After a semester on-line, Wang Ziwei appeared ahead to assembly classmates returning to campus at Washington University in St. Louis.

But the 23-year-old finance scholar mentioned the United States revoked his scholar visa on safety grounds.

Wang is amongst at the very least 500 college students the Chinese authorities says have been rejected under a policy issued by then-President Donald Trump to block Beijing from acquiring U.S. expertise with attainable military makes use of.

Students say the policy is utilized too broadly and fume at what they are saying is an accusation they’re spies.

“The whole thing is nonsense,” Wang mentioned. “What do we finance students have to do with the military?”

The policy blocks visas for folks affiliated with the ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, or universities deemed by Washington to be a part of military modernization efforts.

U.S. officers say they consider 1000’s of Chinese college students and researchers take part in applications that encourage them to switch medical, laptop and different delicate data to China, generally unknowingly.

Chinese officers appealed to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to drop the visa restrictions when she visited in July, in accordance to a Shanghai information outlet.

The policy is important to “protect U.S. national security interests” in response to “some abuses of the visa process” and is “narrowly targeted,” the U.S. embassy in Beijing mentioned.

More than 85,000 visas for Chinese college students have been authorized prior to now 4 months, in accordance to the embassy, which says, “The numbers show clearly that the United States stands ready to issue visas to all those who are qualified — including Chinese students and scholars.”

China is the most important supply of overseas college students within the United States. The quantity fell 20% in 2020 from the earlier yr however at 380,000 was almost double that of second-ranked India.

An engineer at a state-owned plane producer mentioned he was turned down for a visa to accompany his spouse, a visiting scholar in California finding out pediatric most cancers. The engineer, who would give solely his surname Huang, has undergraduate and graduate levels from China’s Harbin Institute of Technology, considered one of seven faculties Chinese information studies say are related to visa rejections as a result of they’re affiliated with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

“That I graduated from this school means I am a spy? “ Huang said. “What’s the difference between this and racism?”

His spouse’s fellowship was for 2 to three years, however she is going to lower that to one, “sacrificing her career” to keep away from being away from their two kids for too lengthy, Huang mentioned.

Rejection letters obtained by a number of college students cited Trump’s order however gave no particulars. Some college students mentioned they acquired rejections instantly after being requested which college they attended.

Wang, the finance scholar, mentioned he obtained a visa, however the U.S. embassy referred to as later and mentioned it was revoked.

Wang graduated from the Beijing Institute of Technology, one other college related to visa rejections due to its reference to the trade ministry. Others embody Beijing Aerospace University, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Harbin Engineering University and Northwestern Polytechnical University. Graduates of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications additionally say they’ve been rejected.

Five Chinese scientists at universities in California and Indiana had been charged final yr with mendacity about attainable military connections on visa purposes. Those prices had been dropped in July after the Justice Department mentioned an FBI report indicated such offenses typically had no connection to expertise theft.

The Chinese authorities complained in August three college students who had visas had been refused entry into the United States in Houston after military coaching pictures had been discovered of their telephones.

At Washington University, a “handful of student visas” had been affected, in accordance to Kurt Dirks, vice chancellor for worldwide affairs, who mentioned the scholars can begin the semester on-line, wait till subsequent yr or, in the event that they proceed to face visa issues, full their program on-line.

Monica Ma, 23, mentioned she was turned down for a U.S. visa to full a grasp’s diploma in data administration at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The graduate of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications mentioned she spent a yr in Australia engaged on her diploma however wants to attend lessons in particular person at Carnegie Mellon as a result of they not are taught on-line.

Ma has postponed her attendance for lessons till subsequent yr in hopes she will be able to acquire a visa by then.

Li Quanyi, {an electrical} engineering scholar from Guiyang, mentioned he was accepted by Columbia University however didn’t get a visa. Li graduated from the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

Li has moved to Hong Kong and is comfortable there.

“I am not going even if the rule changes,” Li mentioned. “The United States rejected me, and I am not going.”


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