U.S. to expel Chinese graduate students with ties to China’s military schools

28 May, 2020 23:53
source: Singularity Financial

Singularity Financial Hong Kong May 28, 2020 – by David Lee

The Trump administration plans to cancel the visas of thousands of Chinese graduate students and researchers in the United States who have direct ties to universities affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army, according to American officials with knowledge of the discussions.

Two Republican senators and a Republican congressman, Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Representative David Kustoff, also of Tennessee, introduced legislation on Wednesday that would bar Chinese nationals from receiving student or research visas to the United States for graduate or postgraduate studies in science, technology, engineering or mathematics fields.

The plan would be the first designed to bar the access of a category of Chinese students, who, over all, form the single largest foreign student population in the United States. The visa cancellations could affect at least 3,000 of the approximately 360,000 Chinese students studying in the U.S.

Chinese students make up the largest percentage of international students in the U.S. and American universities, which rely on their tuition, are expected to oppose the administration’s move, according to The Times.

The introduction of the bill represents an escalation in efforts by Republican lawmakers to restrict Chinese students, who accounted for about 13.5 percent of the 42,227 students earning doctorates in science and engineering fields at U.S. universities in 2018. Cotton suggested on Fox News last month that lawmakers need to take “a very hard look” at visas for Chinese students, especially those studying advanced science at the graduate level.

It portends possible further educational restrictions, and the Chinese government could retaliate by imposing its own visa or educational bans on Americans. The two nations have already engaged in rounds of retribution over policies involving trade, technology and media access, and relations are at their worst point in decades.

U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that China is using academic researchers in the U.S. for espionage and intellectual property theft. In early April, the Justice Department urged federal prosecutors to focus on cases of suspected intellectual property theft by China.

There have been various cases of researchers and professors charged in the U.S. for failing to disclose ties to Chinese institutions. In one instance in mid-May, FBI agents arrested University of Arkansas-Fayetteville electrical engineering professor Simon Saw-Teong Ang on suspicion of hiding funding he had received from the Chinese government. Ang had been a professor at the university since 1988, and had conducted research projects for NASA.