As tensions between Beijing and Washington rose on multiple fronts, United States government has revoked visas of more than 1,000 Chinese students and researchers under an order issued by President Donald Trump accusing some of them of espionage and working for the Chinese communist party.
Nearly 370,000 students from China were enrolled at US Universities in 2018-19, the most of any country, pouring in income to the educational sector now laden with Coronavirus pandemic economic effects.
The State Department accused some of the students and researchers of stealing research information from American scientists working to develop a covid-19 vaccine.
The State Department spokeswoman on Wednesday said high-risk graduate students and research scholars made ineligible under this proclamation represent a small subset of the total number of Chinese students and scholars coming to the United States.
“We continue to welcome legitimate students and scholars from China who do not further the Chinese Communist Party’s goals of military dominance.
The acting head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said earlier that Washington was blocking visas “for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to China’s military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research.”
The Chinese foreign ministry denounced the move at a daily media briefing in Beijing.
“This is outright political persecution and racial discrimination. It seriously violates the human rights of these Chinese students,” spokesman Zhao Lijian said, adding that China reserved the right to “further respond”.
Earlier, some Chinese students enrolled in U.S. universities said they received email notices on Wednesday from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing or U.S. consulates in China informing them their visas had been cancelled.
They were majoring in subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Some said they were postgraduates who obtained bachelor’s degrees at Chinese universities with links to the People’s Liberation Army.