China has warned students and academics about “risks” of studying in the United States, informing them of a surge in visa denials and delays as tensions broil between the two countries.
In a statement on Monday, the Chinese Ministry of Education called on students and scholars to conduct proper risk assessments before studying abroad.
The ministry “reminds students and academics of the need to strengthen risk assessment before studying abroad, enhance prevention awareness, and make corresponding preparations,” the statement said.
It said recently some students seeking to study in the US had encountered problems with the duration of their visas being limited and an increase in visa refusals.
“This has affected Chinese students going to study in the United States or smoothly completing their studies,” the statement added.
Chinese Global Times daily linked the warning to a trade war unfolding between China and the United States as well as “discrimination” against Chinese students.
“This warning is a response to recent series of discriminatory measures the US took against Chinese students and can also be seen as a response to the US-initiated trade war,” Hu Xijin, editor of the widely read Chinese daily, wrote on his Twitter account in English.
Some 360,000 Chinese nationals study in the US, generating about $14 billion of economic activity annually, most of it tuition and other fees.
The warning came weeks after a group of Republicans in US Congress introduced legislation intended to prohibit anyone employed or sponsored by the Chinese military from receiving student or research visas to the United States.
Last year, the Chinese embassy in Washington issued a security advisory to Chinese nationals traveling to the US, warning tourists about the perils of traveling to the country.