China worried US plans new student ban

Trump said to be considering clampdown amid claims some students are linked to PLA

China worried US plans new student ban
The US had 369,000 Chinese university students in 2018-2019, but there are fears that some are linked to the Chinese military. File photo from AFP.

(ATF) The Trump administration is eyeing new clamps on Chinese students studying in the US again. 

According to China Global Net, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump – who the report calls the “endless demon” – is considering new action to keep China’s students out. Pompeo provided no more details, the report added.

According US magazine Capitol Hill, Pompeo was questioned at a media programme about the US government's crackdown on Chinese citizens holding student visas and academics in research positions suspected to engagement in "espionage" activities.

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When asked whether preventing more Chinese students from entering the US for a period of time would solve the problem "faster", Pompeo said he would not disclose more details before any presidential announcement. 

"I think you will see more follow-up actions in the coming weeks and months,” Pompeo reportedly said.

Following claims that some students are secretly linked to the Chinese military, conservatives have voiced concern others on American soil may also be posing a national security threat.

Visa fraud

Amid a number of arrests on suspicion of visa fraud this year, media have said the Chinese Embassy and Consulate in the US have helped military-linked students to evade judicial investigation and assisted their return home. Suspicions were heightened amid the request that the Chinese Consulate General in Houston be closed. 

China denies the claims. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the US has used judicial powers to arbitrarily conduct nuisance investigations on Chinese students on unwarranted charges and has even fabricated charges. 

“Many Chinese students were harassed by US law enforcement officers for long periods when they were leaving via US airports,” Zhao said. “Their mobile phones, computers and other items were arbitrarily checked or even confiscated.” 

China believes such US abuse has severely infringed upon the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese students in the country and severely undermined “normal humanities exchanges and educational cooperation” between the two. 

“We urge the US to correct its mistakes immediately, not to make up excuses to justify itself, and to stop discriminatory behaviour against Chinese students studying abroad,” Zhao said. “China will continue to take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.”

Countries including the UK and Canada are seeing growing numbers of Chinese students. According to a BBC report, the number of Chinese students has grown 34% in the last two years. Meanwhile, Canada reports it has 140,000 Chinese students. The US had 369,000 Chinese university students in 2018-2019.

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Zhao insisted the US claims are untenable and cannot conceal the fact that the Washington has seriously violated international law and the basic norms of international relations, seriously damaging Sino-US ties. 

“We urge the US to stop slandering and discrediting Chinese diplomatic and consular institutions and personnel in the United States, earnestly fulfil its obligations to maintain the China-US Consular Treaty, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese diplomatic and consular institutions and personnel in the United States. 

“China will continue to take proper and necessary measures to safeguard national interests and dignity.”

Recently the Chinese consulates in San Francisco have been filmed disposing of truckloads of shredded paper.