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Beating of Chinese Woman Protested

A Chinese-American trade group Saturday lodged a strong protest with the US authorities over the recent brutal beating by US law enforcers of a Chinese business woman, it was learned Sunday.  

The group, which calls itself Preparatory Committee of the Commission for the Promotion of US-China Free Trade, said in a statement the US government bears unshirkable responsibility for the serious human right violation on the soil of the United States, a country that claims to be the model of the free world.


The incident occurred late Wednesday near the Niagara Falls at the US-Canadian border, when Zhao Yan, a Chinese business woman from Tianjin on her first US business trip, was attacked by officers of US Customs and Border Protection in disregard of normal checking procedures.


Zhao obtained her visa, the statement noted, after being subjected to the strictest security checks when US authorities imposed the most rigid regulation on non-immigration visa since the Sept.11, 2001, terror attack.


So why should Zhao still encounter such a disaster in the US territory, the statement asked.


On Friday, Zhao told a press conference that she and two friends were passing a row of rooms when a uniformed officer waved to them to come in.


But she barely had time to react in the room when one of the officers pounced at her and sprayed her with pepper spray. The officer then struck her head on the ground while holding her hair and kicked her on the head when she was forced to kneel on the ground.


Zhao had bumps and bruises on her face and head and her eyes were nearly swollen shut. She was taken to hospital for treatment and later released.


The incident, however, put her to great panic and despair. She told her friends that her only wish is to return home as soon as possible.


The officer, named Robert Rhodes, claimed he mistakenly believed Zhao was involved in an illegal drug deal. In a written statement, he said he grabbed a Chinese woman and two others ran when he asked them to come into the inspection station, and sprayed her with pepper spray when she swung her arms at him.


Rohodes was charged Friday with violating Zhao's civil rights. If convicted of the charge, he could face up to 10 years in prison.


The statement said it is understandable that the United States beefed up security to safeguard the country after the Sept. 11 terror attack, but the US immigration officers have no right to assault business people from other countries without even bothering to find out the basic facts, the statement said.


The statement urged the US authorities to take this incident seriously.


(Xinhua News Agency July 26, 2004)

US Officer Charged for Beating Chinese Woman
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