The U.S. has revoked more than 1,000 visas for Chinese graduate students and research scholars after deeming them as a “high risk” to national security.
The move serves President Donald Trump’s Proclamation 10043, which took effect on June 1 to target at least 3,000 individuals connected to entities that benefit the Chinese military.
— Department of State (@StateDept) September 8, 2020
On Wednesday, the State Department announced that the students and scholars were expelled, but pointed out that they represent “a small subset” of all Chinese academics coming to the U.S.
For the last 10 years, China has been the country’s “largest source of international students” — reaching about 370,000 in undergraduate, graduate, non-degree and optional practical training (OPT) programs, according to the Institute of International Education.
The revocation of visas “safeguards U.S. national security by limiting the PRC’s ability to leverage Chinese graduate students and researchers in the United States to steal United States technologies, intellectual property, and information to develop advanced military capabilities,” said the State Department, according to CNN.
It added: “We continue to welcome legitimate students and scholars from China who do not further the Chinese Communist Party’s goals of military dominance.”
Chad Wolf, acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, established a China Working Group in July to address the Chinese Communist Party’s “intensifying threat” in trade, cybersecurity, immigration and intellectual property domains.
“Consistent with President Trump’s leadership and direction, DHS is at the forefront of combating these threats to the Homeland and our way of life. The Department’s role in curbing China’s malign activity has never been more important nor timely. DHS’s newly-established China Working Group will prioritize, coordinate, and articulate decisive near- and long-term actions commensurate with the threat we face,” Wolf said at the time.
On Thursday, China — which has repeatedly denied the allegations — slammed the revocation of visas as “blatant political persecution and racial discrimination.”
Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, accused the Trump administration of continuously treating China’s personnel and cultural exchanges with negative remarks, according to the Global Times.
Such actions oppose not only values of openness and freedom the U.S. has always advocated, but also people’s interests, Zhao added.
Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, feels that Trump is deflecting his failure to govern the U.S. onto China.
“It is just a cover-up for the US to claim to continue welcoming legitimate Chinese students and scholars, as we all know Trump is deliberately stirring up hatred toward China among the American public. This kind of racial discrimination will eventually backfire against the U.S.,” Li said.