The US said it had canceled the visas of 1,000 Chinese students to stop them stealing ‘sensitive military research’

trump china
President Donald Trump holds the signed a trade agreement with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington.
  • The US says it has revoked more than 1,000 visas of Chinese graduate students and researchers who it says pose a national security risk.
  • Legitimate students from China who do not further the “Chinese Communist Party’s goals of military dominance” are welcome, the State Department said.
  • President Donald Trump said in May that Chinese nationals with connections to the military would have their visas cancelled.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US government has canceled the visas of more than 1,000 Chinese students and researchers who it says pose a national security risk. 

The State Department said on Wednesday that the administration was revoking visas of "high-risk graduate students and research scholars" from China to stop them from stealing "United States technology, intellectual property and information to develop advanced military capabilities."

Legitimate students from China who do not promote the "Chinese Communist Party's goals of military dominance" are welcome, a spokesperson added. 

Earlier on Wednesday, Chad Wolf, acting secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, said the US was "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."

The move, which comes amid growing tension between the US and Beijing, was linked to President Donald Trump's May announcement that Chinese nationals with ties to the Chinese military would have their visas canceled, the State Department said.

The May Presidential Proclamation, which came into force in June, says that 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."

China has not commented on the visa revocations, but said in June that it opposed restrictions on Chinese students studying in the US, and asked the Trump administration to help build bridges between the two countries.

Prior to the coronavirus crisis, nearly 370,000 Chinese students attended US universities. Last year, Chinese students made up a third of international students in the US, who collectively contributed around $41 billion to the US economy, according to research by the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs.

Tensions and trade disputes between Washington and Beijing have escalated in recent months. China has described the government's threat to ban Chinese-owned video app TikTok unless it sells its US business as "naked bullying."

This follows the US ordering the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston in July, and both countries restricting the other's diplomats and journalists.

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