Not allowing Chinese to study sciences? Campbell reveals US racism, petty minds
Published: Jun 25, 2024 10:23 PM
Kurt Campbell Photo: VCG

Kurt Campbell Photo: VCG

According to Reuters, Kurt Campbell, the US Deputy Secretary of State and the second-ranked US diplomat, claimed on Monday that the US should welcome more students from China, but to study humanities rather than sciences. He said that international students studying sciences can be recruited from India, "an increasingly important US security partner."

In recent months, the US has been harassing Chinese students studying in the US under the pretext of national security, especially those in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields such as artificial intelligence, information science, cybersecurity, electrical and software engineering and electronic information engineering. Campbell's remarks directly indicate that the US does not welcome Chinese STEM students; if Chinese students come, they can only study humanities.

Why humanities not sciences? Many Chinese netizens and scholars immediately recognized that it's perhaps because studying humanities may help facilitate Western cultural "penetration" into China.

"This is a tactic akin to a color revolution or peaceful evolution," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times. The US seeks to reshape the ideological concepts and knowledge systems of Chinese humanities students, attempting to align them more closely with Western values and potentially turn them into advocates and spokespersons for US culture, institutions and strategic interests. This ulterior motive should raise concerns among all international students.

Chinese STEM students are being regarded by the US as a "national security threat," driven fundamentally by a Cold War mentality. By generalizing the national security concept, the US aims to hinder Chinese students from studying in the US, thus restraining China's technological advancement while preserving US technological edge. This reflects US petty minds and lack of confidence.

As early as April 2020, anti-China US Senator Tom Cotton stated that Chinese students should not be allowed to study sciences in US colleges and universities and that they should only learn about Shakespeare and The Federalist Papers from the US. Campbell now repeated these cliches, echoing concerns about "security concerns" stemming from Chinese students' access to "sensitive technologies." This is nonsense and constitutes contempt and slander against Chinese students.

On one hand, the US wants Chinese students to study humanities to facilitate its long-term objectives in infiltrating China. On the other hand, it seeks Indian STEM students to boost US technological resurgence and enhance its competitive advantage over China. "Are these the US' self-proclaimed values of freedom, confidence, openness and inclusiveness toward international elites? It merely reflects highly selfish political calculations," said Li. "Instead of showing confidence, strength and development, the US only exhibits closure, blindness, racism and anxiety," said Li.

Welcoming Indian students for sciences, Campbell seems to give trust to US' security partner, however, this cannot conceal his racism. His words have in fact revealed the US' stereotypical and disdainful perception of India and its students, suggesting that the US regards India merely as a servant for its interests, reflecting inherent white supremacy, Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University, told the Global Times.

Can preventing Chinese students from studying sciences in the US really bring a competitive advantage to the US against China? The answer is clearly no. Competition between China and the US is usually described as a comprehensive race in technology, economy and military. But fundamentally, it hinges on each country's ability to attract and retain talent, and nurture future labor forces. With the US' politicized, weaponized, and increasingly toxic educational and research environment, this selective, discriminatory and politically unhealthy atmosphere does not benefit the US' academic talent cultivation, but rather makes more and more talents reconsider their future in the US.

Experts believe Campbell's remarks will only further weaken the US' attractiveness to Chinese students. STEM students will avoid the US due to security concerns, while humanities students will also become more vigilant. As Shen said, Chinese students hope to receive a good education in the US, not one that is self-destructive.