U.S. Embassy in China: Visa restrictions to the U.S. are minimal, but necessary to protect national security

In response to Chinese officials’ accusations that the United States is denying visas for Chinese science students to study in the United States, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing responded Thursday (July 8) that visa restrictions for some Chinese students affect only a very small number of students, but are necessary to prevent China from using U.S. technology for its own purposes.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman said the United States remains welcoming to Chinese students who come to the United States to study in fields unrelated to military technology.

China Daily, China’s official English-language newspaper, reported Wednesday that since the Biden administration took office, there has been a spate of incidents in which Chinese scholars and international students to the U.S. have been blocked or denied applications, subjected to lengthy searches and questioning at airports for no apparent reason, and even deported on the same plane, and harassed, unreasonably detained or interviewed by security services while in the U.S.

The report also said that more than 500 Chinese graduate students in science and technology were denied visas to the United States by U.S. embassies and consulates on the grounds that they did not comply with the relevant provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

According to the China Daily, the more than 500 students were all graduate students applying for doctoral or master’s degrees in the United States, most of them studying electrical and electronic engineering, computer science, mechanics, chemistry, materials science, biomedical science and other science and technology fields. Most of the schools they are planning to attend are top U.S. universities, such as Harvard University, Yale University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

An email response from a U.S. Embassy spokesman obtained by Hong Kong’s English-language newspaper South China Morning Post said, “Of the total number of Chinese students and scholars studying in the U.S., graduate students and researchers related to (China’s) civil-military integration programs who are affected by this visa policy are a very small fraction.” The spokesperson said the visa restrictions in question involve less than 2 percent of visa applicants.

The so-called civil-military integration program refers to technology cooperation projects between private and military companies, which are designed to promote the modernization of China’s defense forces.

Washington has previously accused Beijing of using the civil-military integration program to acquire foreign technology to help the People’s Liberation Army develop into what Xi Jinping calls a “world-class military force” by 2050.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman said Thursday, “We continue to welcome legitimate students and scholars from China as long as they are not involved in projects to modernize the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.”

China’s Foreign Ministry protested Tuesday against the U.S. refusal to approve visa applications for more than 500 foreign students in science and technology. “China urges the U.S. side to correct its mistake” and “stop using various excuses to impose unwarranted restrictions and suppression on Chinese students,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in the tone of a “master teacher. .

In his July 1 speech, Xi Jinping said China “will never accept the lecture of a teacher”. In his July 1 speech, Xi Jinping said that China “will not accept the lecture of a teacher”, and that he habitually pronounced the word “instructing” as “instructing”. Some netizens humorously said when talking about this matter, it seems that he still needs to be taught to pronounce the right idiom by the “teacher”.

During the decades of China’s rapid development, China has sent a large number of students and scholars to study and work in various universities and university laboratories in the United States. Many of them have completed their studies and either stayed in the United States or returned to work in their home countries. However, observers note that some of them have also taken advantage of the open academic environment at U.S. colleges and universities to steal U.S. technology and intelligence, helping China’s technological development and military power advancement, posing a serious threat to U.S. national security.

In recent years, intelligence agencies such as the FBI have continued to discover and investigate many such cases. This situation has caused great concern to the U.S. Congress and the administration. During the last U.S. President Donald Trump’s presidency, the United States began to include companies with Chinese military backgrounds on its sanctions list and to vet and adopt visa restrictions on researchers and science and technology students coming to the United States with ties to the Chinese military.