China travel late 1970s

Were Americans allowed to travel freely in China during the late 70’s? If not, was it prohibited by the Chinese or American government?

Ancient Vulcan proverb:

Only Nixon can go to China.

As for actually answering the OP, I’ll leave that to someone without so much Star Trek on the brain.

China opened up to foreign investment at that time. I know quite a number of people who went there for business purposes. They couldn’t travel “freely” as such - they needed a sponsor to get a visa and the sponsor took them everywhere, They were restricted to particular hotels. Travel outside main centres would have required extra authorization.

Beforehand (say before Mao’s death in 76) a few business types would go to the Canton Trade Fair and similar events to buy things, and that was considered exotic. I think the only other Westerners allowed in then would have gone as teachers or members of politically-friendly cultural tour groups.

Even in the mid-80s I knew grown adults born and raised in HK who had never set foot over the border.

Since then, things have loosened up. Foreigners can stay at any hotel they want, jump on flights etc etc. I’ve heard of people hitching to Tibet.

No one could travel freely in the late 1970’s, including local Chinese as well as Americans.

China started opening up to individual travel in the late 1970’s but one was required to have a Alien Travel Permit listing the cities you were allowed to travel to. In 1985 IIRC on my first trip foreigners including americans were allowed to travel to approximately 150 cities. Anything outside of that required a permit. You could and I did get arrested for traveling to areas “restricted to foreigners”. There were limited designated hotels one could stay at.