Exclusive: US law enforcement personnel unreasonably interrogate, harass Chinese cargo ship, collect crew’s biometric information
Published: Aug 23, 2023 04:22 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A Hong Kong-registered Chinese vessel was subjected to unreasonable questioning and harassment by US law enforcement personnel recently.

An expert told the Global Times on Wednesady that the US' thorough harassing behavior has interfered with the normal operations of the Chinese company, which will negatively impact China-US people-to-people and cultural exchanges and economic and trade cooperation.

The Global Times learned exclusively from a source on Wednesday that in July 2023, the vessel Zhenhua 28, a Hong Kong-registered Chinese cargo ship under Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company, encountered unreasonable searches and harassment by US law enforcement in Jacksonville, Florida. Members of the US Coast Guard boarded the ship to carry out an inspection from its anchorage to the port and accompanied it in the entire course.  

Upon arrival at the port, US Customs and Border Protection personnel boarded the ship for inspection, collected biometric information such as faces and fingerprints of the crew members, and even questioned them about whether they were members of the Communist Party of China, soldiers, or government officials.

The source revealed that, without providing any explanation or presenting written documentation, the US law enforcement personnel confiscated and detained some of the crew members' personal electronic devices and has not returned them to date. The unreasonable actions of the US side resulted in the Zhenhua 28's departure plan from the US being forced to delay, causing significant disruption to the ship's subsequent operations and the crew's regular work and life.

Lü Xiang, an expert on American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that any search of a location must be accompanied by corresponding legal documents. The US' action of questioning without any explanation or written documentation indicates that the US side had absolutely no basis for raising criminal charges, and the action was thoroughly a harassment.

The expert stated that the US' actions violated the personal privacy of the Chinese crew members and disrupted the normal operations of Chinese enterprises. Unreasonably questioning Chinese personnel about their political affiliation during the inspection reflects deep-rooted ideological prejudices. This is contrary to the US' self-proclaimed openness and inclusiveness, and will only harm China-US people-to-people and cultural exchanges and economic and trade cooperation.