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Denied U.S. Visas, Chinese Students Are Fighting Back

By Science

July 30, 2021

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A growing group of Chinese students have been barred from the United States based on a clause in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act that allows the U.S. president to identify aliens whose entry would be "detrimental to the interests of the United States." In May 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed a proclamation that invoked the clause to bar Chinese graduate students and postgraduate researchers with ties to an entity in China "that implements or supports China's 'military-civil fusion strategy.'"

Now Chinese students with visa problems and their supporters are fighting back against what they see as an arbitrary and discriminatory policy. Armed with a website and a Twitter account, the students have written to more than 50 top U.S. research universities to focus attention on their plight. They are getting a sympathetic hearing in the U.S. academic world.

The group is also discussing legal action with a U.S. immigration lawyer and recently launched a fundraising campaign.

A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said the technologies considered sensitive include quantum computing, big data, semiconductors, biotechnology, 5G, advanced nuclear technology, aerospace technology, and artificial intelligence.

It was reported in September 2020 that more than 1,000 Chinese scholars already in the United States had their visas revoked. Many others hesitate to leave the United States, fearing they won't get back in.

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