Beijing urged the U.S. Tuesday to “correct its mistake” of denying visas to more than 500 Chinese students linked to China’s military over concerns that they may steal intellectual property and sensitive technology to enhance the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Communist China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, expressed dismay at the rejection of the student visas, adding that the Biden administration’s decision stemmed from a Trump-era policy.
Lijian described the use of the policy as the continuation of the former president’s “evil legacy.”
He told reporters on Tuesday:
China expresses grave concern over this and has lodged solemn representations with the U.S. side. People-to-people exchanges are the foundation of China-US relations. Academic, educational, scientific, and technological exchanges are an important part of the bilateral people-to-people exchanges. They are of great significance to enhancing mutual understanding between the two peoples and promoting the steady development of China-U.S ties.
China urges the U.S. side to correct its mistakes, review Chinese students’ visa applications, stop using various excuses to restrict and suppress them, protect their legitimate and lawful rights and interests, and create a healthy atmosphere for China-US people-to-people exchanges and educational cooperation.
The State Department, which oversees the U.S. visa process, did not immediately respond to Breitbart News’s request for comment.
State Department officials rejected the Chinese students’ applications because they violated former President Donald Trump’s Presidential Proclamation 10043 that went into effect on June 1, 2020, the foreign ministry spokesperson noted.
The proclamation denies U.S. entry to post-graduate students and post-doctoral researchers affiliated with the PLA in the present or past.
Trump’s policy cites concerns that those students and researchers are “at high risk of being exploited or co-opted” by Chinese authorities to collect intellectual property from America that may benefit the modernization and overall capabilities of China’s military.
In early 2019, Adm. Philip Davidson, chief of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s (INDOPACOM), warned that China’s “massive effort to grow and modernize” the PLA was already “eroding” the United States’ “relative competitive military advantage,” echoing other Pentagon assessments.
Trump’s proclamation led to the revocation of more than 1,000 visas of Chinese nationals in September 2020, China’s state-run Global Times reported Tuesday, adding:
Despite the U.S. Embassy and consulates in China [resuming] visa appointments for students in May this year, the Global Times has learned restrictions on those with high-tech backgrounds remain in place. Such restrictions are even extended to students whose parents work in the security, immigration and anti-graft government departments.
On Tuesday, Lijian lambasted the Biden administration for using the Trump-era proclamation to reject the student visa applications of hundreds of nationals from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
President Joe Biden’s Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States, issued on his first day in office, and other similar policies enacted by executive fiat did not terminate his predecessor’s measure on Chinese student visas.
According to Trump’s proclamation, President Biden can end it. The Departments of State and Homeland Security (DHS) could also lobby the president to “continue, modify, or terminate this proclamation.”
Lijian told reporters:
We have noted that recently some Chinese students’ visa applications to study in the U.S. were denied on the grounds that they violated Presidential Proclamation 10043 signed under the Trump administration.
Relevant U.S. visa restrictions carry on a poisonous legacy of the Trump administration and run counter to the U.S. statement of “welcoming Chinese students”. They seriously violate the lawful rights and interests of Chinese students, and gravely undermine normal people-to-people exchanges and educational cooperation. They also contravene the concept of openness and freedom that the U.S. claims to champion, the trend of the times for international talent exchange, and the common aspiration of the two peoples for friendly exchanges. This is nothing short of historical backpedaling.
The state-run Global Times quoted the Foreign Ministry spokesperson as attributing the student visa denials to Trump’s “evil legacy.”
President Biden has rescinded many of the immigration-related policies implemented or recommended by his predecessor but has so far kept in place Trump’s Chinese student visas proclamation.
Biden’s DHS recently withdrew a rule proposed by the Trump administration that would have attached a fixed end date to certain student visas. The move would have effectively ended the ongoing practice of allowing student visas to remain valid as long as the international student remains enrolled in school.