United States issues China travel advisory amid increased tensions

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China uses exit bans coercively: "to compel US citizens to participate in Chinese government investigations, to lure individuals back to China from overseas, and to aid Chinese authorities in resolving civil disputes in favor of Chinese parties", the State Department warned.

China says the two men were associated with jeopardizing state security.

The warning did not mention Meng or the Chinese nationals arrested in the U.S. on espionage allegations.

In November Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was taken into custody at a Canadian airport on a United States arrest warrant for alleged banking fraud linked to illegal trading arrangements with Iran.

After news broke of Kovrig and Spavor, Minister of Tourism Melanie Joly postponed a planned trip to China to attend a tourism event at the last minute.

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December 12: China's foreign ministry says it has no information about Kovrig, but says the organization he worked with - the International Crisis Group - was not registered in China, making its activities in the country illegal.

Regarding a very slight number of foreigners suspected of violating laws and committing crimes in China, the Chinese authorities have always impartially handled cases in accordance with the law, and safeguarded their legal rights and interests, he added.

China ratcheted up its accusations against the two detained Canadians on Thursday, with the country's chief prosecutor declaring that the pair broke Chinese law "without a doubt".

Meng was released on a C$10 million ($7.4 million) bail on December 11 and is living in one of her two multi-million-dollar Vancouver homes as she fights extradition to the United States.

Beijing, however, said the detention of these two men was not linked to Meng's arrest, but analysts called it a "tit-for-tat" action. She has been released on bail and is living in an upscale Vancouver home in advance of her extradition hearing.

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The two detained Canadians have only had one consular visit since their arrests.

Canada has sought the support of key allies in pressuring China to release Kovrig and Spavor.

Those comments don't offer any new information for Kovrig's distressed family and friends, who still don't know why or for how long he's being detained, said Robert Malley, president of the Crisis Group.

The U.S State Department has called for the release of the two Canadians, while Germany, France, the European Union and Australia have also issued supportive statements.

Malley says the detentions undermine China's recent efforts to bill itself as open for business.

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