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US cancels over 1,000 visas for Chinese nationals deemed security risks

The United States has revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese nationals under a May 29 presidential proclamation to suspend entry from China of students and researchers deemed security risks, a State Department spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The acting head of the US Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said earlier 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.”

In a speech, Wolf repeated US charges of unjust business practices and industrial espionage by China, including attempts to steal coronavirus research, and accused it of abusing student visas to exploit American academia.

Wolf said the United States was also “preventing goods produced from slave labor from entering our markets, demanding that China respect the inherent dignity of each human being,” an apparent reference to alleged abuses of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.

A State Department spokeswoman said the visa action was being taken under a proclamation President Donald Trump announced on May 29 as part of the US response to China’s curbs on democracy in Hong Kong.

“As of September 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 the ineligible “high-risk graduate students and research scholars” represented “a small subset” of the Chinese coming to the United States to study and research and that legitimate students and scholars would continue to be welcomed.

China said in June it resolutely opposed any US move to restrict Chinese students from studying in the United States and urged Washington to do more to enhance mutual exchanges and understanding.

Some 3,60,000 Chinese nationals study in the United States, bringing in significant revenue to U.S. colleges, although the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the return to campus this autumn semester.