The Department of State is reportedly preparing to revoke the visas of some 3,000 of the more than 360,000 Chinese students currently studying in the U.S. – an all-time high – citing national security concerns as its primary reason. The 3,000 students have direct ties to the Chinese Communist party, which in many cases is footing the bill for their U.S. education.
This is a step in the right direction, but it’s time that the U.S. reassess its decision to allocate roughly one-third of its foreign student visas to Chinese students in the first place. China has long been accused of stealing Western technology, and one of the main vehicles China has used to accomplish this task is through the students sent abroad by the state.
The 2017 Equifax breach, which compromised the personal data of nearly 150 million Americans and involved several members of the Chinese military, was preceded by revelations that Chinese backed espionage was taking place on college campuses across the nation. In addition to Equifax, China is also believed to have been involved in hacks against health insurance companies records, hotels and even U.S. government personnel data.
It’s time to reassess our view of China and recognize that the totalitarian regime that runs it is more foe than friend. As such, we also need to reassess the nations that are allowed to send students to the U.S. Like all other programs, the student visa program should first and foremost promote the national interest of the United States. As such, we should take a hard look at why these valued slots are being given to foreign students and not U.S. students, as well as whether the U.S. is actually benefiting from importing students from any given nation.
Academic exchange and the exploration of new technologies should be treated as a two way street, and not be used as a vehicle for allowing China to first steal, and then market technologies that were first developed in the U.S. Foreign students should be welcomed on our college campuses. Foreign governments that use those campuses to undermine our interests should not.