China asks state firms to avoid travel to US , allies


BEIJING • China asked some state-run enterprises to avoid business trips to the US and its allies, and to take extra precautions to protect their devices if they need to travel, according to people familiar with the request.

In recent weeks, the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) — a regulatory body that oversees about 100 government-run companies — has told some firms to only take secure, company-issued laptops meant for overseas use if travelling is necessary, the people said. They said the warning extended to the other countries in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing pact: The UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The order also said employees should have the company verify which files they are carrying on any trip and only store them on secure USB flash drives, two people familiar with the warning said separately, adding that SASAC didn’t specify how long the travel rules will apply. The commission didn’t respond to a fax requesting comment.

Chinese and American executives have become more cautious when travelling after the December arrest of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada on behalf of the US, and the subsequent detention of two Canadian citizens in China.

The US has also stepped up efforts to catch and prosecute executives at Chinese companies that it alleges steal technology, which has resulted in several legal actions.