Those entering or leaving China sometimes pass through Hong Kong or go no further than the province. A law enacted on August 1 prevents people from entering or leaving Hong Kong if they are involved in a criminal or civil legal dispute. China often employs similar restrictions on dissidents or foreign citizens, typically forcing them to remain inside the country while a dispute is ongoing.
The U.S. claims coercion
The U.S. government denounced these types of bans in the past as coercive because it requires Americans to remain in China and participate in Chinese investigations. CNN reported earlier this year that these types of laws pose a risk of indefinite detention to those who visit – the visitor may get put on a no-travel list that forbids airlines from carrying a specific passenger even there are no formal charges or court order. It also likely means that the Hong Kong or Chinese court will punish the American to the benefit of the Chinese plaintiff or court.
The law also is worded somewhat vaguely. It leaves some to interpret that it also applies to people who leave Hong Kong, preventing them from returning home. Those Hong Kong or Chinese citizens living and working in the U.S. may want to consider this new law before planning their next trip home to Hong Kong and China. Travelers can get guidance whether they are Americans with questions about doing business in Hong Kong or Chinese businesspeople trying to figure out it is safe to travel home.