There are over 300,000 Chinese students studying and researching at U.S. colleges and universities, and they’ve become one of the targets of recent escalating frictions between the U.S. and China.
The United States is planning to cancel the visas of thousands of Chinese graduate students believed by President Donald Trump’s administration to have links with China’s military, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.
This was first reported by the New York Times, could impact 3,000 to 5,000 Chinese students and could be announced as early as this week, according to the sources, including a current U.S. official and another individual who was briefed on the administration’s internal discussions.
Both the United States and China are at conflict over China’s decision to go forward with national security legislation for Hong Kong that democracy activists in the city and Western countries fear could erode its freedoms and jeopardize its role as a global financial hub.
Chinese students who are in the United States will have their visas canceled and will be expelled, the source briefed on the plans said, while those already outside the United States will not be allowed to return.
The reason put forward was spying and intellectual property theft that some Chinese nationals are suspected of engaging in on U.S. university and college campuses, adding that the administration expected significant push back from those institutions because of their financial interests in Chinese student enrollment.
If so, then the ban would only need to target graduate students and researchers.
The conclusion on the visas is likely to further sour ties between the world’s top two economies – who are also at odds over the coronavirus pandemic and trade.