In August, the United States government sought to protect U.S. academic institutions from the pernicious influence of the Chinese Communist Party and to defend academic freedom by designating the Confucius Institute U.S. Center in Washington DC, or CIUS, as a foreign mission of the People’s Republic of China.
The move made clear that CIUS is, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, part of “Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. [college] campuses and K-12 classrooms.”
In September, the U.S. Government announced another measure taken to protect the United States from the Chinese Government’s exploitation.
In a speech outlining the threats emanating from the Chinese Communist Party, including intellectual property theft, industrial espionage and the harvest of personal data from American citizens, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the U.S. will also thwart China’s attempt to abuse American academia by revoking visas for a targeted subset of Chinese students who have been studying in the United States and pose a risk to our national security:
“We are 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.”
A State Department spokesperson said the actions on the visas followed a May 29 proclamation by President Donald Trump authorizing such measures because the Chinese government uses the activities of some Chinese students to the detriment of the interests of the United States.
“As of September 8, 2020,” the spokesperson said in a statement, “the department has revoked more than 1,000 visas of PRC nationals who were found to be subject to Presidential Proclamation 10043 and therefore ineligible for a visa.”
There are over 360,000 Chinese nationals studying in the United States. The State Department said the 1000 plus revoked visas for “high-risk graduate students and research scholars” are only a very small percentage of those students: “We continue to welcome legitimate students and scholars from China who do not further the Chinese Communist Party’s goals of military dominance.”
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Wolf declared that the Chinese Communist Party has leveraged every aspect of its power to undermine democracy and renew its commitment to remake the world order in its own authoritarian image.
But, he stressed, the United States continues to show that “while the actions of China may be unabating…they are not unthwartable.”