US lawmakers want to tighten visas for Chinese students, researchers

People walk by Hoover Tower on the Stanford University campus on March 12, 2019.
People walk by Hoover Tower on the Stanford University campus on March 12, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A group of President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans in Congress introduced legislation on Tuesday (May 14) intended to prohibit anyone employed or sponsored by the Chinese military from receiving student or research visas to the United States.

The Bill would require the US government to create a list of scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the Chinese People's Liberation Army, and prohibit anyone employed or sponsored by those institutions from receiving the visas.

The Bill was introduced as the US and China escalated a trade war following difficult negotiations last week.

It also comes as some US officials expressed concern about the possibility of the theft of intellectual property or even espionage by Chinese nationals at US universities and other institutions.

Many US and university officials also warn about overreacting, however, arguing that it is important to acknowledge the important role Chinese scholars and students play at US institutions, while being aware of security risks.

The Bill was sponsored by Republicans Senators Chuck Grassley, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Marsha Blackburn and Josh Hawley. A companion Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Mike Gallagher.