYGHUR AUTONOMOUS REGION and TIBET AUTONOMOUS REGION

Extra security measures, such as security checks and increased levels of police presence, are common in the Xinjiang Uyghur and Tibet Autonomous Regions. Authorities may impose curfews and travel restrictions on short notice.

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

Since the imposition of the National Security Law on June 30, 2020, the PRC unilaterally and arbitrarily exercises police and security power in the Hong Kong SAR. The PRC has demonstrated an intention to use this authority to target a broad range of activities it defines as acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign entities. The National Security Law also covers offenses committed by non-Hong Kong residents or organizations outside of Hong Kong, which could subject U.S. citizens who have been publicly critical of the PRC to a heightened risk of arrest, detention, expulsion, or prosecution. PRC security forces, including the new Office for Safeguarding National Security, now operate in the Hong Kong SAR and are not subject to oversight by the Hong Kong judiciary.

Demonstrations: Participating in demonstrations or any other activities that authorities interpret as constituting an act of secession, subversion, terrorism, or collusion with a foreign country could result in criminal charges. U.S. citizens are strongly cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and avoid demonstrations.

Propaganda: A PRC propaganda campaign has falsely accused individuals, including U.S. citizens, of fomenting unrest in the Hong Kong SAR. In some cases, the campaign has published their personal information, resulting in threats of violence on social media.

Read the country information page for the PRC, the information page for the Hong Kong SAR, and the information page for the Macau SAR for additional information on travel.

If you decide to travel to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR:

  • Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, read the Embassy COVID-19 page for the PRC and the Consulate General COVID-19 page for the Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR for specific COVID-19 information.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, monitor local media, local transportations sites and apps like MTR Mobile or CitybusNWFB, and the Hong Kong International Airport website for updates.
  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Avoid taking photographs of protesters or police without permission.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, review your Hong Kong flight status with your airline or at the Hong Kong International Airport website.
  • Enter the PRC on your U.S. passport with a valid PRC visa and keep it with you.
  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.
  • If you plan to enter the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), read the DPRK Travel Advisory. Travelers should note that U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through the DPRK, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on TwitterWeChat, and Weibo. Follow U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the PRC, the Hong Kong SAR, and the Macau SAR.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

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