China has accused the US of racial discrimination and political persecution over its decision to revoke the visas of 1,000 students.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has said his department 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”, reports ABC.
He continued by saying that China was “abusing student visas to exploit American academia”.
Chinese students make up the largest group of foreign students at US colleges and universities, with about 370,000 enrolled.
A US state department spokesman described those whose visas were revoked as “high-risk graduate students and research scholars”.
She added, “We continue to welcome legitimate students and scholars from China who do not further the Chinese Communist Party’s goals of military dominance.”
The Chinese foreign ministry denounced the move at a daily media briefing in Beijing, according to the BBC.
“This action seriously violates the human rights of these Chinese students,” spokesman Zhao Lijian said, adding that China reserved the right to respond.
As yet, no Chinese students have been convicted of espionage.
More and more Chinese students in the US say they are facing increased hostility and suspicion on university campuses.