Incident Involving Customs Officer Using CCP Propaganda ‘Exceptionally Concerning,’ Congressman Says

US lawmakers call for investigation into incident involving Chinese-speaking US customs officer at Chicago airport CHICAGO—U.S. lawmakers are raising concerns and calling for an investigation into a U.S. customs officer who used Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hate propaganda in his official capacity against artists belonging to the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts.“Espousing Chinese Communist Party propaganda, and coercion and intimidation as an official U.S. government action—that’s exceptional,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) told The Epoch Times’ sister media NTD.The incident, on March 11, involved a customs officer at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, who spoke Chinese with a mainland accent.“They’re Falun Gong. They’re political. They’re illegal,” the customs officer told his nearby co-workers in English, as he screened Teresa Du, a tour manager with Shen Yun Performing Arts, which showcases “China before communism” in performances around the world.Ms. Du is a natural-born U.S. citizen and all artists are either U.S. citizens or hold valid visas.“This is an American citizen, espousing their First Amendment rights, coming back home to America, and essentially being intimidated by the federal government. That’s a whole different level,” Mr. Perry said.Related StoriesThe officer’s behavior raises many questions for Mr. Perry who has been concerned about CCP infiltration of America, including the reports of several Chinese police stations operating on U.S. soil.“You’ve got to wonder, who’s watching the watchmen? How was this person vetted? How did they get to this position?” Mr. Perry said.“Is this a person somehow that knows Chinese that is in America working for the federal government, but acting on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government?” he said. “That’s exceptionally concerning.”Founded in New York in 2006 by Chinese artists who fled communist persecution, Shen Yun has been targeted by the Chinese Communist Party for nearly two decades.Ms. Du, as well as many Shen Yun performers, practice Falun Gong, an ancient Chinese spiritual discipline that focuses on self-improvement through meditation and moral principles.Shen Yun Performing Arts North America Company takes a curtain call at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha, Nebraska on April 3, 2023. (Hu Chen/The Epoch Times)The customs officer spoke to Ms. Du in Chinese until she switched to English. He asked her: “Are you being sponsored by Falun Gong?” Ms. Du declined to answer.Mr. Perry wondered why that line of questioning was appropriate.“I want to know this individual’s background,” he said, referring to the Chinese-speaking customs officer. “We absolutely need to be on the lookout for these kinds of things. And I think we need to be proactive.“What concern is it to U.S. Customs and Border Protection that these people espouse these viewpoints, which are not a threat to American society?”Multiple other lawmakers also found the treatment of Ms. Du disturbing. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), who represents Ms. Du’s home state, said it was “totally inexcusable for this to happen in the United States at the hands of an American official.”Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) in Washington on March 18, 2021. (York Du/The Epoch Times)“There should be a thorough investigation and if it proves to be accurate the customs official should be terminated immediately,” he told The Epoch Times. “We should never allow the PRC [People’s Republic of China]—one of the most repressive countries on the planet—to have influence over our federal government.”Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) similarly said he hopes the incident “gets investigated.”“A law enforcement type official at the airport harassing an American citizen—we have freedom of religion here, and we should protect that,” Mr. Bacon told NTD, adding that “there should be some disciplinary action taken” for such behavior.Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) at Congress on Jan. 3, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)Having seen Shen Yun perform just days earlier in Boise, Idaho, Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) described the performance as “fabulous” and “an artistry combining history with art” that “doesn’t necessarily align with the current Chinese government and the current Chinese direction.”“To see that they have been interrupted, you have to ask the question as to why what’s the motivation behind that?” he told NTD.“There’s so many concerns about this,” he said of the incident. “Because why were they targeted?”

Incident Involving Customs Officer Using CCP Propaganda ‘Exceptionally Concerning,’ Congressman Says

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US lawmakers call for investigation into incident involving Chinese-speaking US customs officer at Chicago airport

CHICAGO—U.S. lawmakers are raising concerns and calling for an investigation into a U.S. customs officer who used Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hate propaganda in his official capacity against artists belonging to the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts.

“Espousing Chinese Communist Party propaganda, and coercion and intimidation as an official U.S. government action—that’s exceptional,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) told The Epoch Times’ sister media NTD.

The incident, on March 11, involved a customs officer at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, who spoke Chinese with a mainland accent.

“They’re Falun Gong. They’re political. They’re illegal,” the customs officer told his nearby co-workers in English, as he screened Teresa Du, a tour manager with Shen Yun Performing Arts, which showcases “China before communism” in performances around the world.

Ms. Du is a natural-born U.S. citizen and all artists are either U.S. citizens or hold valid visas.

“This is an American citizen, espousing their First Amendment rights, coming back home to America, and essentially being intimidated by the federal government. That’s a whole different level,” Mr. Perry said.

The officer’s behavior raises many questions for Mr. Perry who has been concerned about CCP infiltration of America, including the reports of several Chinese police stations operating on U.S. soil.

“You’ve got to wonder, who’s watching the watchmen? How was this person vetted? How did they get to this position?” Mr. Perry said.

“Is this a person somehow that knows Chinese that is in America working for the federal government, but acting on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government?” he said. “That’s exceptionally concerning.”

Founded in New York in 2006 by Chinese artists who fled communist persecution, Shen Yun has been targeted by the Chinese Communist Party for nearly two decades.

Ms. Du, as well as many Shen Yun performers, practice Falun Gong, an ancient Chinese spiritual discipline that focuses on self-improvement through meditation and moral principles.

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Shen Yun Performing Arts North America Company takes a curtain call at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha, Nebraska on April 3, 2023. (Hu Chen/The Epoch Times)
Shen Yun Performing Arts North America Company takes a curtain call at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha, Nebraska on April 3, 2023. (Hu Chen/The Epoch Times)

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The customs officer spoke to Ms. Du in Chinese until she switched to English. He asked her: “Are you being sponsored by Falun Gong?” Ms. Du declined to answer.

Mr. Perry wondered why that line of questioning was appropriate.

“I want to know this individual’s background,” he said, referring to the Chinese-speaking customs officer. “We absolutely need to be on the lookout for these kinds of things. And I think we need to be proactive.

“What concern is it to U.S. Customs and Border Protection that these people espouse these viewpoints, which are not a threat to American society?”

Multiple other lawmakers also found the treatment of Ms. Du disturbing. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), who represents Ms. Du’s home state, said it was “totally inexcusable for this to happen in the United States at the hands of an American official.”

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Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) in Washington on March 18, 2021. (York Du/The Epoch Times)
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) in Washington on March 18, 2021. (York Du/The Epoch Times)

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“There should be a thorough investigation and if it proves to be accurate the customs official should be terminated immediately,” he told The Epoch Times. “We should never allow the PRC [People’s Republic of China]—one of the most repressive countries on the planet—to have influence over our federal government.”

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) similarly said he hopes the incident “gets investigated.”

“A law enforcement type official at the airport harassing an American citizen—we have freedom of religion here, and we should protect that,” Mr. Bacon told NTD, adding that “there should be some disciplinary action taken” for such behavior.

.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) at Congress on Jan. 3, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) at Congress on Jan. 3, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

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Having seen Shen Yun perform just days earlier in Boise, Idaho, Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) described the performance as “fabulous” and “an artistry combining history with art” that “doesn’t necessarily align with the current Chinese government and the current Chinese direction.”

“To see that they have been interrupted, you have to ask the question as to why what’s the motivation behind that?” he told NTD.

“There’s so many concerns about this,” he said of the incident. “Because why were they targeted?”

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