Visas are the latest weapon in a growing rivalry between the U.S. and China. This year, the U.S. canceled visas for a number of prominent Chinese scholars with government links over concerns that such exchanges are conduits for peddling influence and for espionage. Increased scrutiny has delayed visas to hundreds of Chinese students. Meanwhile, American academics continue to fail to receive visas to China.
Academic exchanges between the U.S. and China have blossomed in frequency and scope since relations were normalized in 1978. Now, as relations sour, Chinese scholars and students face suspicions of espionage and spreading propaganda. The U.S. scrutiny is especially intense for Chinese scholars affiliated with state-linked think tanks and research institutions.