I have no experience in this type of matter, but a quick search of the Internet appears to confirm that the US government can refuse to renew your passport for an outstanding US warrant and compel your return to the US (See below). Of course, California would have to have entered the warrant into the relevant databases for it to come to the attention of federal authorities.
The embassy could also probably detain you—US embassy is US soil and home rules apply—including arrest by a citizen and/or FBI. But why bother (unless your Ted Bundy or Whitey Bulger) when they can simply compel your return to the US by denying the renewal and notifying the local police of your status and pending warrant. The Chinese have little regard for due process and will likely arrest you, put you on the first plane back to the US and notify the authorities that you are coming. http://articlestorehouse.com/Art/68626/ ... newal.htmlhttp://romania.usembassy.gov/acs/freque ... tions.html
Q. WHAT INFORMATION WILL I NEED TO PROVIDE THE CONSULAR OFFICER?
• your name
• date of birth
• place of birth
• passport number (if available)
• date and place where your passport was issued
When you report the loss, theft, or misplacement of your passport you must execute an affidavit fully describing the circumstances under which it was lost, stolen. U.S. Department of State form DS-64 may be used for this purpose, or you may simply execute a sworn statement before the consular officer describing what happened. A police report is not mandatory but may be required when the embassy/consulate believes a problem may exist such as possible fraud. An applicant eligible to receive a passport should not be placed in circumstances to miss a plane or unreasonably delay travel to obtain a police report.
The U.S. embassy/consulate will confirm your previous passport issuance through our Passport Verification System. The consular section will also attempt to clear your name through the U.S. Department of State name check system to ensure there is nothing preventing issuance of a U.S. passport to you (for example: outstanding arrest warrant, court order, etc.) See 22 CFR 51.70.22 CFR 51.70.
Title 22: Foreign Relations
Subpart E—Limitations on Issuance or Use of Passports
§ 51.70 Denial of passports.
(a) A passport, except for direct return to the United States, shall not be issued in any case in which the Secretary of State determines or is informed by competent authority that:
(1) The applicant is the subject of an outstanding Federal warrant of arrest for a felony, including a warrant issued under the Federal Fugitive Felon Act (18 U.S.C. 1073); or
(2) The applicant is subject to a criminal court order, condition of probation, or condition of parole, any of which forbids departure from the United States and the violation of which could result in the issuance of a Federal warrant of arrest, including a warrant issued under the Federal Fugitive Felon Act; or
(3) The applicant is subject to a court order committing him or her to a mental institution; or
(4) The applicant is the subject of a request for extradition or provisional arrest for extradition which has been presented to the government of a foreign country; or
(5) The applicant is the subject of a subpoena issued pursuant to section 1783 of title 28, United States Code, in a matter involving Federal prosecution for, or grand jury investigation of, a felony; or
(6) The applicant has not repaid a loan received from the United States as prescribed under §§71.10 and 71.11 of this chapter; or
(7) The applicant is in default on a loan received from the United States to effectuate his or her return from a foreign country in the course of travel abroad; or
(8) The applicant has been certified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as notified by a State agency under 42 U.S.C. 652(k) to be in arrears of child support in an amount exceeding $5,000.00.
(b) A passport may be refused in any case in which the Secretary of State determines or is informed by competent authority that:
(1) The applicant has not repaid a loan received from the United States to effectuate his or her return from a foreign country in the course of travel abroad; or
(2) The applicant has been legally declared incompetent unless accompanied on his or her travel abroad by the guardian or other person responsible for the national's custody and well being; or
(3) The applicant is under the age of 18 years, unmarried and not in the military service of the United States unless a person having legal custody of such national authorizes issuance of the passport and agrees to reimburse the United States for any monies advanced by the United States for the minor to return to the United States; or
(4) The Secretary determines that the national's activities abroad are causing or are likely to cause serious damage to the national security or the foreign policy of the United States; or
(5) The applicant has been the subject of a prior adverse action under this section or §51.71 and has not shown that a change in circumstances since the adverse action warrants issuance of a passport; or
(6) The applicant is subject to an order of restraint or apprehension issued by an appropriate officer of the United States Armed Forces pursuant to chapter 47 of title 10 of the United States Code.
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 1405–0077)
[54 FR 8531, Mar. 1, 1989, as amended at 62 FR 62695, Nov. 25, 1997]