China firmly opposes its citizens being harassed when visiting the U.S.: spokesperson

2024-04-09 Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- China is gravely concerned and firmly opposes frequent harassment of its citizens entering or leaving the United States, and has made solemn démarches to the U.S., a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. said on Tuesday.

The spokesperson said in recent years, U.S. border control personnel have continuously and unjustifiably harassed, interrogated, and deported Chinese nationals entering the U.S., especially students and scholars.

According to incomplete statistics, nearly 300 Chinese citizens have been deported by the U.S. since July 2021, including more than 70 Chinese students with legal and valid materials. Since November 2023, at the Washington Dulles Airport alone, there have been 10 cases of Chinese students being harassed, interrogated and, with their visas canceled, deported.

According to the spokesperson, in December 2023, a Chinese visiting scholar was harassed when entering Dulles International Airport, and U.S. border control personnel conducted 3 rounds and 10-hour long interrogation in the "small black room", including asking whether the scholar was a member of the Communist Party of China and checking his mobile phone, computer and other portable electronic devices. At the end, the scholar’s visa was canceled and the person was permanently banned from entering the United States.

In February 2024, another Chinese visiting scholar was detained for 22 hours at San Francisco International Airport when entering the country. In the "small black room", four U.S. law enforcement officers took turns to continuously interrogate this person on political background, research field, purpose of visiting the United States, funding methods, lasting for 12 hours. Finally, the scholar had his visa canceled, was deported back to China and banned from entering the United States for five years.

“Similar incidents have emerged one after another, with increasing frequency recently. Even Chinese officials invited by the U.S. side for a friendly visit have been unjustifiably harassed and interrogated when entering or leaving the country,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson pointed out that such acts by the U.S. side far exceeded the scope of normal law enforcement and were driven by strong ideological bias. “They gravely infringe on legitimate and lawful rights and interests of persons concerned, disturb normal cross-border travel between China and the U.S. and run against the common understandings reached by the two Presidents on enhancing and facilitating China-U.S. cultural and people-to-people exchanges.”

Putting the people first, the Chinese government firmly upholds the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and will not tolerate any illegal and unfair treatment of Chinese students, the spokesperson said.

“We have taken steps to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizens. The Chinese Embassy in the U.S. and relevant Consulate General have lodged representations with the U.S. State Department, National Security Council, the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection. In response to what has happened, the Chinese side has been ‘lodging representations on every single incident’ toward the final resolution of the issue," the spokesperson said.

On April 2, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with President Joe Biden on the phone. The two Presidents reiterated the need to take further steps to expand people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

“China urges the U.S. to stop harassing Chinese citizens traveling to the U.S. under the pretext of national security, stop undermining the environment of public support for China-U.S. relations, and stop obstructing friendly interactions between the two peoples,” the spokesperson added.


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