Tensions have continued to increase between the US and China as Beijing claims it has proof of Washington’s fly planes coming too close to home, and the US tries to force the sell-off of TikTok…
US officials are claiming that they are targeting more than 1,000 Chinese nationals studying in the US who have previously attended schools in China with links to the Chinese Military. The Department of Homeland Security’s Acting Secretary, Chad Wolf, said, “We are blocking visas for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to China’s military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research.”
However, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry argued that this decision amounts to racial discrimination, and it presents human rights concerns for the students impacted by it. Zhao Lijian said, “The US government blatantly took measures that damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese students studying in the US. It is outright political persecution and racial discrimination, and seriously violated the human rights of Chinese students studying there.”
Last year, there were around 370,000 Chinese nationals studying in the US, so this decision impacts a small fraction, but we have seen dozens of students speaking out on social media and saying their visas were wrongfully revoked.
Both countries are continuing to step up their presence in the region, and China claims it has more evidence of the US flying spy planes that are coming too close to home.
This week, they faced off at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, during its annual conference, which is being held virtually. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to China as a “bully” and encouraged the other states in the group to cut ties with state-owned businesses.
China’s Foreign Minister argued that the US is the aggressor in the region, and that all of the moves Beijing has made have been in the name of self-preservation and national security.
Meanwhile, the deadline the Trump Administration gave TikTok to sell its US operations is fast approaching, and reports are suggesting that TikTok’s parent company is still in talks with the US and they are considering a number of options. According to a report from the WSJ, “The outcome would likely involve some sort of restructuring of TikTok… in which TikTok takes on a U.S. technology partner that helps secure its data and potentially takes a minority stake.” One of the main possibilities could involve “some sort of restructuring of TikTok… in which TikTok takes on a U.S. technology partner that helps secure its data and potentially takes a minority stake.”
TikTok does have still have a lawsuit pending against the US Government, so it’s not clear what they will agree to, and if it will happen before that deadline.