China slams US over cancellation of more than 1,000 Chinese student visas
The vast majority of agents in the United States are Chinese citizens
Beijing is increasingly using Chinese students at American universities as pawns in the PRC’s spy war against Washington and its allies. This statement was made on Monday by the deputy chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat Mark Warner..
“In the overwhelming majority of cases, when conducting counterintelligence operations on the territory of our country, it turns out that Chinese citizens are involved in these cases,” Warner said during yesterday’s meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington..
“Chinese intelligence services literally intimidate Chinese families … If your son or daughter returns (from the US) without (someone else’s) intellectual property, your family will be in danger,” the senator said..
Concerns about the influx of Chinese students to the United States have been expressed before. In April, FBI Director Christopher Ray warned that Chinese intelligence is using a “public approach” to steal scientific research and technological discoveries. The plan, Ray says, involves student involvement in intellectual property theft schemes..
“The academic sector needs to be much more comprehensive and thoughtful about how other (states) can use the open, collaborative research environment … in our country,” Ray said at the time..
Chinese people make up nearly a third of all foreign students attending American colleges and universities. More than 360,000 Chinese students studied in the United States in the 2017-2018 academic year, according to the Institute for International Studies..
Until now, many American universities gladly accepted students from the PRC, seeing them as a stable source of income..
“Universities are becoming dependent on this source of income. All of these students pay 100 percent of their tuition fees, ”added Senator Warner..
According to government officials, academic institutions are gradually learning about the dangers that can come from both students from the PRC and from Beijing’s government initiatives to promote Chinese learning in the world, for example, from the Confucius Institutes network..
These institutes have been established at several American universities to promote the Chinese language and culture. However, Warner recalled that now in academic circles, these institutions are viewed as “agents of the Chinese special services who monitor Chinese students and bring them to justice.”.
In addition, it is increasingly difficult for Chinese students to obtain the visas required to study in the United States. Last year, the State Department cut visas for Chinese graduate students studying robotics, aviation and modern manufacturing from five years to one year. In early June, according to the PRC authorities, 13.5% of students could not come to the United States due to visa refusals..
Senator Warner added on Monday that American scientists should also be very wary of travel proposals to China..
“If you are unexpectedly offered a fully paid lecture trip at a Chinese university, make sure you do not take your computer with you. Take disposable mobile phones with you, ”Warner warned, hinting at the possibility that the inviting party could steal valuable information from American researchers while on the trip..