The political tug-of-war between Washington and Beijing has escalated after the U.S. State Department on Saturday, July, issued a warning to U.S. citizens in China about the risk they face of arbitrary arrest, while the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) issued sanctions against two top U.S. government officials.

The CCP’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Hua Chunying recently said that sanctions against Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would apply as of July 13, although no details were known about what the move would entail, The Guardian reported.

The escalation in tensions between the two is being presented by a variety of issues involving the U.S. accusation of the CCP’s mishandling of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus pandemic, the controversial security law imposed on Hong Kong, and repeated allegations of human rights violations against the CCP.

In addition, Newsweek reported that the State Department issued a warning over the weekend that relations between the United States and the CCP were deteriorating, saying that the CCP was seeking “the arbitrary application of local laws for purposes other than the maintenance of law and order” in relation to the possible detention of Americans on Chinese soil.

The statement reveals that the application of the laws could include arrests, detentions, and “bans on leaving” that had previously been used to prevent Americans from leaving the country and returning to their homes, even though they had not been arrested or formally charged with any crime.

“U.S. citizens may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime,” the statement issued by the U.S. State Department said.

“Citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to ‘state security,'” the report published through the website of the Office of Diplomatic Security, which is part of the State Department.

Among the latest measures taken by the United States and the Chinese Communist Party is the restriction of visas to state officials. The United States repeatedly asked for clarification of the situation of human rights violations in Tibet and other regions such as Xinjiang against Uighur ethnic minorities, or the well-known repression suffered by the practitioners of the ancient Chinese qigong practice, Falun Gong, throughout Chinese territory.

Meanwhile, the CCP has been adopting similar sanctions in response to the United States, condemning its interference in China’s internal affairs.

Concerns about Hong Kong’s new security law

Meanwhile, the State Department’s announcement on irregular detention comes after the Chinese Communist Party imposed the controversial security law on Hong Kong, which, according to Article 38 of the law, has the power to try citizens outside Hong Kong, even those who are not residents.

Chinese lawyers and activists have pointed out that the CCP could use extraterritorial jurisdiction to silence its critics and advocates of democratic principles around the world.

According to The Guardian, the latest report published by the U.S. State Department did not specify the reasons that triggered the alert on possible arrests but made it clear that criticisms directed at the CCP, including those circulating in private communications, could be used against foreign citizens.

In response to the measures taken by Beijing, both Australia and Canada issued travel warnings to China due to fears of arbitrary arrests that foreign citizens could face, as dictated by the new security law imposed in Hong Kong.