China Furious After US Plays Hardball

Beijing lodged a formal protest against the United States over its treatment of some Chinese nationals returning to the US to study in recent months, claiming that some were subjected to hours of interrogation, had their electronic devices monitored, and in some instances were forcibly deported, the Associated Press reported.

In a January 28 statement, Xie Feng, China’s Ambassador to the United States demanded that the US “immediately stop the groundless interrogation, harassment, and repatriation of Chinese students.”

Ambassador Xie accused the US of denying entry to dozens of Chinese with valid visas in recent months when the students returned to the US after visiting relatives or traveling overseas.

Xie claimed that the students were met at the airport by officers who interrogated them for eight hours while preventing them from contacting family. He alleged that the officers “made groundless accusations” against the students “and even forcibly repatriated them and banned their entry” into the United States.

About one-third of all foreign students in the United States, 290,000, are from China.

In a separate statement, the Chinese Embassy said it had contacted the federal government about the treatment Chinese students faced when arriving at Dulles Airport in Washington. The statement also instructed Chinese nationals to use caution when returning to the US via Dulles.

Chinese state-controlled media reported at least three incidents since November when students arriving at Dulles were stripped of their student visas and given a five-year ban on entering the US following hours of interrogation.

According to the reports, the students were asked if their education was funded by the Chinese government, if they belonged to the Chinese Communist Party, and if their research was tied to the Chinese military, government, or state-run laboratories. The three students were studying at Yale, the University of Maryland, and the National Cancer Institute.

Chinese state media reported that at least eight Chinese students with valid visas were repatriated since November.