China warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to the United States on Tuesday, a jab at the US in the increasingly escalating trade battle between Beijing and Washington.
The warning comes in the wake of failed trade negotiations between the two countries last month, the US government's blacklisting of Chinese technology giant Huawei and Trump's restrictions on foreign visitors.
Separate warnings were issued by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese Embassy, China's Ministry of Culture and Chinese consulates in the United States. China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that that "shootings, robberies and thefts have occurred frequently in the United States," according to Xinhua News Agency, China's official news channel.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that Chinese citizens have been harassed by US security officials “through border interrogations, drop-in visits and various other means.” China's Foreign Ministry, as well as the Chinese Embassy, cautioned Chinese citizens to "raise their safety awareness, strengthen preventative measures, and respond properly."
An earlier warning was issued on Monday by the Chinese Ministry of Education to Chinese students studying in the US, highlighting new US restrictions which apply to some Chinese student visas.
Dwarka Chakravarty, a professor at San Diego State University told Forbes that “this is clearly retaliatory. I don’t think the domestic situation in the U.S. has changed all that much. The larger message China is trying to send is that the US is not a safe place to do business.”
Chinese tourists spend more money in the US than any other international tourists, spending $36.4 billion in 2018, according to the Los Angeles Times. However, according to the National Travel and Tourism office, Chinese tourism in the US is falling, with 3 million Chinese tourists in 2018, a decrease from 3.2 million in 2017.
A recent CNBC report says that luxury businesses are suffering from decreasing sales due to the trade war. Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. was quoted as seeing “dramatically” lower foreign tourist spending.
“The tourists in the U.S. represent a low double-digit percentage of our total sales in the US and we have seen a sharp decrease to sales to tourists in the US in the range of 25%. Even sharper for Chinese tourists,” Tiffany’s chief executive officer, Alessandro Bogliolo, said.