An advisory is officially in effect.
On Tuesday, China issued a statement to all of its citizens traveling to the United States: Be cautious. “Recently, U.S. law enforcement agencies have on multiple occasions used methods such as entry and exit checks, and on-site interviews to harass Chinese citizens in the U.S.,” the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in the announcement. The Ministry is also citing gun violence, robberies, and theft activity in the U.S. as reasons Chinese travelers should be on high alert. The warning—which is in effect until Dec. 31—comes in the midst of a U.S.-China trade dispute that has been a central focus of the Trump Administration and in the wake of a mass shooting that took place in Virginia Beach Saturday that resulted in the deaths of 12 people.
Statistics on U.S. Gun Violence
According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 39,773 people died from gun violence in 2017, up by over 1,000 compared to 2016. The fatalities were the highest they’ve been since 1968. While 60 percent of these deaths were ruled suicide, homicides claimed an alarming 37 percent. The reason for the spike? Possibly narcotics. “Now with the fentanyl issue and at the height of the drug overdose epidemic, now we are seeing rises in gun deaths,” Bob Anderson of the C.D.C’s National Center for Health Statistics told The New York Times. Additionally, the TSA discovered 3,957 firearms in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country that same year—a record number at that time, only to be surpassed by 2018’s findings: 4,239 guns.
While 60 percent of these deaths were ruled suicide, homicides claimed an alarming 37 percent.
Despite these numbers, recent data released from the U.S. Travel Association shows that in 2017, the U.S. saw 3.2 million Chinese visitors pass through its doors. “China remains the third-largest source of overseas travel to the United States,” the USTA said, and “it accounts for 8.2 percent of overseas travel to the U.S.”
Gun Violence Around the Planet
How does the U.S. compare with the rest of the world? Per a study from The Journal of American Medical Association, the U.S. was among a handful of countries that made up more than half the world’s gun-related deaths. Brazil topped that list with 43,200 deaths, with the U.S. at 37,200 deaths. Comparatively, the U.S. was nine times as high as the rate in Canada and 29 times higher than Denmark.
Other Countries Issuing Travel Warnings to the U.S. Because of Guns
China isn’t the only nation to have recognized such behavior occurring in the U.S. in recent times. Travelers from The Bahamas were cautioned by their island country when traveling to the United States in 2016. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has taken a note of the recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young black males by police officers,” the country’s government said in a statement. Similarly, The United Arab Emirates issued a warning in March that asked its citizens to avoid attending protests and to stay vigilant in popular tourist destinations. Canada is also asking its citizens to take normal security precautions at this time.