US only issues 145 visas to Chinese mainland students in July due to ‘political restrictions’ and ’declining popularity’

By Cui Fandi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/15 18:46:52

The US visa application webpage Photo: IC

Latest statistics from the US authorities show that only 145 US student visas (F-1) were issued to Chinese mainland residents in July this year, accounting 0.7 percent of the same period last year. 

According to the US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, the US Embassy in Beijing, the US Consulate in Shanghai and the US Consulate in Guangzhou issued a total of four F-1 visas in July. In terms of nationality, only 145 Chinese mainland residents received their F-1 visas from the US Bureau of Consular Affairs in July, including renewals. In contrast, it approved more than 20,000 visas for mainland students last July. 

Although some attribute the sharp drop to the Trump administration's order that international students attending online classes cannot be granted a visa, statistics show that Hong Kong and Taiwan students received far more student visas (900 combined) than their mainland counterparts in the same month. 

Amid China-US diplomatic tensions, the tightening of the US visa policy towards China has seriously affected normal academic exchanges between the two countries. 

In early September, more than 1,000 Chinese students and visiting scholars in the US had their visas revoked by the US State of Department under a presidential measure by Trump, which was slammed by many observers as "political persecution and racial discrimination".

According to Lü Xiang, a research fellow of US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the drastic fall in the number of visas granted to the Chinese mainland residents is the result of a combination of unreasonable US restrictions on Chinese mainland students and students' significantly declined wish to study in the country. 

Chinese students have long been an important and dynamic part of US universities, especially in science and engineering, Lü said. "Expulsion or losing Chinese students is ultimately bound to harm US academia in the long run," he added.


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