A Chinese passport was marred recently at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. A Vietnamese customs officer wrote the words “Fuck you” on two pages of said passport owned by a Chinese woman surnamed Zong.
After being handed back her passport by a customs officer, she discovered how her passport was fucked (vulgar for “damaged”) with the hand-written malicious words scribbled on two pages of her passport—exactly where a map of China with the so-called “nine-dash line” is found printed on the pages.
Since 2012, Chinese passports have this map printed lightly on some of their pages, specifically pages 8, 24 and 46.
China claims about 80 percent of the South China Sea with its notorious nine-dash lineclaim, effectively encroaching on the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of other countries in the area like the Philippines and Vietnam.
However, in the recent Hague tribunal where an international arbitration was held, a decision was made stating among other things that “(the tribunal found) there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line.’”
The winning statement in favor of the Philippines is encapsulated in these words: “Having found that none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone, the Tribunal found that it could—without delimiting a boundary—declare that certain sea areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China,” the tribunal said.
Asian neighbors of the Philippines with similar territorial disputes with China cheered with the country because this precedent can later be used by them, Vietnam most especially.
Hence, the marred Chinese passport by a Vietnamese customs officer may be construed as an outrage over this issue, some observers say, more so that the writing was placed over the nine-dash line, according to a report.
Being unable to speak in Vietnamese, Zong, the passport owner, ignored the writing and merely decided to get another passport once back in China.
After the Chinese authorities learned of the incident, their consulate in Ho Chi Minh City demanded that the Vietnam government take steps to punish the culprit. They also insisted that the incident should never happen again.
Netizens, most of them probably from China, were outraged by the incident and posted abusive remarks against Vietnam online, with some incidental offensive mention of the Philippines as well.
One netizen even said, “How many bananas did the Philippines give you [to write the insults]? Remember that those were the bananas we didn’t want.”
However, some are of the opinion that the entire incident may be merely due to a disgruntled customs officer that didn’t get a 10-RMB tip.