International Parental Child Abduction

English

Country Information

China

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

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

Chinese authorities have the broad ability to prohibit travelers from leaving China (also known as ‘exit bans’); exit bans have been imposed to compel U.S. citizens to resolve business disputes, force settlement of court orders, or facilitate government investigations. Individuals not involved in legal proceedings or suspected of wrongdoing have also be subjected to lengthy exit bans in order to compel their family members or colleagues to cooperate with Chinese courts or investigators.

U.S. citizens visiting or residing in China have been arbitrarily interrogated or detained for reasons related to “state security.” Security personnel have detained and/or deported U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government.

China may refuse to acknowledge dual U.S.-Chinese nationals’ U.S. citizenship, including denying U.S. assistance to detained dual nationals, and preventing their departure from China. If a dual U.S.-Chinese national enters China on a Chinese government travel document, such as, but not limited to, a Chinese passport or a national ID card, U.S. consular officers will not be allowed to visit the individual or assist in interactions with the Chinese government should the individual be arrested, detained, or involved in criminal or civil investigation.

If you plan to enter North Korea from China, read the North Korea Travel Advisory.

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

If you decide to travel to China:

  • Enter China on your U.S. passport with a valid Chinese visa.
  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on Twitter, WeChat, and Weibo.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Reports for China.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
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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