The Chinese regime claimed that “U.S. law enforcement personnel” were interrogating the crew of Chinese civilian ships and airlines about their Communist Party membership, and threatened to retaliate against the United States in response.
China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a Nov. 30 press conference that U.S. personnel were checking Chinese vehicles arriving at American ports of entry, and asking crew members about their Chinese Communist Party (CCP) membership.
“That is a severe political provocation to China,” Hua said.
She claimed that Beijing authorities had already lodged complaints to the United States, and that China would take action should the latter continue such investigations. She did not provide further details about the retaliation.
Chinese state-run newspaper China Daily published a report on Nov. 30 stating that CCP members recently faced repeated questioning upon arrival in the United States.
According to the report, as of Nov. 11 this year, crews of 21 Chinese ships were investigated by U.S. authorities when their vessels anchored at American harbors. Meanwhile, crew members of 16 Chinese airplanes were investigated since September.
“Sometimes, the investigation lasted several hours, and U.S. forces even asked the crew members why they joined the CCP,” the report stated.
The U.S. State Department did not respond to a request for comment.
Hua also said during a Monday press conference that U.S. authorities asked each crew member whether they were Party members, and if they answered in the affirmative, the U.S. officials would ask for more information about their Party membership.
Amid the U.S. administration’s growing scrutiny over the CCP’s threats to national security, in July, the New York Times, citing anonymous sources, reported that President Donald Trump was considering banning CCP members from entering the country.
At the time, Mike Pillsbury, director of the Center for Chinese Strategy at the Washington-based think tank Hudson Institute, told the Wall Street Journal that the ban would amount to an effort by the administration “to delegitimize the Communist Party and its 90 million members.”
Pillsbury then analyzed that the Chinese regime is unlikely to retaliate with real punitive measures. “The Chinese will not have a counter measure in terms of banning all Republican members from visiting China, which would be absurd,” Pillsbury said in the interview.