Don’t let this interrupt an incredible trip…

From North, South, East and West – China is a land of endless wonder and not to be missed. Yellow mountains, forbidden cities, Terracotta Warriors and diverse regional food offer more experiences than any tourist could possibly squeeze into one trip. But out of nowhere, the U.S. State Department has issued a health warning for the entire country, putting trip doubts in the minds of U.S travelers. Here’s everything you need to know, if you’ve got upcoming plans, or are considering a trip.

a blue car parked on a street with buildings and peopleRecent Events

A strange January sonic attack at the U.S. embassy in Havana has the United Staes on high alert across all foreign embassy posts. Last week, embassy workers at the U.S. Embassy in Guangzhou are said to have reported symptoms of a sonic attack, which can cause nausea, headaches and dizziness – as well as hearing and sleeping problems. The potential sonic attacks are no doubt alarming, unexplained and have prompted the United States to recall some diplomatic staff back to U.S. soil. In response to the the Guangzhou events, the U.S. has issued a health alert for U.S. citizens, across all of China.

a large building with a red roof and a red wall with a red gate with Forbidden City in the background

The China Health Alert

The alert does not suggest changing, cancelling, postponing or even reconsidering any trips. There’s no specific threat to foreign travelers and thus far zero tourists have reported issues related to sonic attacks. The alert simply offers a warning for all visitors, particularly those around United States embassies to be extra cautious, should they feel any symptoms consistent with a sonic attack. According to the U.S. Embassy – potential symptoms “include dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, and difficulty sleeping”. If anyone experiences health issues, it’s advised to move to a different location and consider consulting a health professional. The embassy has also listed relevant U.S. Embassy contact info across China, shall someone feel the need to reach the consulate.

Nanjing Road street with many people and signsWhat’s The Story

There’s no question that diplomatic relations between China and the United States have been strained. It’s quite hard to correlate a potential sonic attack in a regional city meriting a health alert for an entire nation, but that’s where we are. Whether political theatre, or a legitimate issue for embassy employees, at present – it’s not an issue for tourists. Get on the plane, see all that China has to offer and enjoy the trip. China is one of the most fascinating places on earth, and with the kind of deals we’re seeing lately – there’s actually never been a better time to go.

What do you make of these recent health warnings?

HT: CN Traveler

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. You are making a lot of assumptions to dismiss this warning that I do not believe are supportable from what we know and can reasonable assume in this context. Your assumption that it does not apply to tourists assumes that the Chinese consider all tourists to be of no interest in terms of surveillance. There is actually considerable evidence that China keeps many tourists under some form of surveillance. For instance, the hotels in China are required to provide 100% cooperation with China in tracking guests at the request of the government. And if you as a tourist go anywhere near some sensitive area, which you may not even know about, they you could trigger surveillance just from that alone.

    And while this is only one city, it appears to be focused on foreign nationals. If this is related to supervision of individuals of interest to the Chinese government, then can we just assume it will be in only one city, or might they use this method wherever individuals of interest might be?

    In any case, I don’t wish to travel to China for the reasons I don’t want to go to Russia. I don’t support oppressive regimes that are engaged in blatant and ongoing violation of human rights, both in the country and without. And yes, I have spent months in the country over the course of several years in the more distant past. Love the people, don’t much care for the government.

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