On Thursday, Beijing responded to the US decision to revoke visas for more than 1,000 Chinese students and researchers, which the US government believed posed a security risk or had ties to the Chinese military.
Injury was behind the visa decision, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.
The move was “open political persecution and racial discrimination, which grossly violated the human rights of Chinese students,” he said at a news conference Thursday, according to the state-owned Global Times.
Beijing also warned it reserves the right to take further action, but did not elaborate.
Acting Head of Homeland Security Department Chad Wolf accused China of abusing student visas to exploit American academia when he made the visa announcement Wednesday and said China was attempting to steal coronavirus research.
In July, the Justice Department announced an indictment against two Chinese citizens – both in China – for hacking governments, dissidents and private companies, including those engaged in COVID-19 vaccine research. The indictment alleged that the hackers operated both for their own profit and for China’s main intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security.
China has denied the allegations.
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The visa action was taken on the basis of a May 29 proclamation by President Donald Trump in response to China’s brakes on Hong Kong’s autonomy, a State Department spokesperson told Reuters.
The proclamation, which came into effect on June 1, targets 3,000 to 5,000 individuals affiliated with universities or entities in China who, according to the United States, seek to acquire foreign technology for the benefit of the Chinese military.
Chinese students make up the bulk of international students in the United States, with approximately 360,000 attending American schools each year, generating approximately $ 14 billion in college revenue, although the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted returns to campus this. Autumn.
China-US relations have dropped to new lows in recent months, with the world’s two largest economies clashing over trade and human rights issues in Hong Kong and the coronavirus.
Trump, who had touted friendly ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping, made tough China a key part of his re-election campaign on November 3, and accused his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, of being “soft” against Beijing.
In the latest sign of tightening ties, China’s People’s Daily declined to publish an opinion piece by the US ambassador to China on Wednesday, saying the article did not meet its standards.
Reuters contributed to this report.