US Slaps New Visa Restrictions on Chinese Communist Party Members

US Slaps New Visa Restrictions on Chinese Communist Party Members
Passengers wait in line to enter a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 25, 2020. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
Cathy He

The Trump administration has placed restrictions on the ability of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members and their families to travel to the United States.

The State Department has revised its policy to reduce the maximum duration of stay for CCP members and their immediate families who hold B1/B2 visitor visas—to one month from 10 years, a department official said in a Dec. 3 statement.

The visas are for non-immigrants traveling for business or tourist purposes.

Currently, there are around 92 million Party members in China.

The official said the measure was made in line with the Trump administration’s aim to “protect our nation from the CCP’s malign influence.”

“The CCP and its members actively work in the U.S. to influence Americans through propaganda, economic coercion, and other nefarious activities,” the official said, adding that the regime also sends agents to “unabashedly monitor, threaten, and report on Chinese nationals and Chinese-American groups” engaging in activities protected under the First Amendment.

The rule change, first reported by The New York Times, marks the latest in a series of measures by the Trump administration to push back against the CCP’s threats. It earlier canceled visas for Chinese graduate students with ties to the Chinese military, resulting in more than 1,000 visas being revoked.
The State Department has also designated a spate of organizations linked to Beijing as foreign diplomatic missions, a distinction that restricts their operations in the United States. They have included Chinese state-run media outlets, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, and a CCP front group.

This visa measure was made under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which authorizes the State Department to limit visas for groups deemed “hostile to U.S. values,” the official said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, at a news briefing on Dec. 3, criticized the move as “an escalated form of political oppression towards China by some extreme anti-China forces in the U.S.”

In September, The Epoch Times reported that a Chinese national who flew into Detroit, holding a travel visa valid for 10 years, was turned away at the airport and placed on a flight back to China. The man’s lawyer said he was likely refused entry because he had previously told U.S. consular staff in a visa interview that he was a CCP member.
Earlier this week, Chinese state media reported that U.S. authorities have interrogated Chinese airline and ship crew members arriving in the country about their CCP membership. Hua had said the regime would take unspecified “countermeasures” if the U.S. administration continues with these actions.
Cathy He is the politics editor at the Washington D.C. bureau. She was previously an editor for U.S.-China and a reporter covering U.S.-China relations.