Tension between the U.S. and China has spilled over into education as reports emerge that the Trump administration plans to revoke study visas from thousands of Chinese students with ties to Chinese military schools, the latest barb as the bad blood between the two countries escalates.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the U.S. is poised to announce they will pull visas from Chinese students who have connections to universities tied to the Chinese military, perhaps as early as this week.
The objective is to suppress suspected intellectual property theft and espionage that Chinese students have been accused of during their studies in the U.S. and could affect between 3,000 and 5,000 Chinese students at American universities.
There’s no proof that indicates the Chinese students in danger of losing their right to study in the U.S. have done anything wrong, officials reportedly told The New York Times, adding that the administration is more suspicious of the Chinese universities the students went to for their undergraduate studies.
American universities are expected to fight the call to protect the overall practice of international student exchange, as well as to preserve the full tuition international students usually pay to U.S. colleges.
Tension between the two countries has intensified since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and has threatened the trade deal Washington D.C. and Beijing signed in January.
Chinese students in the U.S. make up the largest international student population at American universities, with the 360,000 Chinese nationals enrolled at U.S. schools bringing in about $14 billion per year, according to Reuters. The move to revoke a percentage of those study visas comes as tension grows between leaders in Washington D.C. and Beijing after nearly two years of trade spats. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed a long-awaited trade deal in January in which China pledged to buy an extra $200 billion in U.S. exports over two years, though the financial hit China has taken because of the pandemic may jeopardize Beijing’s American imports. The two countries are at odds over the Covid-19 pandemic, which is believed to have originated in China but has hit the U.S. the hardest. Trump has spread a theory that the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China despite having no evidence to support the claim.
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American officials are reportedly brainstorming how to punish China for a new law that critics say could threaten democracy in Hong Kong. China’s parliament approved a new national security law Thursday that could allow anti-sedition laws to be implemented in Hong Kong and could threaten the city’s semi-autonomous nature. The controversial legislation comes after months of unrest in Hong Kong, stemming from a now-shelved move by the city’s government to create an extradition treaty with mainland China. The protest movement developed into calls for free elections, police reform, and protection of the city’s civil liberties