U.S.-China Wedgie wars?

I get the fact that the American merchant marine vessel mentioned in this WaPo article is probably the naval equivalent of a listening device. And I get the fact that the Chinese would want to harass it, even if it is in international waters. And I get the parallels to the U.S. airmen held at Hainan in the early months of the Bush administration.

But this part, I don’t get:

The Impeccable sprayed one ship with water from fire hoses to force itaway. Despite the force of the water, Chinese crew members stripped totheir underwear and continued closing within 25 feet, the Defensedepartment said. (Emphasis added.)

Is this some sort of naval hazing ritual, or a high-stakes prank? That sounds like something you’d read in the Onion.

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