by The Associated Press | July 03, 2018
BEIJING (AP) - China issued a safety warning to its citizens traveling to the United States, amid rising tensions over accusations of unfair trading practices and other disputes.
 
The warning, issued late last week and posted on the website of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., touches on issues ranging from the high cost of medical treatment in the U.S. to the prevalence of crime and terrorist attacks, and the powers wielded by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
 
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Tuesday that China's government was merely fulfilling its duty to warn travelers of "potential dangers."
 
U.S. tariffs meant to punish China for allegedly unfair trading practices are due to take effect this Friday. Friction has also grown over the South China Sea and Taiwan.
 
Among cautions noted in the warning: 

• "U.S. law and order is not good, and shootings, robbery and theft are frequent." Travelers should be "alert to suspicious people" around them and "avoid going out alone at night."
 
• Customs law-enforcement officers at the U.S. border have the right to inspect all immigrants (including U.S. citizens) to check their nationality; entry purpose; and personal items, including luggage, electronic equipment and automobiles. It notes that customs officers are not subject to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (which guards against unlawful search and seizure).

• "Global telecommunications fraud against Chinese citizens has been rampant." Travelers who receive a message about a "traffic accident" or "children being kidnapped" are advised to verify the authenticity of the notice through other channels.