BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- China's foreign ministry on Friday refuted a travel advisory issued by the United States, and said China always welcomes foreign citizens and protects their lawful rights.
The remarks came after the U.S. State Department updated a travel advisory warning, saying visitors to China are at risk that the Chinese government may take exit bans to prohibit them from leaving the country.
"China always welcomes foreign citizens, including U.S. citizens, to visit China, and protects their security and legal rights, including freedom of entry and exit," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a press briefing.
"Of course, foreign citizens in China should also respect and abide by Chinese laws," Lu said.
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.
"Frankly speaking, the travel advisory issued by the United States does not hold water," Lu said.
From January to November 2018, 2.3 million people traveled from the United States to China, said the spokesperson, adding that this meant 70 out of every 10,000 Americans visited China.
"This outnumbers the proportion of Chinese people visiting the United States," Lu said. He said such figures could answer the question of whether China was safe for foreigners.
"We hope the U.S. side will make more efforts to promote exchanges and mutual trust between Chinese and U.S. people rather than the opposite," he said.