The United States revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese citizens in a presidential declaration on May 29 suspending the entry of students and researchers from China, which, according to the U.S. Department of State, constitutes a security risk.
Acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security Chief Chad Wolf said earlier that Washington is blocking visas “for certain Chinese graduates and researchers who have links to China’s military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and appropriating sensitive research.
In a speech, Wolf reiterated U.S. accusations of unfair trade practices and industrial espionage by China, including attempts to steal the coronavirus investigation, and accused the U.S. of abusing student visas to exploit U.S. academics.
Wolf said the US also “does not allow goods made with slave labor in our markets, and has demanded that China respect the inherent dignity of every human being” a clear reference to the alleged abuse of Muslims in the far west of Xinjiang, China.
A State Department spokeswoman said to Reuters news agency on Wednesday that the visa action was implemented under a declaration made by President Donald Trump on May 29 as a response to China’s plans to implement national security laws on Hong Kong.
“By September 8, 2020, the ministry had withdrawn more than 1,000 visas from nationals of the People’s Republic of China who were subject to Presidential Proclamation 10043 and therefore not eligible for a visa,” the anonymous spokeswoman said using the initials for the People’s Republic of China.
She said the ineligible “high-risk students and research scientists” represented “a small subgroup” of Chinese who come to the U.S. to study and do research, and who are legitimate students and scientists.
China said in June that it opposes any U.S. movement to prevent Chinese students from studying in the U.S. and urged Washington to do more to improve exchange and mutual understanding.
Some 360,000 Chinese are studying in the U.S. and earning substantial income for higher education, despite the OVID 19 pandemic that severely affected the new semesters.
Relations between China and the US have fallen to historic lows, with the world’s two largest economies colliding on issues ranging from trade and human rights to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.
Trump, who had established friendly relations with Chinese President Xi Jinping when he tried to fulfill his promises to close a huge trade deficit, dealt a blow to the Chinese reelection campaign on November 3.
It was previously reported that President Trump accused his democratic opponent Joe Biden, who leads the national polls, of being too soft with Beijing.
Previously, some Chinese students enrolled in U.S. universities said they had received email notifications on Wednesday from the U.S. embassy in Beijing or U.S. consulates in China informing them that their visas had been cancelled.
More than 60 students with F-1 visas, including postgraduates and students, told a WeChat group that the news said they had to apply for new visas if they wanted to travel to the US.
Many students stated that they were studying courses such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
While some mentioned that they were postgraduates with bachelor’s degrees from Chinese universities with ties to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
A senior student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was shocked when he received the news.
He said the only reason he thought of, was his previous experience at Beijing Post and Telecommunications University, which is a Chinese university known for its research in defense and security technology.
In May, knowledgeable sources told Reuters that Washington was planning to cancel the visas of thousands of Chinese university graduates believed to have ties to the Chinese military.