US to Shorten Length of Visas for Some Chinese Citizens

May 30, 2018 Updated: May 30, 2018

NASHVILLE—The U.S. government plans to shorten the length of visas issued to some Chinese citizens as part of a strategy to prevent intellectual property theft by U.S. rivals, a White House official said on May 29.

The U.S. State Department will implement measures from June 11 to “enhance security for some Chinese visa applicants,” the official said.

The change would come as President Donald Trump’s administration attempts to crack down on what it says is theft of U.S. intellectual property by China.

“Going forward, a reduction in the validity of some newly issued visas is part of the National Security Strategy to ensure that intellectual property is not transferred to our competitors,” the official said, referring to a document issued by the Trump administration in December.

The document said officials would consider restrictions on visas for science and technology students from some countries to ensure “intellectual property is not transferred to our competitors.”

A State Department official said the visa application process had not changed but that consular officers may limit the validity of visas for some Chinese applicants on a case-by-case basis.

The Associated Press (AP), which first reported about the new policy, quoted a U.S. official as saying Chinese graduate students would be limited to one-year visas if they are studying in certain fields, such as robotics, aviation, and high-tech manufacturing.

Those are areas the Chinese regime has said are high-priority goals for its manufacturing sector, outlined in its economic 10-year plan, Made in China 2025.

According to AP, the official said the instructions also stated that Chinese citizens seeking visas would need special clearance from multiple U.S. agencies if they work as researchers or managers for companies on a U.S. Commerce Department list of entities needing higher scrutiny. Those clearances are expected to take months for each application, AP cited the official as saying.

In recent years, U.S. federal authorities have prosecuted several cases of Chinese nationals working in American academia who stole proprietary technology on behalf of Chinese entities.

Also on May 29, the White House announced that it would levy a 25 percent tariff on $50 million of imported Chinese tech goods, a punitive measure against China’s unfair trade practices such as industrial subsidies and prohibitive trade barriers.

By Jeff Mason and Eric Walsh. Epoch Times staff member Annie Wu contributed to this report.