The three had been traveling to "honeymoon plus take wedding photos," Ren told Beijing Times. On the way home, a female border inspector asked for a 'tip.' Ren's boyfriend, whose last name is Xie, replied that he wanted to call a friend to confirm that the fee was necessary.

As he prepared to turn back and make the call, the woman "shouted loudly in Vietnamese, and from nearby seven or eight border staff wearing military uniforms rushed over." They pushed Xie onto the ground and began kicking and hitting him, breaking his phone and glasses in the process. Afterwards, they handcuffed him and bound his feet, then carried him up to an office on the second floor where they continued the abuse. Xie's mother was also detained when she tried to stop the border guards from attacking her son.

A panicked Ren crossed the border on her own. She asked for help from staff on the Chinese side, who successfully negotiated the return of her fiancé and his mother. By the time he was retrieved, Xie was seriously injured. Three of his ribs were broken, another one fractured, and he also suffered bruising in multiple areas. Photos taken by Ren show injuries on Xie's face, neck, and hand. He is currently being treated at a hospital in his hometown of Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, and his condition is stable.

As Ren told reporters, the three travelers had also faced extortion when entering Vietnam on January 25. On the way into Mong Cai, they were asked for 'tips' by three different employees, at a rate of RMB30-50 per person each time. After paying up, no receipts were provided.

A friend of the couple told them about passing through the China-Vietnam border without paying any extra fees. On his return journey, Xie tried to contact this friend, triggering the beating incident.

After he was taken upstairs by border guards, Xie was forced to write a false statement explaining that Vietnamese staff had not beaten him and that his injuries had nothing to do with them. Ren was placed in the same room with him while he did so, and describes seeing border guards hitting him when he refused to cooperate. She was escorted out of the room herself for protesting her fiancé's treatment.

n response to the incident, the Chinese embassy in Vietnam has asked Vietnamese authorities to investigate the incident and punish the perpetrators in accordance with the law. It also requested an apology to the Chinese people, and appropriate compensation for Xie's injuries.

On February 13, Chinese News Service reported that Vietnamese officials have not acknowledged the abuse, saying instead that Xie's injuries are a result of falling down while being chased by border guards. An offer from the Chinese side to launch a joint investigation into the matter has also been turned down.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Chinese tourists have encountered problems while traveling in Vietnam. Last July, border staff at an airport in Ho Chi Minh City wrote "fuck you" on a Chinese tourist's passport. Two months before that, a tourist from Sichuan was attacked by staff in a Vietnamese airport for refusing to pay a 'tip.' That time, the employee was suspended for his behavior.

The Chinese embassy in Vietnam advises tourists to refuse to pay any extra fees when crossing the Vietnamese border, and, if trouble arises, to collect as much evidence as possible.

By Bailey Hu - That's Mag - February 14, 2017