By Trefor Moss
SHANGHAI -- FedEx Corp. faces another investigation in China, this time suspected of illegally shipping a parcel containing knives to Hong Kong, state media said.
The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday that a probe had begun into FedEx about the package of knives but offered no further details.
The big American delivery company, which didn't immediately respond to questions for comment, is one of several foreign entities scrambling to stay in Beijing's good graces against a backdrop of worsening U.S.-China relations and civil unrest in Hong Kong.
Last month, the chief executive of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. resigned after Beijing criticized the Hong Kong carrier about its employees taking part in the city's antigovernment protests.
On Tuesday, Spanish fashion retailer Zara became the latest foreign company to be caught up in Hong Kong politics. The company came under fire from Chinese media for closing several stores in the city during a strike the day before. Zara issued a statement denying the move was a sign of support for the protesters.
FedEx is already under pressure in China. Authorities recently launched an investigation into its failure to deliver packages to the Chinese offices of telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. They were redirected instead to the U.S., which FedEx said happened in error.
"We apologize for the misdirection of a small number of Huawei packages. We confirm that no external party required FedEx to make these shipments, " the company said at the time, responding to comments in Chinese social media suggesting it had diverted the packages at Washington's behest.
Chinese social-media users also speculated that FedEx, based in Memphis, Tenn., was a potential candidate for inclusion on Beijing's planned "unreliable entity list" -- a blacklist of foreign companies and individuals that would face restrictions in their dealings with Chinese counterparts. The list is an apparent response to a similar list used by the U.S. and Washington's attempts to shut out Huawei.
Last month, the Chinese police said they were investigating FedEx over the discovery of a gun in a package sent from the U.S. to China. FedEx said the incident dated back to June, and that it had notified the authorities about the shipment at the time.
--Kersten Zhang in Beijing contributed to this article.
Write to Trefor Moss at Trefor.Moss@wsj.com