U.S. revokes more than 1,000 visas of Chinese nationals, citing military links

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Department of Homeland Security emblem is pictured at the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) located just outside Washington in Arlington, Virginia September 24, 2010. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has revoked more than 1,000 visas of Chinese nationals as of this week, a State Department spokeswoman said on Wednesday, as part of the Trump administration’s push to block entry of students and researchers from China it believes have links to the Chinese military.

In a May 29 proclamation, President Donald Trump restricted the entry of certain Chinese students and researchers to the United States, saying they were being used in Beijing’s campaign to acquire sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual property.

The State Department began implementing the rules effective June 1.

“As of September 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,” a department spokeswoman said in emailed comments to Reuters.

The department has broad authority to revoke visas, she said, and exercises that authority when information comes to light time indicating that a visa holder may be inadmissible to the United States or otherwise ineligible for a visa.

She did not share specific details of whose visas had been revoked.

Earlier on Wednesday, dozens of Chinese students enrolled in U.S. universities said they received emailed notices from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing or U.S. consulates in China informing them their visas had been canceled.

Some 360,000 Chinese nationals who attend U.S. schools generate annual economic activity of about $14 billion, largely from tuition and other fees. U.S. officials have said the visa actions affect a small portion of those students.

“We continue to welcome legitimate students and scholars from China who do not further the Chinese Communist Party’s goals of military dominance,” the spokeswoman said.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney