The US Department of Homeland Security has reacted on China’s curbs on democracy in Hong Kong and has revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese nationals. As Asia Nikkei reports, in May, President Trump proclaimed to suspend entry from China of students and researchers deemed security risks.
China-American relations have sunk to historic lows with the world’s two biggest economies clashing over issues ranging from trade and human rights to Hong Kong and the novel pathogen.
Chad Wolf, the acting head of the US Department of Homeland Security, has commented on the blocking visas for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers. According to Wolf, these persons have with ties to China’s military fusion strategy, and the US wants to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research.
In Wednesday speech in Washington, Wolf repeated US charges of unjust business practices and industrial espionage by China, including attempts to steal COVID research, and accused it of abusing student visas to exploit American academia.
Wolf said the United States was also “preventing goods produced from slave labour from entering our markets, demanding that China respect the inherent dignity of each human being,” an apparent reference to alleged abuses of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.
Blocking visas was a part of the US move on the U.S. response to China’s curbs on democracy in Hong Kong, said the State Department spokeswoman. “As of Sept. 8, 2020, the Department has revoked more than 1,000 visas of PRC nationals who were found to be subject to Presidential Proclamation 10043 and therefore ineligible for a visa,” she added.
Some 360,000 Chinese nationals study in the US universities, bringing in significant revenue to US colleges, although the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the return to campus this autumn semester.
The relations between the US and China are tense as never before
This month, Donald Trump has accused his Democratic opponent and leader in national opinion polls, Joe Biden, of being soft toward Beijing. In his turn, Trump has made getting tough on China a key part of his campaign for re-election.
Earlier, some Chinese students enrolled in U.S. universities said they received emailed notices on Wednesday from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing or U.S. consulates in China informing them their visas had been cancelled.
Meantime, over 60 students holding F-1 visas including postgraduates and undergraduates said in a WeChat chatroom that the notices stated they would have to apply for new visas if they wanted to travel to the United States.