As Biden, Xi Jinping Meet At G20 Summit, Many US Citizens, Targeted By 'Exit Ban,' Remain Stuck In China For Years

As U.S. President Joe Biden gears up to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, the tension between Washington and Beijing doesn't seem to be ending soon. 

What Happened: Amid souring U.S.-China relations, the White House has expressed concerns over Beijing’s decisions to impose exit bans on American citizens "without fair and transparent process under the law," reported The Wall Street Journal. 

See Also: As Xi Jinping Wins A Historic Third Term, Prominent Economist Says ‘Asymmetry,’ Not ‘Reciprocity’ The Way To Deal With China

The report, citing an interview with an American citizen Henry Cai, noted that it had been five years since he was told he couldn't leave China. 

Cai, in 2017, just before Christmas, was stopped at the airport at the end of a business trip from flying back to the U.S. He later learned that somebody was trying to force him to pay an outstanding debt of several million dollars owed by a Chinese company where he was a director and shareholder. Cai rushed to clear the misunderstanding quickly but yet remained stuck in China. 

In an interview with the publication, Cai said he fears the deteriorating relations between the two nations have worsened his quandary.

According to ​​legal experts, any party to a civil dispute in China involving a foreign national can ask local police to add their opponent's name to a national database of exit bans, which is checked by police check at every border. 

The report said that as many as 30 U.S. citizens could not leave China due to the government’s exit bans, on top of up to 200 detained in the country.

"We frequently stress to China's government — including at the highest levels — our concern about China's use of exit bans on U.S. citizens without notification or transparent means to resolve them," said a U.S. State Department spokesman.

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