Trump administration mulls new restrictions on Chinese students: report

Trump administration mulls new restrictions on Chinese students: report
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The Trump administration is mulling new restrictions and more thorough background checks on Chinese students because of fears of spying, Reuters reported Thursday, citing U.S. officials and congressional sources.

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The proposed restrictions include checking prospective students' phone records and scouring their personal accounts on Chinese and U.S. social media platforms for anything that might raise concerns, including affiliations with government organizations.

China’s ambassador to the United States told Reuters that the accusations of espionage were groundless and “very indecent.”

“Why should anybody accuse them as spies? I think that this is extremely unfair for them,” Cui Tiankai said.

The Financial Times in October reported that White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and other aides earlier this year encouraged President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE to stop making visas available to Chinese nationals.

A State Department spokesperson said visa policies are based on a number of factors including national security, "in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act.

"We welcome all legitimate travelers to the United States, including Chinese students," the spokesperson said. 

They did not move forward with the proposal because of concerns about its economic and diplomatic impact, the newspaper reported.

In May, the administration announced it would impose limitations on some visas given to Chinese students, specifically those studying fields like robotics, aviation and high-technology manufacturing.