In January 2021, Donald Trump left the presidency of the United States. With the end of his presidency, many Chinese students breathed a sigh of relief. During his presidency, many of Trump’s policies were extremely unfriendly to Chinese students studying in the US. It was thought that the situation would improve after he left office, but two years later, his policies are still “tormenting” Chinese students.
According to the executive orders issued by Donald Trump during his presidency, some Chinese students are still being denied visas. Forbes interviewed a PhD student from China, Tian Su (pseudonym), who has been studying in the US since 2018. This is her fifth year of doctoral studies in the field of artificial intelligence in transportation.
After being unable to return home for many years due to various reasons, Su finally embarked on a trip back to China on March 2 this year. However, shortly thereafter, the US Embassy in Beijing refused her visa to return to the US. In other words, she was unable to complete her doctoral degree. After negotiations, the university allowed her to continue studying remotely.
All of this stems from Presidential Proclamation 10043 issued by Trump in May 2020. Three years have passed, and even though the Trump administration has become the Biden administration, this presidential proclamation is still in effect.
Presidential Proclamation 10043 “Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China” denies entry to any Chinese temporary visa holder holding “F or J visas,” as well as Chinese higher education students (except undergraduate students) , researchers, visiting scholars and others related to institutions that implement or support China’s “military-civil fusion strategy,” including individuals who receive funding support from these institutions, work, study, or engage in research at these institutions, or represent these institutions in conducting research.
According to PIE News, the US Education Commission stated that they were aware that only a few graduate students were affected by this policy, such as those in specific STEM disciplines or those associated with certain organizations. The US Education Commission also stated that transparency and openness in policy implementation would be more beneficial to students and schools.
Forbes reported that according to US State Department data, US consular officials rejected visas for 1,964 Chinese citizens due to the presidential proclamation in 2021, of which 47 people successfully appealed the initial refusal.
Data for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 have not yet been released, but it can be expected that regardless of how many people are denied visas, the impact of this proclamation will be greater than the number of rejections, because many students and researchers who expect to be rejected will simply give up applying for visas after having this psychological expectation.
Sarah Spreitzer, Assistant Vice President for Government Relations and Chief of Staff of the US Education Commission, said, “We learned from the State Department that this proclamation only affects graduate students, not undergraduate students, and only very specific STEM field graduate students when they are associated with certain organizations.”
So the plan of the US Education Commission is to continue to maintain this presidential proclamation, and they also claim that this proclamation affects less than one percent of Chinese international graduate students applying for visas to study in the US.
Although it seems that only a few people are affected, the problem is that the US State Department does not explain to the US Education Commission or the students themselves what they mean by “specific STEM fields” and “certain organizations.”
STEM graduate students intending to study in the US may have to “figure out” what the consulate means and pray that they won’t be “hit.”
Spreitzer also expressed the same meaning: “If universities and students can clearly understand which fields and organizations are closely monitored by the State Department, it will be easier for schools