Due to a policy installed in the Trump era, the U.S. government rejected the visa of 500 Chinese students because of their links to the military, which generated complaints from Chinese regime officials.
The State Department rejected the Chinese students’ applications because they violated former President Donald Trump’s Presidential Proclamation 10043 that went into effect on June 1, 2020.
Proclamation 10043 was designed to prevent students militarily active or with any ties to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from being used to steal U.S. intellectual property, especially military technology.
“The People’s Republic of China is engaged in a wide‑ranging and heavily resourced campaign to acquire sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property, in part to bolster the modernization and capability of its military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA),” wrote Trump in the proclamation.
“The PRC authorities use some Chinese students, mostly post‑graduate students and post-doctorate researchers, to operate as non-traditional collectors of intellectual property”, argued the former president.
According to Newsweek, the students had been accepted to pursue doctoral and master’s degrees at universities such as Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In February 2020, months before Trump issued the proclamation, the FBI director said China is “the greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality.”
The FBI uncovered an intricate strategy developed by the Chinese regime’s spies, who in addition to the physical theft of technology criminals seek to stop innovation in the country by using its own intelligence services, state-owned enterprises, ostensibly private companies, and many agents including graduate students and researchers.
According to Breitbart, during Trump’s tenure about 1,000 Chinese students were turned away by immigration because of their ties to the military.
With Joe Biden taking over the White House, the visa program was revived in May 2021 and Chinese students resubmitted visa applications, and some even won scholarships to study in the United States.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was upset with the decision:
“China urges the U.S. side to correct its mistakes, review Chinese students’ visa applications, stop using various excuses to restrict and suppress them, protect their legitimate and lawful rights and interests, and create a healthy atmosphere for China-US people-to-people exchanges and educational cooperation.”
In the past, Biden has favored relations with China by reversing for example a Trump policy that forced universities to disclose their ties to Confucius Institutes, also accused of serving as a base for spies for the Chinese Communist regime and furthermore of using propaganda materials to positively portray the Chinese Communist Party.
It is therefore strange that the Biden administration has maintained proclamation 10043 and that it has in fact been concretely enforced by banning students for potentially being linked to espionage.