Chinese media: US new visa limit may deter students

Published 15/06/2018

The recent decision to shorten the length of visa issued to Chinese student applicants in certain “sensitive” subject areas made the headlines in the Chinese media, with much of the commentary suggesting that other countries or China itself may benefit from the new rule.

Beginning June 11, the US State Department recently confirmed new screening instructions that could result in one-year visa for Chinese international students who plan to study in some STEM fields in the US.

Some Chinese media criticised that the new policy as “destructive” towards the USA’s economy and technological development.

“They may not consider US as one of the option like before”

AI Era, a Chinese media company publishing on technology and internet sector, claimed that the new policy discourages Chinese students from studying in US universities and could motivate them to study in their home country or elsewhere.

Thus, it will gradually lead to a decline in quality of students which can negatively impact the American STEM field in long run.

“Some of my students are considering to finish their postgraduate [degree] in Japan or other countries, these places may be easier to obtain visas and achieve their future plans,” confirmed Zhang-tao, an aviator and robotics lecturer from Tsinghua University. “They may not consider US as one of the option like before.”

Some of the coverage allied the move to the new tariffs on Chinese imports imposed by Trump and associated restrictions on investment into the US high-tech industries.

Despite concerns of whether the new policy will affect the progress of China’s “Made in China 2025” industrial strategy (turbo-boosting its manufacturing and high-tech capabilities), Chinese media believes that this sort of restriction from the US will not have a massive effect on China’s own ambitious plans.

Wen Wei Po, a state-owned Hong Kong based newspaper, explained that Chinese students can choose to study in the European Union or accelerate their own research and development as an alternative.

The US may not have the absolute advantages on technology and aviation development compared with EU, it noted.

“The inflow of Chinese talents helps to stimulate competition of US economy and technology development. Now, Trump wants to keep skilled workforce out of the door of the United States. In the long run, he is actually doing something “destructive” to the US’s economy.”

The South China Morning Post ran a story in which students said the news would not affect their plans, although one student said he felt there could be more commitment from students to contributing to Made in China 2025 in the long run.

According to the US government, there are more than one million international students who currently study in the States, about one-third of them are from mainland China and a large portion are studying in STEM fields.

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