Students and academics from China say they are facing extra scrutiny at the U


Advertisement“It used to be that it was an honor to study in the United States.
The frictions are driving a deeper wedge between China and the United States at a time when they’re trying to stabilize relations and tamp down tensions.
Chinese nationals studying in the United States have been under extra scrutiny for the past four years, since a Trump-era rule barred students — especially in science and tech fields — with suspected military links.
It is difficult to quantify the number of Chinese students who have been rejected at the border, with both Chinese and U.S. officials declining to provide detailed figures.
The number of Chinese students in the United States has fallen more than 20 percent from 370,000 in 2019, according to State Department figures.
“No matter how the United States views China — partner or enemy — you need to understand the other side.
Some U.S. lawmakers defend the tough stance on Chinese students, accusing the Chinese Communist Party of weaponizing them as a conduit to take U.S. innovation back to China.
She said discussions among other students center on fears that a potential Trump administration could mean a further ratcheting-up of restrictions on Chinese students.
Ashley Chen, 23, a recent graduate of Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University, is applying for doctoral programs in the United States.
But the increasingly frequent tales of difficulties and uncertainties have some warning that the United States is losing its luster.

Keep your cool. Answer their inquiries, but refrain from offering more help than is requested. Get the phone number of an attorney ready. Don’t include any Chinese Communist Party insignia when packing apparel from Western brands. Such advice about navigating the U.S. S. Chinese students who are dissatisfied with border control have taken to online discussion forums to vent about being interrogated for hours at a time and having their belongings searched. S. airports en route to universities in the United States.

Others talk of the confusion and heartache they felt when their visas were canceled without a reason and they were turned away at the border.

Chinese academics, officials, and students claim that the U.S. is unfairly targeting them. s. authorities at the border, compounding the growing skepticism and disillusionment of Chinese students — a vital source of funding and talent for American colleges — regarding the viability of studying here.


Prior to recently, studying in the US was considered an honor. It had to be the U.S. for some parents. S. or nothing, but that feeling has faded,” stated Wuhan, China civil servant Leon Mei, whose 17-year-old son is applying to US universities as well as those in Britain and Australia.

Amidst efforts to defuse tensions and restore stability in their relationship, the frictions between China and the US are becoming more intense. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping promised to increase the number of students who study in their respective nations during their November meeting in California. Increasing the number of students should have been one of the simplest things to tackle out of the long list of unsolvable problems, which includes trade sanctions and Taiwan.

It hasn’t worked like that.

Since a Trump-era regulation prohibited students with suspected military ties from enrolling in American universities, particularly those in science and technology, Chinese nationals studying there have been the subject of increased scrutiny for the past four years.


Under the Biden administration, that policy has persisted. Chinese officials have charged that since the beginning of the year, the administration has “groundlessly” detained and revoked the visas of Chinese students upon their arrival in the U. s. denying them access to airports. Wang Xiaohong, China’s minister of public security, instructed Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, to cease “harassing and interrogating Chinese students for no reason” last month. “.

Speaking with The Washington Post, six Chinese students and two visiting scholars recounted being questioned about their research, families, and potential ties to China’s ruling Communist Party shortly after they arrived in the country. Two of them had their visas revoked and were sent back home right away. All but one had previously been granted entry with valid visas and were in the middle of their studies.

It is hard to estimate how many Chinese students—both Chinese and U.S.—have been turned away at the border. s. Officials declined to give specific numbers. However, according to the State Department, the quantity of Chinese students seized and determined to be ineligible for admission at U. s. ports, which account for less than 0.1 percent of new arrivals, have stayed steady in recent years. Figures about how that compared to other nationalities were declined by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department.

Individuals in the two largest economies in the world have been able to better understand and know one another for decades through academic exchanges. Chinese students, whose enrollment in U.S. S. Schools—which almost tripled in number between 2009 and 2019—have long been a major source of funding for American colleges in addition to providing talent in fields related to science, engineering, and technology.


However, both sides have experienced a decline in population due to the worsening bilateral environment and the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to State Department data, there are now less than 20 percent as many Chinese students studying in the US as there were in 2019. That number was 370,000 in 2019.

Meanwhile, there are less than 1,000 American students in China, compared to over 10,000 prior to the pandemic, but this hasn’t stopped China’s authorities from establishing the lofty target of having 50,000 U.S. s. within five years, students in China.

The Ministry of State Security, Beijing’s potent state intelligence agency, now has jurisdiction over foreign nongovernmental organizations operating in China as a result of a 2016 law, which is one of the measures Beijing has used to suppress organizations that have historically supported the exchanges. Concerns about wrongful detentions and exit bans are still top of mind, according to a State Department official.


The decline in exchanges will hurt both nations.

“You have to comprehend the other viewpoint, regardless of how the United States perceives China—as an ally or an adversary. The director of Tsinghua University’s Center for International Security and Strategy and a visiting scholar at Stanford University, Da Wei, was recently stopped for questioning while traveling into the United States. “If this trend continues five years or ten years, you will lose a generation of China watchers,” he said.

At the border, turned around.

Eric Xu, 26, went on vacation to Mexico in May of last year after completing his graduate studies in math and data mining in Texas. After his return, he was questioned about his studies in a small, dimly lit room at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

Xu perceived a change in tone from the agent when he mentioned his interest in machine learning, a subfield of artificial intelligence. They took and examined his phone and computer.


Xu, who was waiting for an H1B work visa and was still on his student visa, was notified that his visa had been revoked and that he would not be returning to the country. The Trump-era regulation PP10043, which prohibits graduate students suspected of having ties to China’s military-civil fusion program, was cited as the reason he was told he was not allowed entry.

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Before moving to Dallas, Xu claimed to have studied at a low-status private university in Nanjing that had ties to one of China’s “seven sons of national defense,” a prestigious network of universities engaged in military research. He claimed that no one would compare the college to the seven sons because it was a “diploma mill.”. “I attempted to clarify that they are radically different, but they refused to hear me,” he remarked.

An additional Chinese scholar stated that he was unable to enter the United States at all.

Promoting something.

The man claimed that he was detained for more than five hours after landing at Boston Logan Airport, despite the fact that he was en route to begin a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University.

His post on Xiaohongshu, China’s equivalent of Instagram, said, “Waiting there and feeling like a lamb ready to be killed.”. He made available the questions that the officers posed to him prior to denying him entry on the grounds that he had attempted to evade the presidential proclamation by obtaining a work visa rather than a student visa.

In an interview with The Post, he verified his story, but he chose not to comment further because he had family in China.

Harvard declined to comment, and CBP stated that it would not discuss specific choices made by individuals. In a statement, however, it stated that “all foreign visitors seeking to enter the United States, including all U.S. s. citizens, you are being investigated. A senior State Department official went on to say that entry into the US is not guaranteed even with a visa.

Promoting something.

Students who have had their visas canceled cannot get them back unless they file a motion to have Customs and Border Protection review the decision.

Certain U. s. Lawmakers support the strict measures taken against Chinese students, claiming the CCP is using them as weapons and using them as a means of obtaining U.S. s. innovation returning to China.

This must end. Essentially, we are financing our own possible demise,” said Representative. Gallagher, Mike (R-Wis. ), the head of a House committee tasked with opposing Beijing, stated in an opinion piece published in January. He addressed U. s. universities to cease permitting Chinese students connected to PLO-affiliated universities to carry out research in the US; he claimed that this practice has strengthened Beijing’s efforts to modernize its military.

Disenchantment increases.

Chinese students’ and their families’ concerns about studying in the US are being compounded by these stories of visa and entry difficulties. Gun crime, anti-Chinese sentiment, and the possibility of being unable to obtain work visas after graduation were already significant concerns.


“Having family wealth at stake is a significant amount of money.”. Min, a Chinese student enrolled in a graduate program in science from Maryland, described it as “like gambling.” She agreed to have her last name withheld to protect her immigration status. According to her, conversations among other students are mostly focused on worries that more restrictions on Chinese students might be imposed in the event of a Trump administration.

Chinese students are also concerned that staying too long in the US may make it more difficult for them to secure employment in government-affiliated or state-run businesses when they return home.

Nonetheless, the United States continues to be a popular choice for many young Chinese people. Following her graduation from Tsinghua University in Beijing, Ashley Chen, 23, is submitting applications to US doctoral programs. She emphasized that she wanted to attend the top political science school, saying, “It’s about what’s practical.”.

However, there is some indication that the United States is becoming less appealing based on the stories of hardships and uncertainty that are becoming more common.

Customs and Border Protection agents questioned Clyde Yicheng Wang, an assistant professor of politics and East Asian studies at Washington and Lee University, just one month ago as he was getting ready to board a plane from Charlotte to London.

Wang was surprised; did he know anyone in the party, and were his parents CCP members? 98 million people have joined the CCP in China, mostly just as a way to network.

Wang claimed that rather than feeling as though he was in a democracy, the airport experience was more akin to being in China.

We discuss China’s status as a surveillance state, and you get to the U. S. and the United. S. appears to be a state that conducts surveillance, according to Wang. “I can absolutely see that turning into a depressing moment. “.

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