Since June, over 1,000 Chinese nationals located in the United States have had their visas revoked after being labeled national security risks, as reported by CNN.
The State Department released a statement on Wednesday addressing the matter, revealing that the initiative had specifically targeted “graduate students and research scholars” at various American universities who had been determined to be “high-risk,” and were thus removed from the country.
The initiative was implemented following President Donald Trump’s Presidential Proclamation 10043, issued in late May, declaring that China “is engaged in a wide-ranging and heavily-resourced campaign to acquire sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property,” with the aim of bolstering “the modernization and capability of its military.”
The operation was carried out by both the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Acting Secretary of DHS Chad Wolf also released a statement on Wednesday, declaring that “China has leveraged every aspect of its country…demonstrating a rejection of western liberal democracy and continually renewing its commitment to remake the world order in its own authoritarian image.”
The increased diplomatic and national security scrutiny is part of the numerous retaliatory efforts against China ever since the Chinese government botched the efforts to contain the coronavirus, which has since spread all across the world and killed hundreds of thousands.
Although the worst of the pandemic seems to have passed, and the rate of infections and deaths have continued to decrease dramatically, China is still facing widespread criticism for its part in the spread of the virus. The Chinese government has also been accused of taking advantage of the global panic to continue its prior acts of aggression, including cyberattacks, theft of intellectual property, and aggressive expansion of its military.