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Not for the first time measures targeting Chinese students have been taken by the US.
An executive order was issued on 29 May 2020, becoming effective on 1 June 2020. The new measures target graduate students and post-doctoral researchers for both the F1 Student visa and the J1 Exchange visa on the basis of the claim that the People’s Republic of China is “engaged in a wide-ranging and heavily resourced campaign to acquire sensitive US technologies and intellectual property, in part to bolster the modernisation and capability of its military, the People’s Liberation Army”.
Resulting from those measures, identified Chinese graduate students will not be able to enter the US through either visas if they receive funding, are employed by, study at or have done research for a Chinese entity “that implements or supports the PRC’s military-civil fusion strategy” meaning students that have military ties.
However, undergraduate students are not concerned by the restrictions while graduate students and researchers currently holding F or J visas could lose said visas.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the restrictions severely undermined the students’ legitimate rights and interests.
An estimate of 3 000 to 5 000 Chinese students from seven Chinese institutions with direct links to the military are expected to be directly impacted by the move , representing a tiny percentage of 360 000 total Chinese students in the US, according to New York Times.
However, Alex Joske, an analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy, said that it could prove difficult to draw the line when it comes to some Chinese universities having military ties such as Tsinghua, China’s leading engineering university that is also involved in military research.
Two republican senators and one congressman also announced legislation that could bar all Chinese nationals from receiving a student or research visa for the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. However, that legislation would again only target graduate and post graduate students since many universities in the US rely heavily on full tuition payments from foreign students, many coming from China.
More information here and here