Chinese airport kisser stirs debate

10:31, January 12, 2010      

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A Chinese student who triggered a massive shutdown of New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport last week was arrested Friday on a defiant trespass charge, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said in a statement, Reuters reported.

Jiang Haisong, a 28-year-old doctoral student who began his studies in 2004 at a joint molecular biosciences program at Rutgers University in New Jersey, was arrested at his home.

Jiang was captured by a surveillance video on January 3 at an airport security checkpoint as he slipped passed security cordons during a federal officer's unauthorized absence from his post.

The footage, released Thursday by US Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, re-vealed that the light-colored jacket-wearing Jiang ducked underneath the cordon to kiss a woman in a white coat after a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer left the security podium and headed toward the concourse. Jiang then walked off with the woman, their arms tightly locked.

The incident stirred high alert at the airport, leading to a six-hour closure.

The TSA worker was placed on administrative leave on January 5, while Jiang has been subjected to the charge and a $500 fine, and he will be arraigned in court this week.

News of his arrest invoked mixed responses back in China.

A fierce debate on the behavior of Chinese overseas also raged on ifeng.com, the website of a renowned Hong Kong-based TV station.

The repeatedly surfaced reports on the Chinese's alleged lack of "proper" manners and the subsequent discrimination chilled people back home and has prodded the public to exercise self-reflection.

According to a poll conducted by ifeng.com, 55.8 percent of those surveyed said Jiang should be subjected to penalization, and 35.6 percent deemed the punishment levied by US authorities appropriate.

A post signed ddsxu said, "As a doctoral student majoring in biological science and technology, Jiang is supposed to recognize the vital importance of rule-abidance, either in life or work. The security barrier serves as the bottom line expected to be observed by the public. Unfortunately, he cast aside all these regulations for personal convenience."

But others also voiced different views.

A user named kekelu wrote, "This is purely about security issues; the terrorist bombing attack attempt has resulted in tightened strains at US airports. It is not related to the quality of Chinese people."

Pengpeng, a postgraduate student at Nanjing University, agreed, saying, "While I acknowledge the need for Chinese to mind their behavior abroad, it is really not necessary to be inflamed by fury and irrational criticism. This incident also illustrates defects in the US security system."

Another post, written by tianyu-c, sounded a rare laudatory note of the incident, saying it resembled "a typical romantic Hollywood love scene."

Jiang only intended to see his girlfriend off properly without realizing the impact of his actions, according to Ning Huang, Jiang's friend of several years who told the AP that Jiang is "a very good person."

Agencies contributed to this story

Source: Global Times


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