The Trump Administration has started taking aim at China’s best and brightest schooling in the US, scrutinizing researchers with ties to Beijing and restricting student visas.
Several Chinese graduate students and academics say that recent weeks that they found the US academic and job environment increasingly unfriendly.
China’s Education Ministry issued a warning Monday on the risks of studying in the US as student visa rejections soar.
The developments underscore how the trade dispute is changing the relationship between to the world’s 2 largest economies, from 1 of greater reliance to increasing suspicion.
President Trump’s expanding curbs on Chinese goods and China’s move to set up a sweeping blacklist of “unreliable” foreign entities since their trade talks broke down have helped fuel new Wall Street warnings about a possible global recession.
Education has been a strong point of cooperation between the 2 nations, with a surge of Chinese students filling American university coffers while giving the country access to some of the world’s best research hubs.
The US hosted more than 360,000 students from China last year, according to a report by the Institute of International Education, more than any other country.
Annual student visa renewals, which previously took about 3 weeks, are now dragging on for months, according to several Chinese doctorate candidates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
“The actions of the US side are causing a chill in China-U.S. educational exchanges and cooperation,” Xu Yongji, deputy director of the Education Ministry’s Department of International Cooperation and Exchange told a briefing Monday in Beijing. “We hope that the US side will correct its wrong practices as soon as possible, take a more positive attitude, do more things conducive to promoting bilateral educational exchanges and cooperation.”
The Ministry criticized what it said were groundless US accusations of “non-traditional espionage activities.”
The Ministry has cautioned Chinese students about the risks of pursuing an American education only to be denied entry far into the process, an message that highlights a change in attitude in Beijing even if it won’t actively curb applications.
The US State Department did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.
The Trump Administration vowed in its 2017 National Security Strategy to review visa procedures and consider restrictions on foreign science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — students from designated countries to ensure that intellectual property is not transferred to competitors. Last June, the US State Department said it would limit the visas for Chinese students studying science and engineering.
President Xi has repeatedly called for “indigenous innovation” in core technologies since taking power in Y 2012, and the country has sped up reforms in higher education.
The US ranked 6th on the 2018 Global Innovation Index released by institutions including Cornell University and INSEAD, China ranked 17th.