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China Protests Treatment of Chinese Students Arriving in the U.S.

The Chinese government has lodged a formal protest with the United States over the treatment of Chinese students arriving in America, citing instances of prolonged interrogations, electronic device inspections, and deportations.

The Chinese ambassador in Washington, Xie Feng, expressed concerns regarding the treatment of Chinese students holding valid visas, emphasizing that such actions are “absolutely unacceptable.”

Chinese Students Facing Interrogations and Deportations

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Chinese students returning to the United States for studies or visiting relatives have encountered difficulties at U.S. entry points.

They have reported undergoing extensive interrogations, facing electronic device checks, and, in some instances, being forcibly deported from the country.

Ambassaddor Highlights Issues

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Ambassador Xie Feng raised these issues during an event at the Chinese Embassy, specifically highlighting cases where students were questioned for up to eight hours and barred from contacting their parents.

Challenging Bilateral Relations

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The protest from China coincides with efforts by both the United States and China to enhance student and other exchanges in a bid to improve their bilateral relations.

In recent years, tensions have arisen over trade, technology, human rights, and differing visions for the future.

Significant Presence of Chinese Students in the U.S.

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According to the Chinese Embassy, nearly 290,000 Chinese students are currently studying in the United States, constituting approximately one-third of all international students in the country.

China itself boasts more than 1.3 million students studying abroad, the highest number worldwide.

Protest Focuses on Treatment at Dulles Airport

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While the protest centers on the treatment of Chinese students arriving at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., it remains unclear whether Ambassador Xie’s comments encompass cases at other U.S. entry points.

Specific Cases and Interrogations

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Reports from China’s state media have highlighted at least three cases at Dulles Airport since November in which Chinese students lost their valid student visas, received five-year entry bans, and were repatriated following lengthy interrogations.

Affiliation With CCP Questioned

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During these interrogations, students were questioned about the source of their study funding, their affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party or its youth arm, and any potential ties between their research and the Chinese government, military, or state laboratories.

The affected students had intended to study at institutions such as the National Cancer Institute, Yale University, and the University of Maryland.

Repatriation and Lack of Response

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At least eight Chinese students with valid documents have been repatriated from the United States since November, as reported by state media.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the American Embassy in Beijing have not issued statements in response to these developments.

Electronic Device Checks and Psychological Impact

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The Chinese Embassy’s statement revealed that affected students had their electronic devices inspected, were denied communication with anyone outside, and, in some instances, were held for more than 10 hours.

These actions have not only disrupted the studies of Chinese international students but have also caused significant psychological distress.

Contradiction to Bilateral Agreement

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The Chinese Embassy underscored that the treatment of these students contradicts the agreement reached between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping during their November 2023 meeting, which aimed to promote people-to-people exchanges and strengthen ties between the two nations.

Ongoing Diplomatic Tensions

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China’s protest against the treatment of Chinese students arriving in the United States reflects ongoing diplomatic tensions and concerns over the well-being of students at U.S. entry points.

As both countries seek to improve relations, addressing these issues will be crucial in fostering a positive atmosphere for international students.

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