Reuters, WASHINGTON and BEIJING
The US has revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese under a May 29 presidential proclamation to suspend entry from China of students and researchers deemed security risks, a US Department of State spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
Acting US Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said 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.”
Wolf in a speech repeated charges of China’s unjust business practices and industrial espionage, including attempts to steal COVID-19 research, and accused it of abusing student visas to exploit US academia.
The spokeswoman said that the action on visas was being taken under a proclamation US President Donald Trump announced on May 29 as part of the US response to China’s curbs on democracy in Hong Kong.
“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 said.
She said that the ineligible “high-risk graduate students and research scholars” represented “a small subset” of the Chinese visiting the US to study and research, and that legitimate students and academics would continue to be welcomed.
China yesterday accused the US of political persecution and racial discrimination, and said it reserves the right for further reaction.
The US move was a violation of the human rights of the students, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) told a regular news briefing in Beijing.
Earlier, some Chinese students enrolled in US universities said that they had received e-mailed notices from the US embassy in Beijing or US consulates in China informing them their visas had been canceled.
A student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was shocked to have received the notice.
The only reason he could think of would be his previous experience at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), a university known for its defense and security technology research.
“I studied at BUPT before year two, but I have no connections with that university since,” he said, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.
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