09:37 GMT +311 December 2019
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    Frequent ‘Shootings, Robbery, Theft’: Beijing Warns Chinese Tourists in US

    © Photo : Li Hao/GT
    Asia & Pacific
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    Chinese tourists planning to visit the US have been warned by the Chinese embassy in America of “frequent shootings” and the high cost of medical care.

    "Social security in the states is not satisfactory. Shootings, robbery, theft happen frequently," the statement by China's embassy in the US wrote, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported. 

    "Be aware of suspicious people around you and avoid going out alone at night," the statement added, also observing that Chinese tourists can call local ‘911' emergency lines and ask for Chinese-language services if necessary.

    According to the US Department of Commerce, over 3 million Chinese people visited the US in 2017. By 2022, the total number of Chinese tourists is expected to increase to 4.5 million annually.

    The embassy notice additionally warned tourists to steer clear of confrontations with law enforcement officials at border control points.

    "A US visa does not guarantee you have the right to enter the country […] Law enforcers at the customs [desks] have the ultimate power to decide," the statement admonished. 

    In addition, Beijing's foreign office reminded Chinese tourists that non-US citizens do not have the right to legal representation in incidents that may occur at border inspections, unless they are in placed into custody or are involved in a criminal investigation. Law enforcement officials can also search foreign nationals coming into the US without a warrant.

    The embassy notice comes in the wake of growing concerns over increased checks on visitors, including customs officials going through people's phones.

    In 2015, US officials reported that they had surveilled just 4,444 cellphones and 320 other electronic devices at border control checkpoints, while in 2016, officials noted a sharp increase: searching some 23,000 electronic devices.

    The Chinese embassy statement noted that anyone planning on traveling to the US should have a comprehensive health insurance policy due to the very high cost of medical treatment in the US.

    Chinese visitors to the US were also warned not to provide any information about personal bank accounts amid an increase in global telecom fraud preying on the citizens of Asia's largest nation.


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