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Research Restrictions for Chinese Citizens Considered in US

The White House is considering restricting Chinese citizens from taking part in sensitive research at US universities and institutes, the New York Times reports. It adds that the Trump administration is concerned that Chinese researchers might be amassing intellectual secrets.

According to the Times, more than 1 million students from abroad study in the US and about a third are from China. This proposal, it says, would likely largely affect graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and technology company workers with temporary visas, but not green-card holders, individuals who renounced their Chinese citizenship, or those granted asylum due to persecution.

Critics say the plan is discriminatory, xenophobic, and would actually harm US research, the Times says.

"I imagine such restrictions would be particularly harmful in the long-term if it caused promising Chinese students to return to (or stay in) China rather than coming here and becoming permanent residents and citizens after finishing their training, which many currently do,” MIT's Kevin Esvelt tells Stat News.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science CEO Rush Holt says in a statement that "scientific progress depends on openness, transparency and the free flow of ideas" and that "obstructing scientific exchange based on nonspecific concerns that could be applied to broad swaths of people is ill conceived and damaging to American interests," according to Inside Higher Ed