International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

China

China
People's Republic of China
Exercise increased caution in China due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals.

Exercise increased caution in China due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals.

Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using ‘exit bans,’ sometimes keeping U.S. citizens in China for years. China uses exit bans coercively:

  • to compel U.S. citizens to participate in Chinese government investigations,
  • to lure individuals back to China from abroad, and
  • to aid Chinese authorities in resolving civil disputes in favor of Chinese parties.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of the exit ban when they attempt to depart China, and there is no method to find out how long the ban may continue. U.S. citizens under exit bans have been harassed and threatened.

U.S. citizens may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to “state security.” Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government.

Extra security measures, such as security checks and increased levels of police presence, are common in the Xinjiang Uighur and Tibet Autonomous Regions. Authorities may impose curfews and travel restrictions on short notice.

China does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-Chinese citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and China may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to China:

... [READ MORE]

Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Beijing

No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600
China
Telephone:
+(86)(10) 8531-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(10) 8531-3300
The Embassy consular district includes the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin and the provinces/autonomous regions of Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Jiangxi, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, and Xinjiang.

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Chengdu
Number 4 Lingshiguan Road
Section 4, Renmin Nanlu
Chengdu 61004,China
Telephone:
+(86)(28) 8558-3992
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(28) 8554-6229
Email: AmCitChengdu@state.gov
This consular district includes the provinces/autonomous region of Guizhou, Sichuan, Xizang (Tibet) and Yunnan, as well as the municipality of Chongqing.

U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou
43 Hua Jiu Road, Zhujiang New Town, Tianhe District
Guangzhou 510623
China
Telephone:
+(86)(20) 3814-5775
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(20) 3814-5572
Email: GuangzhouACS@state.gov
This consular district includes the provinces/autonomous region of Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, and Fujian. 

U.S. Consulate General Shanghai
Westgate Mall, 8th Floor, 1038 Nanjing Xi Lu,
Shanghai 200031
China
Telephone: 
+(86)(21) 8011-2400
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(21) 6148-8266
Email: ShanghaiACS@state.gov
This consular district includes Shanghai municipality and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

U.S. Consulate General Shenyang
No. 52, 14th Wei Road, Heping District,
Shenyang 110003
China

Telephone: +(86)(24) 2322-1198
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(24) 2322-1198
Fax: +(86)(24) 2323-1465
Email: ShenyangACS@state.gov
This consular district includes: the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning. 

The U.S. Consulate General in Wuhan
New World International Trade Tower I,
No. 568, Jianshe Avenue
Hankou, Wuhan 430022
China

Telephone: +(86)(027) 8555-7791
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(027) 8555-7761
Please note that Wuhan does not provide regularly scheduled consular services. Contact the Embassy in Beijing for consular assistance.

General Information

For information concerning travel to China, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country specific information for China. 

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

Hague Abduction Convention

China is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between China and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  The government of China maintains information about custody, visitation, and family law on the Internet here under Marriage Law.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in China and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State 
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI 
SA-17, 9th Floor 
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website: travel.state.gov

Under Article 262 of the Criminal Law, abduction of a child under the age of 14 that would cause the child to be separated from his/her family or guardian is a crime in China, Please see full text of the law, which does not clearly address how this law applies if the abductor is a parent.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in China and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.   Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in China for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in China are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing posts list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

Divorce cases brought before the courts often include voluntary mediation to resolve conflicts and to help develop parenting plan(s) best for the family.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in China who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. For more resources please check www.npc.gov.cnor for the Chinese version please obtain information at http://www.gov.cn.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: June 1, 2015

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Beijing
No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600
China
Telephone
+(86)(10) 8531-4000
Emergency
+(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax
+(86)(10) 8531-3300

China Map