WASHINGTON/BEIJING—The United States is blocking visas for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers to prevent them from stealing sensitive information, the acting head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said on Sept. 9.
Chad Wolf repeated U.S. charges of unjust business practices and industrial espionage by the regime in China, including attempts to steal coronavirus research, and accused it of abusing student visas to exploit American academia.
“We are 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,” he said in a speech in Washington. “Military fusion” refers to China’s development plan that seeks to integrate private-sector innovations into the military’s industrial base.
In May, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation barring Chinese graduate students and researchers who are connected to any entity that implements or supports China’s fusion strategy from seeking “F” or “J” visas to enter the United States. “F” visas are for full-time students and “J” visas are for cultural or educational exchange programs.
Wolf said the United States is 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 Uyghur and other Muslim ethnic minorities in China‘s Xinjiang region.
He didn’t offer details.
Sino-U.S. relations have sunk to historic lows with the world’s two biggest economies clashing over issues ranging from trade and human rights to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.
Earlier, some Chinese students enrolled in U.S. universities said they received emailed notices from the U.S. embassy in Beijing or U.S. consulates in China on Sept. 9 informing them that their visas had been canceled.
Almost 50 students holding F-1 academic visas including postgraduates and undergraduates said in a WeChat chatroom the notices stated they would have to apply for new visas if they wanted to travel to the United States.
By David Brunnstrom and Ryan Woo. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.