Visa Restrictions for Chinese Students Alarm Academia

04 February 2019    |    11 Views

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s confrontation with China is beginning to ripple through American academic and research institutions, as a crackdown on visas for certain Chinese citizens has left the higher education community wondering how it will adapt to the administration’s effort to stop intellectual property theft and slow China’s push for technological supremacy.

Educators and academic groups fear that the additional scrutiny could hinder scientific innovation, alienate talented applicants or intensify aggressions toward Chinese scientists already in the country.

Academics are already wrestling with the increased attention. At an aerospace conference in Georgia last month, Ella Atkins, a University of Michigan professor, recalled a colleague approaching her with a dilemma.

The colleague, an assistant professor at another university, had recently led and submitted a research proposal for a federal grant. But he worried that because he was Chinese, the judges would be biased against his team.

“He said, ‘I need to figure out how to take myself off as the P.I., the principal investigator, if that’s going to compromise our project’s chances of being accepted,’” Ms. Atkins said, declining to name the academic for fear of jeopardizing his proposal. The professor, she added, was even considering withdrawing from the project completely to avoid holding back his co-researchers.

It is a sentiment that some, such as Representative Judy Chu, Democrat of California, believe underscores a tone of racism behind the policy change. The restrictions, she said, equate to targeting “an entire ethnic group of people for suspicion that they’re spies for China.”

“I think we should take specific security threats seriously, but each of those threats should be identified by the threat, not by racial groups,” said Ms. Chu, the chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Since June 11, the State Department has been restricting visas for Chinese graduate students studying in sensitive research fields to one year, with the chance to reapply every year. The move rolls back an Obama-era policy that allowed Chinese citizens to secure five-year student visas.

Le Fang, a Ph.D. student from China studying computer science at the University at Buffalo, locked up a five-year F-1 visa in 2015. But the new policy could hurt his friends whose visas recently expired, he said. They may have to fly back to China to get new visas, and they risk denials partway through their academic career.

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  • Asia's first Education Hub Portal
  • Search top colleges & universities
  • Search top schools and playchools
  • Search nearby home tutors
  • Search coaching centres for IIT & IAS
  • Search coaching centres for IELTS & other competitive exams
  • India's first Education Based job portal
  • Compare colleges, schools, tutors, coaching centres
  • Search books, uniform, student visa assistance vendors
  • Download free cbse board sample papers
  • Get reminders and details of all the competitive exams in India
  • Follow your school, college, tutors for there latest news and update
  • Asia's first Education Hub Portal
  • Search top colleges & universities
  • Search top schools and playchools
  • Search nearby home tutors
  • Search coaching centres for IIT & IAS
  • Search coaching centres for IELTS & other competitive exams
  • India's first Education Based job portal
  • Compare colleges, schools, tutors, coaching centres
  • Search books, uniform, student visa assistance vendors
  • Download free cbse board sample papers
  • Get reminders and details of all the competitive exams in India
  • Follow your school, college, tutors for there latest news and update

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