A Chinese woman who traveled to Vietnam last weekend has complained that a border official in that Southeast Asian country scribbled an obscenity on two pages of her passport.
The lady, who bears the surname Zhong, said she took a flight from Guangzhou to Ho Chi Minh City on July 23.
Upon landing, she handed her passport to a customs officer as part of normal procedures. The officer examined it and returned it in a few minutes.
Then the woman found to her horror the words “F**k you” scribbled on two of the passport’s pages.
The pages happened to be those that contained a controversial map of China bearing the so-called nine-dash line that represents Beijing’s claims on most of the South China Sea.
The lady then surmised that she may have fallen victim to the anger among the Vietnamese over China’s stance on maritime territorial claims.
An international tribunal in The Hague earlier this month rejected China’s expansive claims to the waterways of the South China Sea, but Beijing has refused to recognize the ruling.
Angered by China’s stance, Vietnamese officials have refused to stamp new Chinese passports featuring the nine-dash line, issuing separate on-arrival visas instead to people coming from China.
The move was aimed at avoiding inadvertent recognition of China’s territorial claims, Vietnamese media had reported.
But now a customs official is said to have committed a rogue act by scribbling an obscenity on passport pages where the nine-dash line was printed.
China began to issue in 2012 new passports that bear a map of the South China Sea on some pages with a nine-dash line in the background.
Zhong wrote in a blog post that she felt insulted and disappointed over the conduct of the Vietnam border staff, Beijing News reported.
Meanwhile, she was also worried if the passport would land her in trouble when goes back to China.
However, she was said to have been assured that she wouldn’t face any problem as the Chinese officials will realize that the offensive scribbling was not done by her.
But she will have to get a new passport for any future overseas travel.
Following the shocking incident last weekend, the Chinese Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City is reported to have asked Vietnam authorities to look into the case and punish the customs official.
Vietnam must ensure that such insulting behavior will not happen again, it said.
Writing offensive words on a Chinese tourist’s passport amounts to insulting China as well as the concerned citizen, the consulate said.
Vietnam authorities are said to have promised that they will investigate the matter.
Translation by Chloe Chow
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