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Hong Kong.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce ®
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Health Travel & Other Alert   World Health Organization

April 24 2013

WHO says new bird strain is ‘one of most lethal’ flu viruses By Reuters in Beijing

Assistant Director-General for Health Security and Environment Keiji Fukuda speaks during a press conference on the H7N9 avian influenza virus in Beijing on Wednesday. 

A new strain of bird flu that has killed 22 people in China is “one of the most lethal” of its kind and is more easily transmissible to humans than an earlier strain that has killed hundreds around the world since 2003, a top World Health Organisation (WHO) official said on Wednesday.

The H7N9 virus has infected 108 people in China since it was first detected in March, according to the Geneva-based WHO. Although it is not clear exactly how people have been infected, WHO experts see no evidence so far of the most worrisome scenario – sustained transmission between people.

An international team of experts led by the WHO and the Chinese government conducted a five-day investigation in China, but said they were no closer to determining whether the virus could become transmissible between people.

Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security, said “the situation remains complex and difficult and evolving.

“When we look at influenza viruses, this is an unusually dangerous virus for humans,” Fukuda said at a briefing, also naming the previous H5N1 strain that killed 30 of the 45 people infected in China between 2003 and this year.

This is definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses that we’ve seen so far
Although the H7N9 strain in the current outbreak has a lower fatality rate to date, he added: “This is definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses that we’ve seen so far.”

Fukuda stressed that the team is still at the beginning of its investigation and that “we may just be seeing the most serious infections” at this point.

The team of experts said what was mystifying about the latest virus is the absence of visible illness in poultry, “making it harder to track and control”.

Fukuda also said that based on the evidence, “this virus is more easily transmissible from poultry to humans than (the) H5N1” virus, which has killed 371 people globally since 2003.

Ho Pak-leung, an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong, noted in the British Medical Journal that in the two months since it was first detected, the H7N9 flu has already resulted in almost twice as many confirmed infections in China as H5N1 caused there in a decade.

Besides the initial cases of H7N9 in and around Shanghai, others have been detected in Beijing and five provinces.

Samples from chickens, ducks and pigeons from poultry markets have tested positive for the H7N9 virus, but those from migratory birds have not, said Nancy Cox, director of the influenza division at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“At least we can now understand the likely source of infection is poultry,” Cox said.

The experts also looked at poultry samples from farms but found nothing, said Malik Peiris, a clinical virologist at the University of Hong Kong.

Liang Wannian, the director general of the office of health emergency at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, warned that more sporadic cases will probably emerge, “before the source of infection has been completely confirmed and effectively controlled.”

There has been a “dramatic slowdown of cases” in the commercial capital of Shanghai, which has recorded most of the deaths, said Anne Kelso, the Melbourne-based director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza.

The evidence suggests that the closing of the live poultry markets was an effective way to reduce the risks of infection of the H7N9 virus
“This is very encouraging at this stage of the outbreak,” she said.

After Shanghai closed down its live poultry markets in early April, “almost immediately there was a decline in detection of new cases,” Kelso said.

“The evidence suggests that the closing of the live poultry markets was an effective way to reduce the risks of infection of the H7N9 virus,” she said.

Even so, the WHO’s China representative, Michael O’Leary, issued figures last week showing that half of the patients analysed had no known contact with poultry.

October 13 2012

 

China policy in US presidential debate - using the Chinese bashing and racial remarks to gain "white" and "union" votes....their efforts also increase hate crimes in America against Asian American including those enlisted in the military to serve our country http://hkchcc.org/Remembrances.htm 

September 19 2012



In November and December 2012, more than 4 million American businesses, including 18,000 businesses in Hawaii, will receive 2012 Economic Census forms. Responses to the questionnaire are required by law (Title 13, U.S. Code), to be returned by February 12, 2013.

Every 5 years, the Economic Census develops a comprehensive portrait of American business, from the national to the local level. Timely and accurate data are vital to effective public policy and important to your chamber and your members.

What Businesses Need to Hear…and When

Sep-Oct 2012 The Economic Census has information that benefits your business, at business.census.gov.
Nov-Dec 2012 Watch for your form - coming to most businesses in mid-December
Jan 2013 Complete your form. Your industry / community is counting on you
Feb 2013 Economic Census forms are due February 12

We’ve created a special Web page at business.census.gov http://www.census.gov/econ/census/  to tell your members about the Economic Census, and provide statistics they can use to assess and grow their business operations.

How can the Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce help? Business.census.gov/associations http://www.census.gov/econ/census/media/associations.html  suggests ways you can help us get the word to your members - in your publications, in your emails, on your website, even in your presentations. The page presents ideas and resources for your communications in each month from now through February 2013.

Learn more on October 11 at 1pm EST at a webinar designed for organizations like yours. Get the details at business.census.gov/webinar  http://www.census.gov/econ/census/media/webinar.html  You can contact the Economic Census outreach staff at 1-877-790-1876, or e-mail us at econ.2012@census.gov

Thank you for taking part in the official 5-year measure of American business. 

Learn more on October 11 at 1pm EST at our webinar designed for organizations like yours. Get the details at business.census.gov/webinar http://www.census.gov/econ/census/media/webinar.html 

August 23 2012

China has tightened visa rules for visitors, and now requires a letter of invitation and proof of hotel reservations. Travelers applying for tourist visas must submit a letter from an "authorized tourism unit," company or person inviting them to China, along with a photocopy of their round-trip ticket and hotel reservation, according to rules posted on the Chinese embassy's website in the United States. The rule changes come as authorities scrutinize the status of foreigners in the country and clamp down on people entering China illegally. The World Tourism Organization has predicted that China may become the world's biggest destination for tourists by 2015. "If the new visa rules are strictly implemented, the latest requirements could have an impact on the number of foreign tourists" and revenue among travel agencies, said Zhang Lu, a Shanghai-based analyst at Capital Securities. China International Travel Service, the country's biggest tourism company by market value, will "certainly be affected," she said. China's embassies and consulates in countries including Japan, Thailand and New Zealand also posted the new rules on their websites. The mainland overtook Spain in 2010 to become the world's third-biggest tourist draw, with 55.7 million visitors that year. It lies behind only France and the United States, according to data from the World Bank.

June 8 2012

Expressing the regret of the House of Representatives for the passage of laws that adversely affected the Chinese in the United States, including the Chinese Exclusion Act.

HRES 683 IH

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. RES. 683

Expressing the regret of the House of Representatives for the passage of laws that adversely affected the Chinese in the United States, including the Chinese Exclusion Act.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 8, 2012

Ms. CHU (for herself, Mr. SMITH of Texas, Mr. HONDA, Mr. ISSA, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. CLAY, Ms. LEE of California, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. SCHIFF, and Mr. JACKSON of Illinois) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

RESOLUTION

Expressing the regret of the House of Representatives for the passage of laws that adversely affected the Chinese in the United States, including the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Whereas many Chinese came to the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, as did people from other countries, in search of the opportunity to create a better life;

Whereas the United States ratified the Burlingame Treaty on October 19, 1868, which permitted the free movement of the Chinese people to, from, and within the United States and made China a ‘most favored nation’;

Whereas in 1878, the House of Representatives passed a resolution requesting that President Rutherford B. Hayes renegotiate the Burlingame Treaty so Congress could limit Chinese immigration to the United States;

Whereas, on February 22, 1879, the House of Representatives passed the Fifteen Passenger Bill, which only permitted 15 Chinese passengers on any ship coming to the United States;

Whereas, on March 1, 1879, President Hayes vetoed the Fifteen Passenger Bill as being incompatible with the Burlingame Treaty;

Whereas, on May 9, 1881, the United States ratified the Angell Treaty, which allowed the United States to suspend, but not prohibit, immigration of Chinese laborers, declared that ‘Chinese laborers who are now in the United States shall be allowed to go and come of their own free will,’ and reaffirmed that Chinese persons possessed ‘all the rights, privileges, immunities, and exemptions which are accorded to the citizens and subjects of the most favored nation’;

Whereas the House of Representatives passed legislation that adversely affected Chinese persons in the United States and limited their civil rights, including--

(1) on March 23, 1882, the first Chinese Exclusion bill, which excluded for 20 years skilled and unskilled Chinese laborers and expressly denied Chinese persons alone the right to be naturalized as American citizens, and which was opposed by President Chester A. Arthur as incompatible with the terms and spirit of the Angell Treaty;

(2) on April 17, 1882, intending to address President Arthur’s concerns, the House passed a new Chinese Exclusion bill, which prohibited Chinese workers from entering the United States for 10 years instead of 20, required certain Chinese laborers already legally present in the United States who later wished to reenter the United States to obtain ‘certificates of return,’ and prohibited courts from naturalizing Chinese individuals;

(3) on May 3, 1884, an expansion of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which applied it to all persons of Chinese descent, ‘whether subjects of China or any other foreign power’;

(4) on September 3, 1888, the Scott Act, which prohibited legal Chinese laborers from reentering the United States and cancelled all previously issued ‘certificates of return,’ and which was later determined by the Supreme Court to have abrogated the Angell Treaty; and

(5) on April 4, 1892, the Geary Act, which reauthorized the Chinese Exclusion Act for another ten years, denied Chinese immigrants the right to be released on bail upon application for a writ of habeas corpus, and contrary to customary legal standards regarding the presumption of innocence, authorized the deportation of Chinese persons who could not produce a certificate of residence unless they could establish residence through the testimony of ‘at least one credible white witness’;

Whereas in the 1894 Gresham-Yang Treaty, the Chinese government consented to a prohibition of Chinese immigration and the enforcement of the Geary Act in exchange for readmission to the United States of Chinese persons who were United States residents;

Whereas in 1898, the United States annexed Hawaii, took control of the Philippines, and excluded only the residents of Chinese ancestry of these territories from entering the United States mainland;

Whereas, on April 29, 1902, as the Geary Act was expiring, Congress indefinitely extended all laws regulating and restricting Chinese immigration and residence, to the extent consistent with Treaty commitments;

Whereas in 1904, after the Chinese government withdrew from the Gresham-Yang Treaty, Congress permanently extended, ‘without modification, limitation, or condition,’ the prohibition on Chinese naturalization and immigration;

Whereas these Federal statutes enshrined in law the exclusion of the Chinese from the democratic process and the promise of American freedom;

Whereas in an attempt to undermine the American-Chinese alliance during World War II, enemy forces used the Chinese exclusion legislation passed in Congress as evidence of anti-Chinese attitudes in the United States;

Whereas in 1943, in furtherance of American war objectives, at the urging of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress repealed previously enacted legislation and permitted Chinese persons to become United States citizens;

Whereas Chinese-Americans continue to play a significant role in the success of the United States; and

Whereas the United States was founded on the principle that all persons are created equal: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved,

SECTION 1. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.
That the House of Representatives regrets the passage of legislation that adversely affected people of Chinese origin in the United States because of their ethnicity.

SEC. 2. DISCLAIMER.
Nothing in this resolution may be construed or relied on to authorize or support any claim, including but not limited to constitutionally based claims, claims for monetary compensation or claims for equitable relief against the United States or any other party, or serve as a settlement of any claim against the United States.

排華道歉案通過 APAPA肯定 - 眾議院通過「排華法案道歉決議案(Resolution683)」,亞太裔公共事務聯盟(APAPA)立刻發表聲明表示,決議案的通過代表美國國會正式為19世紀末制定的一系列反華法案表示遺憾,象徵歷史性的平反。亞太裔公共事務聯盟強調,雖然道歉案只是華裔爭取平權的一小步,但對華裔後代的平權而言具有重大標竿意義。n聲明指出,19世紀末期美國國會制定了一系列歧視華人的法案,包括影響最大的「排華法案」(Chinese Exclusion Act),造成華人妻子和兒女不能移民美國、華人不能在政府機關任職、不能投票、無法在美國擁有房地產、不許與白人通婚﹑在法院作證無效等。這些法案雖然在20世紀中期廢止,但對華人的負面影響至今仍存在,甚至還可能延續到未來華人的子孫。 亞太裔公共事務聯盟說,道歉案的通過是許多華裔組織共同努力推動1882專案的結果,「APAPA 1882」專案委員會很欣喜是團隊的一份子。同時,APAPA 1882專案委員會特別要向大眾致敬與致謝,因為沒有大眾支援,法案無法順利過關。 亞太裔公共事務聯盟引述法國政治思想家托克維爾(Alexis de Tocqueville)的名言:「美國是偉大的,因為她(人民和制度)是好的;如果美國不再是好的,那美國將不再偉大。」亞太裔公共事務聯盟指出,今日所有的美國人目睹了美國的偉大,希望大家記取歷史的教訓,使美國永遠偉大。

May 15 2012 2012515日星期二



美國國稅局
(IRS) 海外追稅,銀行躲美國富人

近年美國國稅局
(IRS)嚴查海外帳戶,並多次呼籲納稅人自首申報,日前已傳臉書(Facebook)共同創辦人沙弗林(Eduardo Saverin)為避稅放棄美國公民身分,而即將於明年1月上路的美國「海外帳戶稅務法」 (Foreign Account Tax Compliance ActFATCA,通稱「肥咖條款」) 已使許多國際大銀行為避免麻煩,索性不做美國百萬富豪的生意。

華盛頓郵報
12日以幾近全版的篇幅,摘錄即將在6月份出版的「彭博市場」雜誌的專文,以「外國銀行拒美國百萬富豪於門外」為題,探討「肥咖條款」對美國公民海外投資造成的不便。專文指出,目前已知包括匯豐銀行(HSBC)、德意志銀行(Deutsche Bank)、新加坡銀行(Bank of Singapore)與星展集團(DBS Group)等,都宣稱已避開部分相關業務。

連續兩年被「彭博市場」雜誌評為全球表現最佳的新加坡銀行,亦為避免配合繁瑣法規,拒絕服務美國百萬富翁。執行長古茲曼
(Renato de Guzman)表示,「亞洲業務量已經夠多,我們不需要額外麻煩」。他透露,目前新加坡銀行業者普遍有一共識,即「拒絕美國公民客戶」。星展銀行財富管理部主管陳淑珊(Su Shan Tan)也說,肥咖條款實在太嚴苛,「我們已不作美國公民業務」。

日內瓦
American Citizens Abroad 執行總監 Marylouise Serrato 指出,肥咖條款將限制海外美國公民的投資途徑,「不論是申請開支票帳戶、投資帳戶、申貸或購買保險,都可能被拒,已持有的帳戶也面臨隨時被關命運」。她警告,若居住地點不屬美國銀行業服務範圍,美國公民甚至面臨無處理財的困境,「這將間接傷害在海外營運的美國企業」。

在肥咖條款推出之前,居住曼谷或馬尼拉的美國公民可透過匯豐銀行進行投資交易,但如今他們必須飛往其他都市,才能享有以往的服務。儘管非美國金融機構如匯豐銀行仍提供服務,但美國公民的投資選項相對受限,譬如香港匯豐的美國公民客戶僅享有存款服務,但不能開立投資帳戶買賣當地股票,亦不得購買投資於中國市場的
45檔股票基金等各項金融商品。

華郵指出,為規避新法,放棄美國公民身分是另一選項,而選擇放棄的人數正逐年增加。依美國國稅局報告,去年共有
1780人放棄美國護照,相較於2008年只有235人放棄。

2009年美國政府透過法律途徑,迫使瑞銀交出逃漏稅的客戶名單,並繳交78000萬元罰金。隨後麻州國會眾議員尼爾 (Richard E. Neal) 為敦促銀行透明化而提出肥咖條款,要求所有海外金融機構,提供美國公民開設海外帳戶的收入與利息所得資訊給美國政府。這意味銀行不僅會因此增加額外成本,提供海外美國客戶的投資選擇與財務顧問也會減少。

2008年瑞銀即宣稱將終止美國客戶的海外帳戶服務,將轉由該行美國財富管理部門與瑞士財務顧問 (Swiss Financial Advisers) 部門持續提供。瑞銀發言人Serge Steiner表示,這兩個部門同時遵守美國與瑞士法規。目前除證券投資業務外,瑞銀仍針對美國人提供消費與商業貸款、外匯交易,與貴金屬交易等服務。

事實上,這些全球財富管理機構也沒有那麼在意美國有錢人,開始把目光移向亞洲富豪。據波士頓顧問公司
(Boston Consulting Group) 統計,新加坡已成為亞洲財富管理中心,2010年總計管理海外資產額達5120億元。華郵引述美國銀行與凱捷公司 (Capgemini) 去年一項報告,2010年亞洲百萬富翁人數增到330萬人,成長幅度達9.7%,高於北美的8.6%,亞洲百萬富翁的總資產額也已增加到將近11兆元,首度超越歐洲。

據資誠
9月調查顯示,相較於瑞士銀行業者普遍享有30%利潤空間,許多位於香港與新加坡的私有銀行,營運成本約佔營業總額的88%90%Brevetta 指出,對銀行、資產管理與保險公司等金融機構而言,配合肥咖條款的成本恐高達數十億元,以各銀行目前營運模式,拒收美國公民客戶可能為最佳自保方法。

世界新聞網財經新聞組綜合
14日電

(following translate using Google Translate)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

IRS tax collection overseas, banks avoid rich American 

In recent years, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) thorough investigation of offshore accounts, and repeatedly called for the taxpayer surrendered to declare, Facebook (Facebook) has been passed to the co-founder of Sha Fulin (Eduardo Saverin) to give up his U.S. citizenship for tax avoidance, which is soon to the road in January next year offshore accounts tax law "(Foreign Account Tax the Compliance Act, FATCA, commonly known as" fat coffee Terms ") has led to many major international banks wanting to avoid headarche, simply do not do the business with U.S. millionaires.

A full-length article on the May 12th Washington Post, Bloomberg Markets magazine articles in the excerpt to be published in June, "the foreign banks STOPPED American millionaires at the door, "the title of fat coffee Terms inconvenience caused to U.S. citizens overseas investment. Specifically pointed out that the currently International banks such as HSBC Bank (HSBC), Deutsche Bank (Deutsche Bank), Singapore banks (Bank of Singapore) and DBS (DBS Group) no longer want to do business with Wealthy Americans.

For two consecutive years, "Bloomberg Markets magazine rated the world's best performing of Banks in Singapore, and also to avoid with the red tape and regulations, a denial of service American millionaire. Guzman (Renato de Guzman,), Chief Executive Officer, said, "Asia's business volume has more than enough we do not need the extra trouble from Washington DC. He disclosed that the Singapore banking industry generally there is a consensus that "do NOT want U.S. citizen customers". DBS Bank Wealth Management Head of Chen Shushan (Su Shan Tan), the terms of the fat coffee is too harsh, "We do NOT want U.S. citizens business.

Marylouise Serrato, Geneva American of Citizens Abroad, Executive Director, the terms of the fat coffee will be limited to U.S. citizens abroad investment options, "whether it is applying to open a checking account, investment accounts, apply for loan or purchase insurance, American may be rejected, the account held facing at any time was destiny ". Place of residence is not a U.S. banking industry and the scope of services, she warned U.S. citizens even in the face of nowhere fiscal predicament, "This will indirectly harm U.S. companies operating overseas.

Before the introduction of the terms of the fat coffee, a U.S. citizen living in Bangkok or Manila through HSBC investment transactions, but now they have to fly to other cities in order to enjoy the previous service. Although non U.S. financial institutions still provide services such as HSBC, but the U.S. citizen's investment options are relatively limited, such as HSBC's U.S. citizen customers enjoy only deposit services, but can not open an investment account with the trading of local shares, nor shall the purchase of investment in 45 stock funds and other financial products in the Chinese market.

The Washington Post pointed out that, to circumvent the new law, to give up U.S. citizenship is another option, choose to give up the number is increasing year by year. According to the IRS report last year, a total of 1,780 people give up his U.S. passport, compared to 2008, only 235 people to give up.

2009 the U.S. government through the legal means to force UBS to pay fled evasion list of clients, and to pay a fine of 700 million to 80 million dollars. Followed by Massachusetts Congressman Neil (Richard E. Neal) to urge the Bank of transparency made the terms of the fat coffee requires all overseas financial institutions, provide the information of U.S. citizens to set up offshore accounts of income and interest income to the U.S. Government. This means that banks will not only add additional costs to provide investment options and financial advisers of overseas customers will be reduced.

In 2008, UBS announced that it will terminate the services of offshore accounts of U.S. clients, will be transferred to the department continues to provide the lines of the U.S. wealth management division, with the Swiss financial adviser (Swiss Financial Advisers,). UBS spokesman Serge Steiner said that the two departments to comply with the regulations of the United States and Switzerland. In addition to the securities investment business, UBS still for Americans to provide consumer and commercial loans, foreign exchange trading, and precious metals trading and other services.

In fact, these global wealth management institution did not care much about the American rich, began to look toward Asia. According to the statistics of the Boston Consulting (Boston Consulting Group), Singapore has become a wealth management center in Asia, 2010 Total management of the overseas assets amounted to 512 billion dollars. The Washington Post quoted Bank of America and Capgemini (Capgemini,) a report last year, the number of millionaires in Asia in 2010 increased to 330 million, a growth of 9.7%, 8.6% higher than in North America, the total assets of millionaires in Asia has increased to nearly 11 trillion for the first time beyond Europe.

According to the PwC survey shows that in September, compared to the Swiss banking industry generally enjoy a 30% profit margins, many private banks in Hong Kong and Singapore, operating costs about 88-90% of the total turnover. Brevetta banking, asset management and insurance companies, financial institutions, with the terms of the fat coffee costs up to a fear of billions of dollars in the current mode of operation of the banks, rejected U.S. citizen customers the best self-protection methods.

World News Network News Group

June 09, 2010

The U.S. Department of State announces changes to the U.S. nonimmigrant visa application fee

Non-diplomatic and non-official visas issued by United States consular officers abroad require a visa application fee which covers the costs associated with manufacturing, processing, and printing visas.

Effective June 4, 2010, the current U.S. nonimmigrant visa (NIV) application fee of US$131 will increase. All applicants applying for NIVs in China must pay the non-refundable application fee at designated branches of China CITIC Bank. Both copies of the CITIC Bank fee receipt must be included with your visa application. The application fee is non-refundable regardless of whether your visa is issued. Applicants who have paid the application fee but fail to submit applications within one year will not have their application fee refunded.

As of June 4, 2010, nonimmigrant visa application fees will change to the following:

NIV application processing fees will increase on June 4, 2010 and will be tiered as shown below. There will no longer be one single visa application fee for all nonimmigrant categories.

Description and amounts:

Non-petition-based visas, such as the B1/B2 (tourism, business), F1 (student) or J1 (exchange visitor) are now US$140 (RMB 966)
Petition-based visas, such as the H (work), L (intra-company transferee), O (extraordinary ability), P (performer), Q (cultural exchange), or R (religious worker) are now US$150 (RMB 1035)
K (fiancé/fiancée visas) are now US$350 (RMB 2415)
Important note: The correct fee receipt for the full and appropriate amount for the visa type being applied for must be presented on the day of application. Beginning on June 4, applicants who have already purchased fee receipts for the previous fee amount (US$131) must provide a receipt from CITIC Bank for the difference between the old and new fees to show that the full amount is paid. As of Monday, May 31, new fee receipts for the full amount or, if applicable, for the difference between new and old amounts, can be purchased at any CITIC Bank branch. Your application cannot be processed without the correct fee receipt.

For complete information regarding the new fee schedule, please visit: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_1341.html

美国驻外领事部门签发的非外交和非公务签证要求申请人交纳申请费以涵盖制作、审理和印刷签证的成本。
目前的非移民签证申请费用
131美元将于64日上调。所有申请人必须在指定的中信银行交纳签证申请费。此费用不予退款。中信银行开具的两联收据须和其它申请材料一起递交。提请注意:无论签证是否颁发,签证申请费用都不予退款。已经交纳了申请费用,但在一年之内没有递交申请的人也不能办理退款。

201064日起,非移民签证费将上调:

非移民签证申请费将于
201064日起呈阶梯式上调(一费适用于所有类型的非移民签证种类不复存在了)。其详情如下:

种类及费用:

无须从美国开始申请的签证种类,如
B1/B2(旅游、商务),F1(学生)或J1(交流访问人员): 140美元 (人民币966元);
须从美国首先申请的签证如
H(工作)、L(公司内调遣)、O(特殊才能)、P(演艺人员)、Q(文化交流)及R(宗教工作者): 150美元 (人民币1035元);
K(配偶签证): 350美元 (人民币2415元)。
重要提示:申请人必须在申请签证当天呈交支付了所申请签证类型要求的正确的、足额的费用收据。从
64日起,已购买了原来131美元费用收据的申请人必须提供中信银行开具的差额补交收据,以示付清了全额费用。截至月31日,中信银行可开具新费及新旧费用差额收据。没有提供正确数额费用收据的的申请,我们无法审理。

如了解完整的有关新费用的信息,请登陆网站:
http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_1341.html

January 22 2010

Hawaii Unemployment Insurance Tax 2010

Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc) is working collaborative with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii through the legislative process to lessen the impact of the substantial increase of the unemployment tax.

Critical hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, January 26 2010 9:00am http://www.hkhcc.org/hawaiiunemploymentinsurancetax2010.htm

January 3 2010

US toughens air travel screening rules

Air travelers from Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and nine other countries will face full-body pat downs before boarding airliners under new security screening procedures targeting foreign passengers announced by the United States on Sunday.

The procedures, which go into effect on Monday, follow the botched Christmas Day bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound US airliner blamed on a Nigerian man who US officials believe was trained by al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Passengers traveling from or through nations listed as “state sponsors of terrorism” – Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria – as well as Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen will face heightened screening, an Obama administration official said.

Nearly all of those are Muslim countries.

Such passengers will be patted down, have their carry-on luggage searched and could undergo advanced explosive detection or imaging scans, according to the official, who spoke on condition on anonymity.

The Transportation Security Administration, the US agency responsible for air security measures, announced the “enhanced screening” procedures, adding that any passengers on US-bound flights could be subjected to random security searches.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, was arrested by US authorities after being accused of carrying a bomb sewn into his underwear onto a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25. He got through security screening in Amsterdam, and was subdued by passengers and crew after trying to blow up the plane.

US President Barack Obama said on Friday it appeared Abdulmutallab was a member of al-Qaeda and had been trained and equipped by the Islamic militant network in Yemen.

The announcement of the new security steps comes amid rising criticism by US Republicans and others that American diplomatic and intelligence officials failed to prevent the Dec. 25 incident despite having evidence about Abdulmutallab.

US intelligence officials have said they believe that al-Qaeda leaders are hiding out in Pakistan after being chased from Afghanistan during the war that began in 2001 in the weeks after the group’s Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. Most of the men who carried out the September 11 hijackings of US airliners were Saudi-born.

Yemen also is emerging as a major area of al-Qaeda activity, according to security experts.

The new rules apply to anyone with a passport from any of the 14 countries, and anyone stopping in those countries, the administration official said.

The Transportation Security Administration said it issued security directives to all US and international airlines with inbound flights to the United States that would include random screening of passengers. This random screening policy applies to any airport in the world for flights coming to the United States, the official said.

“Because effective aviation security must begin beyond our borders, and as a result of extraordinary cooperation from our global aviation partners, TSA is mandating that every individual flying into the US from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening,” the agency said in the statement.

“The directive also increases the use of enhanced screening technologies and mandates threat-based and random screening for passengers on US-bound international flights,” it added.

All passengers are screened electronically for weapons and bombs regardless, and the new rules that include random enhancements appear more agreeable to airlines, which chaffed at broad requirements imposed after the December 25 incident.

Carriers complained about widespread delays and other passenger inconveniences, especially in Canada and Europe.

However, airlines will not be able to assess the full impact of the new regime on their operations for a few days.

Last week, airlines told Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that the system could not manage efficiently under a 100 per cent pat-down mandate over the long term. Any changes to that routine would be welcome.

“Our goal remains to improve security and reduce the hassle factor for passengers,” the International Air Transport Association, the lead trade group for international airlines, said in a statement.

There were 25 million visitors to the United States in 2008 from Europe and Asia, according to IATA figures.

Carriers with transatlantic and transpacific flying include Delta Air Lines; Continental Airlines; American Airlines, a unit of AMR Corporation; United Airlines, a unit of UAL; British Airways; Air France/KLM; Germany’s Lufthansa; and Japan Airlines.

September 21 2009

IRS extends amnesty program for tax cheats

The IRS is extending the Wednesday deadline for international tax dodgers to apply for an amnesty program in order to give a rush of applicants more time to prepare their paperwork.

More than 3,000 Americans hiding assets overseas have applied for the program, which promises no jail time and reduced penalties for tax cheats who come forward, said a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Internal Revenue Service plans to announce later on Monday that the program will be extended until October 15, said the official, who was not authorized to speak on the record ahead of the public announcement.

The IRS long has had a policy that certain tax evaders who come forward before they are contacted by the agency usually can avoid jail time as long as they agree to pay back taxes, interest and hefty penalties. Drug dealers and money launderers need not apply. But if the money was earned legally, tax evaders can usually avoid criminal prosecution.

Fewer than 100 people apply for the program in a typical year, in part because the penalties can far exceed the value of the hidden account, depending on how long the account holder has evaded US taxes.

But in March, the IRS began a six-month amnesty program that sweetened the offer with reduced penalties for people with undeclared assets.

As the initial deadline approached, the IRS was contacted by tax advisers from across the country requesting more time to prepare applications from a rush of tax cheats looking to come clean, the government official said.

The amnesty program is part of a larger effort by federal authorities to crack down on international tax evaders. In August, the US and Switzerland resolved a court case in which Swiss banking giant UBS AG agreed to turn over details on 4,450 accounts suspected of holding undeclared assets from American customers.

The process of turning over that information is expected to take several months. But once the IRS obtains information about international tax dodgers, they will be ineligible for the amnesty program.

Publicity from the UBS case, even before the agreement was announced, had many wealthy Americans with offshore accounts nervously running to their tax advisers.

Lawyers and advisers from several firms have said they were swamped with calls from people hiding assets overseas. Their advice: Call the IRS before the IRS calls you.

On the Net: www.IRS.gov 

September 17 2009

DO NOT BREAK US TAX LAW - IRS Enforces Foreign Bank Account Reporting

Ms. Chinchie Killfoil, US, Internal Revenue Service Tax Attaché, US Embassy, Beijing, China, addressing the requirements and penalties of the Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) and the IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program.

* If you own or have authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, unit trust, or other types of financial accounts, then you may be required to report the account yearly to the Internal Revenue Service.
* Account holders who do not comply with the FBAR reporting requirements may be subject to civil penalties, criminal penalties, or both.

The IRS is cracking down on the filing of the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.

TR-90-22.1, can be downloaded here:

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f90221.pdf

Please make sure you are in compliance to avoid prosecution.
Filing deadline is SEPTEMBER 23, 2009.

June 11,  2009

Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response

Daily virtual press briefings - Audio files and transcripts from the briefings

Watch World Health Organization June 12 2009 Video Online

The WHO chief declared here Thursday that the organization has decided to move its A/H1N1 flu alert level to phase six and the widely spreading flu has developed into a full pandemic. Margaret Chan told a news conference that the full pandemic in 41 years was assessed as a "moderate" one. "On the basis of available evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic has been met. I have therefore decided to raise the level of pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6, the world is now at the start of the pandemic," she said. The WHO do not suggest closing borders and urge countries do not pose restrictions on movement of people, goods and services, she said. The chief said that more flu deaths are expected, but no sudden jump in the death toll. She also urged to stop production of seasonal flu vaccine and turn to A/H1N1 flu vaccine production. The decision was made following consultations with world experts through a teleconference. A WHO statement has been sent to the WHO's members. The declaration is expected amid concerns that the A/H1N1 flu virus, which originated from Mexico two months ago, has widely spread to Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The WHO has raised the alert level to five at the end of April, the penultimate level in its six grades, indicating a pandemic was "imminent." And many experts have been expecting the upgrade of the flu due to its fast-spreading nature. However, experts explained that the highest level by no means indicates the greatest severity of the disease, but simply indicates the geographical spread of this flu. This is the first global flu epidemic in 41 years. As of Wednesday, 74 countries have officially reported 27,737 A/H1N1 infection cases to the WHO, including 141 deaths.

December 11, 2008

Alert for Avian Influenza

On December 9, the Hong Kong government elevated the alert for Avian Influenza (AI) to "serious", after discovering the H5 virus in live chickens at a chicken farm in Yeun Long, New Territories, Hong Kong. In light of the elevated alert status, we would like all Americans traveling or living in Hong Kong to be aware of the latest information on AI. The Hong Kong Government maintains up-to-date information on AI on their website: http://www.info.gov.hk/info/flu/eng/index.htm

For further information about Avian Influenza, please consult the United States Centers for Disease Control Website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/ or the U.S. State Department fact sheet at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/flu/flu_1181.html

U.S. Consulate General
Hong Kong

July 25 2007

Hong Kong Enterprises Must Register Before 23 October to Safeguard Processing Trade Business

On 23 July, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and General Administration of Customs promulgated Announcement No.44 on the issuance of the Catalogue of Products under the Restricted Category in Processing Trade. Under Article 5 of the Announcement, for enterprises in the eastern region which have not been granted foreign trade rights before 23 July, their application for engagement in the processing trade of products under the restricted category will not be entertained. However, for enterprises in the eastern region which have undertaken processing activities before without foreign trade rights, if they register with the local commerce department before 23 July 2007 and convert into enterprises with foreign trade rights within the specified time frame, they will not be subject to Article 5. Also, enterprises which have changed their names due to corporate restructuring but whose equity and legal representatives have not changed will not be subject to the article. Hong Kong companies engaging in processing with supplied materials and intending to convert into foreign-invested enterprises and continue to engage in the export of products under the restricted category in processing trade should register with the local commerce department before 23 October to declare their status as old enterprises in order to retain their qualification for engaging in the processing trade of products under the restricted category.

According to MOFCOM, in the calculation of the payable customs duty deposit for products under the restricted category, the so called ¡§integrated tax rate¡¨ is calculated on the basis of combining the import tariff and import-related value-added tax rates. The current rate is 22%, and Customs can adjust the rate in the future in accordance with the actual situation.

For interpretation of the catalogue by MOFCOM in Chinese, please visit: http://www.mofcom.gov.cn/aarticle/ae/ai/200707/20070704919873.html

For details of the above catalogue and its implementation in Chinese, please visit: http://www.mofcom.gov.cn/aarticle/b/c/200707/20070704918873.html

November 13, 2005

Below is a warden message issued on November 13, 2005 by the American Consulate General in Hong Kong for your information:

The United States Government has received credible information that a terrorist threat may exist against official U.S. Government facilities in Guangzhou. This threat also may exist for places where Americans are known to congregate or visit, including clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools or outdoor recreation events.

American citizens in south China are advised to be aware of their surroundings and remain alert to possible threats. Americans living or traveling in China are encouraged to register with the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou through the State Department's travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov/. By registering,
American citizens make it easier for the Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

U.S. citizens planning to travel to China should consult the Department of State's country-specific Public Announcements, Travel Warnings,Consular Information Sheets http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1765.html, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_1161.html and other information, available at http://travel.state.gov/  Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. and for callers outside the U.S. and Canada a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

U.S. CONSULATE GENERAL HONG KONG
26 GARDEN ROAD, CENTRAL, HONG KONG

October 7, 2005

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

Earlier this year, I wrote about a plan by the US Department of State called the "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative," which is designed to enhance border security. It will require people traveling between the United States and the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada to have a passport to enter or re-enter the United States. Citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda will be affected.

Under the original plan, the new passport requirements would have been phased in beginning on December 31, 2005. But after the timeline was announced, several groups lobbied to have the timeline or the requirements changed. Upon further review, the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security have acknowledged that implementing the plan as originally proposed would be problematic for travelers during the upcoming winter tourism season. Therefore, the timeline for implementation has been revised as shown below:

Beginning December 31, 2006, a passport will be required for all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.

Beginning December 31, 2007, the passport requirement will be extended to include all land border crossings to or from the above-mentioned destinations.

Currently, passports are recommended but not required for travel to and from Canada, Mexico, Panama, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Always check with your Vacations To Go cruise counselor at the time of booking to verify documentation that will be required.

It's possible that international frequent travelers holding Sentri, Nexus or Fast Cards, or Border Crossing Cards, may not need passports for land border crossings, but no final decision has been made.

You can learn more about the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative on the US Department of State's Web site. For answers to frequently asked questions, click here. For information about obtaining or renewing a passport as a US citizen, click here. For information about obtaining or renewing a passport as a Canadian citizen, click here to visit Passport Canada.

August 17, 2005

American Citizens Services

Appointment System for All American Citizens Services Effective August 8, 2005

Effective August 8, 2005, appointments will be required for all services provided by the American Citizens Services Unit at the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong (including passport applications, adding additional passport pages, birth registration, notarials, and general inquiries). Services related to federal benefits and genuine emergencies do not require appointments. This new system will reduce waiting time for our customers. To avoid common impediments to quicker processing (including incorrect photographs, letters of consent from parents that are not notarized and insufficient documents), please first check the requirements of the relevant service at http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/consular/acs.htm.

Then, please make an appointment at http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/consular/acs/appointment.htm. Appointments are available from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., and from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, except for Wednesday afternoons and U.S. and local holidays.

美國公民服務部由二零零五年八月八日開始網上預約

由二零零五年八月八日開始,所有美國公民服務部的服務都需要網上預約(包括申請護照、護照加頁、為其新生子女申請成為美籍、公證文件及一般查詢),長俸部事宜及緊急事宜除外。新措施可減少申請人的輪候時間。為免不必要的延誤(如不合規格的照片、沒有公證的父或母的護照申請同意書及不齊備的文件),請先瀏覽美國領事館的網址:http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/consular/acs.htm 及預備所需文件。

預約時間為早上八時三十分至十一時三十分及下午一時三十分至三時三十分,逢星期三下午和本地及美國假期除外。預約網址為http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/consular/acs/appointment.htm

January 13, 2004

Please briefly review the following announcements concerning travel and visas. These messages are not related to each other and have been compiled and forwarded for your reference and convenience:

1. New Entry Procedures for Foreign Visitors with Non-Immigrant Visas
2. Visa Referral Program Chinese New Year Vacation Notice
3. Public Announcement: Worldwide Caution

1. New Entry Procedures for Foreign Visitors with Non-Immigrant Visas
WASHINGTON, DC, JANUARY 5, 2004 - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today launched US-VISIT, a new program to enhance the nation's security while facilitating legitimate travel and trade through our borders. New entry procedures took effect today for most foreign visitors with non-immigrant visas at 115 airports and cruise ship terminals at 14 seaports. The system utilizes biometrics, which are physical characteristics unique to each individual, to verify identity. Biometric technologies are the basis of an extensive array of highly secure identification and personal verification solutions.

US-VISIT requires that most foreign visitors traveling to the U.S. on a visa have their two index fingers scanned and a digital photograph taken to verify their identity at the port of entry. The US-VISIT program will enhance the security of U.S. citizens and visitors by verifying the identity of visitors with visas. At the same time, it facilitates legitimate travel and trade by leveraging technology and the evolving use of biometrics to expedite processing at our borders.

For more information on this system and how it works please click here: http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/editorial/editorial_0333.xml 

2. AmCham Visa Referral Program Information Notice
(only affects those currently in the AmCham Visa Referral Program)
Greetings from the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai. Due to Chinese New Year, the Consulate will not be accepting visa applications (or couriers) next Tuesday, January 20. Please note that the normal Tuesday drop-off will resume the following week.

If you have questions, you can direct them to Bob DeWitt. Our phone number is 3217-4650 and our fax number is 6217-2072. Thank you very much for your time and attention, and we are sorry for any inconvenience.

3. Public Announcement: Worldwide Caution
This supersedes the Worldwide Caution dated December 21, 2003. It is being issued to remind U.S. citizens of the continuing threat that they may be targets of terrorist attacks even though the homeland security threat level has returned to Yellow (Elevated) from Orange (High). This Worldwide Caution expires on July 9, 2004.

The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the security of U.S. citizens overseas. U.S. citizens are cautioned to maintain a high level of vigilance, to remain alert and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. We are seeing increasing indications that Al-Qaida is preparing to strike U.S. interests abroad. Al-Qaida and its associated organizations have struck in the Middle East in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and in Europe in Istanbul, Turkey. We therefore assess that other geographic locations could be venues for the next round of attacks.

We expect Al-Qaida will strive for new attacks designed to be more devastating than the September 11 attack, possibly involving nonconventional weapons such as chemical or biological agents. We also cannot rule out that Al-Qaida will attempt a second catastrophic attack within the U.S. Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, hijackings, bombings or kidnappings. These may also involve commercial aircraft and maritime interests, and threats to include conventional weapons, such as explosive devices.

Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. These may include facilities where U.S. citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit, including residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation events or resorts and beaches. U.S. citizens should remain in a heightened state of personal security awareness when attendance at such locations is unavoidable.

U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. Americans abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its consular information program documents, available on the internet at http://travel.state.gov.  In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328

December 11, 2003

FDA Bioterrorism Rules About to Take Effect on December 12, 2003 - Go to our "Trade Issues" Page for Detail

May 12, 2003

Eliminating the USD80,000 exclusion on foreign earned income and housing expenses!

As many of you have heard by now, the US Senate Finance Committee recently approved a tax bill which includes a provision eliminating the USD80,000 exclusion on foreign earned income and housing expenses.  If this bill becomes law, it may result in a significant increase in your personal tax liability for some of us currently working or planning to work overseas. 
 
It is urgent that you make your objection to this action heard now, as the full Senate will begin discussing the bill this week. We therefore encourage you to write to your Senators and your Congressperson immediately on this important issue.  We include House members because, should the full Senate approve the bill as written, it will be considered by a joint House/Senate committee.
 
Please contact your Senators
www.senate.gov and Congressperson www.house.gov to voice your objection.
 
FAX numbers should be available from the Member's website.  Please do not "MAIL"--since the anthrax scare,  mail can take weeks to be delivered. EMAIL  is possible for most offices only if you provide a local (U.S.) address  and zip code.

May 8, 2003

We have been asked by the Hawaii Department of Health to notify our affiliated Chambers about this important information about "suspicious power". 

A local chamber of commerce in Kentucky received a letter from Brazil containing a suspicious powder. A quick web search turned up the fact that these letters are being received at chambers in many states this week.  

It appears that several chambers of commerce in cities across the country are receiving letters from Brazil containing threatening language and suspicious powders. None of the powders have tested positive for any dangerous substance. Some of the hoax letters reference a virus called ZAMPRINA; the Kentucky Commissioner of Public Health has confirmed with the  CDC's virologists that this is not a known virus. 

If you receive suspicious mail postmarked from Brazil, and do not know the sender, do not open it. Contact your emergency building contact or local law enforcement authorities. To review suspicious mail protocols, visit the Kentucky Emergency Management protocol that was developed during the Anthrax attacks and hoaxes of 2001 here:

http://kyem.dma.state.ky.us/newsroom/suspiciousmail.html 

Here are two short news clips from other areas of the country, to give you a fuller picture of the types of letters that have been received. 

From Chicago news, May 6, 2003:

Suspicious powder in Kenosha - The Kenosha municipal building will be closed today as authorities continue to investigate the nature of a green powder substance contained in a letter that arrived at the building Monday, according to broadcast reports. The substance of the mysterious letter is not anthrax, a test conducted by the Milwaukee Health Department determined, WLS-Channel

7 reported. But tests will continue to determine if the powder could be of a dangerous chemical or radiological in nature, Channel 7 said. Six people from the fire station inside the municipal building were transported to a local hospital for observation. Another letter of a similar nature arrived at the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce, and four people were decontaminated and hospitalized for observation. 

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 6, 2003:

CLEVELAND - Contents not hazardous

The FBI said yesterday that brown particles inside a letter mailed to the Greater Cleveland Growth Association were not hazardous. The letter, which threatened Americans with a virus, was postmarked in Brazil, FBI spokesman Robert Hawk said. The Ohio Department of Health tested the substance, which had the consistency of breadcrumbs, but found nothing harmful. Chambers of commerce or city halls in three other cities - Redwing, Minn.; Albany, Ore.; and Uniontown - received similar letters, and authorities are investigating. Hawk said the note indicated disgust with the United States' attacks on Iraq. 

Gwenda Bond, Office of Communications, Cabinet for Health Services, (502)564-6786

April 9, 2003

Go to Our Resource Center Page for Complete News Updates on SARS

March 20, 2003

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT - WORLDWIDE CAUTION
 
 
This Public Announcement is being updated to alert Americans to an increased potential for anti-American violence, including terrorist actions against U.S. citizens, as a result of the military action in Iraq.  The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the security of Americans overseas.  American citizens are  reminded that it is more important than ever to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.  This Worldwide Caution supersedes that issued on February 6, 2003 and  expires on July 20, 2003.
 
As a result of military action in Iraq, there is a potential for retaliatory actions to be taken against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world.  Public demonstrations carry the potential for precipitating violence directed at American citizens, symbols associated with the United States or other U.S. and  western interests.
 
The threat to U.S. citizens includes the risk of attacks by terrorist groups.  Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, bombings or kidnappings.  Possible threats include conventional weapons such as explosive devices or non-conventional weapons, including chemical or biological agents. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets.  These may include facilities where Americans and other foreigners congregate or visit, such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation events or resorts and beaches.  U.S. citizens should increase their security awareness at such locations, avoid them, or switch to other locations where Americans in large numbers generally do not congregate.
 
U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert and some have drawn down their dependents and/or personnel.  These facilities may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time for security reasons.  In those instances, U.S. embassies and  consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to American citizens.  Monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest American embassy or consulate.
 
As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to Americans overseas, it 
shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, available on the Internet at
http://travel.state.gov.  In addition toinformation on the Internet, U.S. travelers can get up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. and outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 317-472-2328.
 
AMERICAN CONSULATE GENERAL HONG KONG
26 GARDEN ROAD, CENTRAL, HONG KONG
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Wardens Message from the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong
 
March 20, 2003
 
Armed conflict with Iraq began on March 20, 2003.
 
The Department of State advises American citizens to take prudent steps to ensure their personal safety in the coming days.  Remain vigilantly aware of surroundings, avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile, vary times and routes for all travel, and ensure travel documents are current.  Listen to news reports and check the U.S. Consulate General website, www.hongkong.usconsulate.gov,  for updated information.
 
U.S. citizens and interests worldwide are at risk of terrorist attacks, including by groups with links to Al-Qaida.  U.S. Government facilities are on a heightened state of alert.  The Consulate General in Hong Kong may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time for security reasons.  In that event, we will make every effort to continue to provide emergency services to American citizens and will provide contact information by a warden message and on our website.  Monitor the local news as well as the Department of State website,
http://travel.state.gov, for information concerning safety and security of American citizens overseas.  The Department of Homeland Security websites, www.dhs.gov and www.ready.gov, may also provide useful information.
 
American citizens with questions or concerns may telephone the Consulate General at (852) 2523-9011.  In case of an emergency outside business hours or during any suspension of public services, American citizens may reach the Consulate General duty officer by calling (852) 2523-9011.  American citizens may also contact the Department of State, if calling from outside the United States at 317-472-2328, or, from within the U.S., toll free at 1-888-407-4747.
 
American citizens in Hong Kong and Macau who have not yet registered with the Consulate General are urged to do so as soon as possible.  You may register in person by coming to the American Citizen Services Unit, Consular Section, at the Consulate General, 26 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong, during the Consulate's regular work hours or register on-line through the consulate General website at www.hongkong.usconsulate.gov.  American citizens already registered with the Consulate General are urged to update their registration information.
 
U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State's consular information documents, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement located on the Department's Internet website at
http://travel.state.gov.

AMERICAN CONSULATE GENERAL HONG KONG
26 GARDEN ROAD, CENTRAL, HONG KONG


 

March 17, 2003

This is one of an occasional series of messages from the U.S. Consulate's American Citizen Services unit to American Citizens registered with the U.S.Consulate in Shanghai. The attached notice regarding personal security precautions has been provided to U.S. Consulate staff and is being forwarded for your information and consideration. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General throughout China are also taking similar precautions. The Consulate will continue to advise U.S. citizens in China of important issues related to security as necessitated by international and local developments.

Text of Message to Employees

As the United States draws nearer to a possible conflict in Iraq, members of the Emergency Action Committee recently met to discuss ways to improve our security posture. This memorandum is designed to inform you of the steps that would be taken in the event of hostilities. It also contains advice each member of the Mission should follow to help keep us all safe.
 
Activate Warden Systems.
In the event of hostilities, the Embassy will notify all Americans through the country-wide warden email communications system.

Vary Daily Routines/flexible Work Schedule.
To reduce our vulnerability and to avoid setting easily recognizable patterns, the Embassy will implement a flexible work schedule. The times and routes of the Embassy shuttle service will vary from day to day. All Americans should review their personal schedules for discernable patterns.

Limit School Attendance.
In the event of hostilities, several of the larger international schools plan to close on the first school day immediately following commencement of military action in Iraq. Should hostilities begin, the Mission recommends that our children remain home on the first school day following the start of military action. While schools are not traditionally under threat, the Embassy has requested that host government security work in tandem with the international schools to ensure adequate security is in place for their facilities and bus transportation.

Large representational or social functions.
As noted in previous Department of State issued Worldwide Cautions, families should review their social and business schedules and avoid public areas where foreigners or Americans are generally known to congregate.

Communication.
Smooth implementation of any plan requires that everyone be briefed in advance regarding the precautions to be taken. Each employee should discuss these precautions with his/her family members. Section heads and agency heads need to ensure that contact information is kept current. Employees in travel status may need to be located and accounted for; make sure you have accurate contact information. All employees (American and Chinese) who have been issued cellular telephones should carry them at all times when outside of their residences or homes. Employees should consider leaving their cellular telephones on at night. We also recommend that employees keep a copy of the internal Cascade warden tree next to their home telephone and ensure that they are familiar with the warden tree's notification procedures. Please note that it is Embassy policy that supervisors are responsible for ensuring that a system is in place to notify all their employees (American and non-American) about decisions that impact on their safety and security.

American Citizen Services
U. S. Consulate General
Shanghai, China 200031
ADD: 1469 Huai Hai Zhong Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 86-21-64336880
Fax: 86-21-64711148

(Source & Credit: American Chamber of Commerce-Shanghai)

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