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Global Times

US annulment of Chinese nationals' visas is 'blatant political persecution,' says FM

Global Times

By Fan Anqi and Cui Fandi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/11 0:22:26

The US has seriously infringed on the human rights of Chinese nationals and brought grave consequences for the personnel and cultural exchanges between the two countries, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, slamming the US annulment of more than 1,000 visas for Chinese nationals as "blatant political persecution and racial discrimination."

The US has revoked the visas of more than 1,000 Chinese nationals as of Tuesday, a US State Department spokesperson confirmed with Reuters via email on Thursday. The move is part of the Trump administration's scheme to block Chinese students and scholars from the US due to concerns over possible links with the Chinese military, Reuters reported.

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the ministry responded to the latest US move against overseas Chinese at a media briefing on Thursday, accusing the Trump administration of blatantly violating the human rights of Chinese nationals and undermining the basis of China-US relations.

It is "an obvious act of political persecution and racial discrimination," Zhao said, slamming the US' groundless excuses. The Trump administration has been treating the two countries' personnel and cultural exchanges with nothing but negative remarks and moves, which runs opposite not only to the values of openness and freedom that the US always advocates, but also with people's interests, Zhao noted.

On 1Point3Acres, an online discussion forum for overseas Chinese students and scholars, many Chinese students reported that they have received emails from the US Embassy and consulates in China, informing them their visas had been canceled.

According to a page on the forum where more than 50 students and scholars claimed to have been affected by the revocation, most of them said they have finished their undergraduate education in universities that are in the US' entity list, including Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Harbin Institute of Technology, Beijing Institute of Technology and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and are majoring in computer and communications-related areas.

Also, a few claimed to have no relations at all with the enlisted universities but got their visas revoked seemingly because they graduated from high schools affiliated to these universities.

On July 24, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established a China Working Group led by acting secretary Chad Wolf to specifically address the "intensifying threat" of China in trade, cyber-security, immigration, and intellectual property domains, according to the official website of the DHS.

Wolf said the decision was made based on charges of "unjust business practices" and "industrial espionage," including attempts by Chinese academics to steal US coronavirus research.

The group helped with a proclamation by Trump on May 29 to deny entry to Chinese graduate students and researchers using the excuse of a "wide-ranging and heavily resourced campaign" that was said to have stolen sensitive knowledge and intellectual property from the US, according to a statement from the White House.

According to Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, the US State Department's use of "national security concerns" is merely another political excuse. "President Trump is once again deflecting his failure to govern the country onto China," Li told the Global Times on Thursday.

"It is just a cover-up for the US to claim to continue welcoming legitimate Chinese students and scholars, as we all know Trump is deliberately stirring up hatred toward China among the American public," Li said. "This kind of racial discrimination will eventually backfire against the US."



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