US harassment of Chinese crew 'McCarthyism,' may ruin America's Christmas
Published: Nov 30, 2020 08:13 PM

CPC members

Recent US moves to raid and harass Chinese ships and question ship and air crew members on their Communist Party of China (CPC) membership could face China's reciprocal countermeasures and ruin America's Christmas, as Chinese shipping companies may reduce the number of ships to the US, Chinese analysts warned. 

US law enforcement officials recently raided Chinese ships and questioned employees of shipping and aviation companies about their CPC membership, which was a serious political provocation and resurgence of McCarthyism in the US, Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at Monday's media briefing. 

If the US continues to escalate its provocative actions, China will take countermeasures, Hua said, noting that US actions have created ideological confrontations, undermined normal people-to-people exchanges, and become another example of the comprehensive suppression and containment of China by US anti-China forces. 

Hua said China has lodged solemn representations to the US and urged the US to immediately stop its wrong actions. 

Chinese citizens do not need to disclose whether they are CPC members when they apply for a US visa.

A Chinese shipping company employee who requested anonymity confirmed with the Global Times US harassment of ship crews on their Party membership, saying "it has lasted for some time."

Chinese media also revealed that US questioning sometimes lasted several hours, asking their reasons for joining the CPC, and the crew's links to the Chinese government. 

Wu Minghua, a Shanghai-based independent shipping industry analyst, told the Global Times on Monday that the US moves, extremely rare in the international shipping industry, violate international norms on shipping.  

Whether a ship crew member is a CPC member or not has no relation to his job of loading and unloading goods, Wu said. 

Song Guoyou, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Monday that continued US harassment of Chinese crew will affect China-US trade. 

"It will affect the American people's Christmas if Chinese ships refuse to go to the US due to the harassment," Song said. 

September to early December is the peak for Christmas products to leave Chinese ports, Wu said. 

Chinese analysts believe US discriminatory moves are aimed at ideological confrontations with China. 

age group of cpc members

Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that the US moves could be interpreted as collecting intelligence on the operations of Chinese state-owned companies and CPC organizations. 

The Trump administration has repeatedly targeted the CPC, making alienating the CPC from the Chinese people the main theme of its final months in office, Lü said. 

However, analysts said that the CPC comes from the Chinese people, and cannot be alienated from the Chinese people. The US and the West, with a Cold War mentality and propaganda bias, regard "Communist" as a negative word. But in China, the word and the CPC are always positive and represent the leading force of society. 

As for the countermeasures, Chinese analysts said that whether the Trump administration's practice will be picked up by the Biden administration was still uncertain, and China could aim at current American politicians to sanction certain Americans that "jumped the highest" in their anti-China policies. 

The Trump administration was reportedly considering in July banning all CPC members and their families from traveling to the US, with analysts saying the US was standing in opposition to the 1.4 billion Chinese people, who account for a fifth of the world's population. 

The 99-year-old CPC had 91.91 million members, with 4.68 million primary-level Party organizations as of the end of 2019, according to the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee. 

Chinese web users were also angered by the US move, with many reacting on Chinese social media networks like Sina Weibo and WeChat. One said, "You [the US] want to know why I want to be a CPC member? Because I want to serve the people. You can reject my visa now."

"Can we question US citizens who come to China 'Why you voted for Republicans/Democrats?' Isn't one's political stand a part of one's legitimate privacy?" said another one.

Chen Qingqing contributed to this story