Foreign executives are afraid to travel to China now due to the Chinese government’s recent use of exit bans on corporate and banking leaders, detaining them in their country for investigative purposes.

Companies are canceling trips, or postponing them indefinitely. Other companies are allowing their corporate personnel to travel, but with added warnings on how to avoid government intervention in their affairs.

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According to chief executive of ATG Travel World Wide Tammy Krings, there has been a 25 percent increase in cancellation or delays for business trips over the last month. “There is a very significant cautionary attitude toward travel to China,” she said. “I would advise mission-critical travel only.”

For the last two months, China has been detaining a senior executive of U.S. risk-advisory firm Kroll from leaving the mainland back to Hong Kong. A senior investment banker with Japanese firm Nomura is also being detained.

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese authorities were questioning staff of Bain & Co.’s Shanghai office in a surprise visit. China also undertook a cybersecurity review of imports from Micron Technology chip company, detained an employee of Japanese company Astellas Pharma, and raided the Chinese office of American company Mintz Group.

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According to experts on the matter contacted by the Wall Street Journal, the Chinese state engages in such activity to pursue criminal investigations, put pressure on dissidents, and to gain leverage over foreign companies and countries.

A recent survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai found that U.S. companies’ optimism about the future of American-Chinese relations are at their lowest since 1999. A little more than half had an optimistic view, compared to 78 percent in 2021.

Meanwhile, some of the richest people in China are smuggling money out of the country and attempting to relocate abroad, whether to the U.S., Canada, or Australia.

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