Chinese tourist arrested in US for fighting in public accused of domestic violence

Chinese travellers have been warned that, while public fighting between couples is usually ignored at home, in the US there can be serious consequences, including domestic violence charges. Photo: Weibo

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NEW YORK, Feb 19, 2019, SCMP. Chinese visitors to New York have been advised not to quarrel or fight while in the United States after a man was arrested outside his hotel for getting into a “tussle” with his wife, reported the South China Morning Post.

The Chinese consulate in New York issued the alert on Saturday in an article on social media app WeChat reminding travellers from China that physical fighting in the US was not regarded as a small thing.
The article said a woman, surnamed Zhang, had recently sought help from the consulate when her husband was arrested by American police after a fierce quarrel between the couple had turned into a tussle outside their New York hotel.

Two pedestrians who witnessed the dispute had reported the matter to police and the man had been charged with domestic violence. The couple’s return journey to China had been delayed as he faced a judicial process that included applying for bail, a court hearing and the hiring of lawyers.

“From this incident, the couple learned a lesson and they felt deep regret,” the article said.
“Many Chinese people think a quarrel between couples is just a domestic affair and is none of other people’s business. But in Western countries such as the US, this kind of incident is not as simple as a domestic affair.”

The consulate advised Chinese travellers to the US that fights between couples were regarded as domestic violence which police would handle seriously, adding that even fights that occurred in private could be reported by neighbours to police.

The consulate highlighted the difference between China – often depicted in television dramas, where people try not to intervene between couples bickering and even tussling on the street – and the US, where passers-by could report them and serve as eyewitnesses in court.

The consulate also pointed out that domestic violence complaints in the US, once prosecuted, could not be withdrawn, even if the victim applied to do so.

The result could have serious legal implications, including an order barring the two parties from living together for a period of time, the consulate said.

“Before going to the US, Chinese travellers should understand American laws and regulations and the cultural difference between the two countries … so that those incidents, in which people unwittingly cause conflicts or violate laws in the US, can be avoided,” the consulate said.

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