The U.S. has revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese nationals under a presidential measure denying entry to students and researchers deemed security risks, the State Department said on Wednesday.
The acting head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said earlier that Washington was blocking visas “for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to China’s military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research.”
In a speech, Wolf repeated U.S. charges of unjust business practices and industrial espionage by China, including attempts to steal coronavirus research, and accused it of abusing student visas to exploit American academia.
Wolf said the U.S. was also “preventing goods produced from slave labor from entering our markets, demanding that China respect the inherent dignity of each human being,” an apparent reference to accusations of abuse of Uighur Muslims in western Xinjiang.
A State Department spokeswoman said the visa action followed a May 29 proclamation by President Donald Trump as part of the U.S. response to China’s curbs on democracy in Hong Kong.
“As of Sept. 8, 2020, the department has revoked more than 1,000 visas of PRC nationals who were found to be subject to Presidential Proclamation 10043 and therefore ineligible for a visa,” she said.
In Beijing on Thursday, a foreign ministry spokesman described the U.S. move as “naked” political persecution and racial discrimination that seriously violated human rights.