China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing urged the US to make serious and thorough investigations into the case in which a Chinese businesswoman was pepper-sprayed and beaten by a US border inspector. n a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Collin Powell July 26, Li urged the US side to investigate into the case and punish the inspector involved, according to a Xinhua report. Powell promised he would look into the matter.
Robert Rhodes was charged on Friday with civil rights violations after the Wednesday beating of 37-year-old Zhao Yan near the famous Niagara Falls. Rhodes pepper-sprayed and struck Zhao after confusing her with suspected drug smugglers.
The Chinese Consulate General in New York expressed great concern to the case and urged the US side to make a serious and complete investigation and punish the people responsible.
Zhao, from North China's Tianjin, said she felt deeply humiliated.
The preparatory group of the US-China Free Trade Promotion Society has also lodged a protest to the US State Department, complaining against such serious violation of Chinese business people's human rights.
She and two other women were crossing the Rainbow Bridge over Niagara Falls on the US-Canada border late last Wednesday when Customs and Border Protection officers confiscated marijuana from a male pedestrian The three were trying to take pictures when the officers inside a house nearby called and then rushed out of the building. Rhodes approached Zhao and then pepper-sprayed her. Associated Press reported Rhodes then threw her against a wall and kneed her on the head as she knelt on the ground. He then struck her head on the ground while holding her hair. The other officers joined him.
"Subsequent investigation reveals (the victim) had nothing to do with the marijuana smuggling but was merely a tourist who happened to be in the area," a supervisor said in an affidavit obtained by Associated Press. (Source: Xinhua/China Daily)