The government of China warned its citizens on Monday of the risk in planning to study abroad at an American university, advising them to prepare for additional challenges in applying for a US student visa.
In a brief statement on its website, China’s Ministry of Education said that getting permission to study at a US college could take longer than in the past, and that the chances of visa approval had decreased. Even requests that get approved are being granted for shorter durations than they had been in the past.
“The Ministry of Education reminds students and scholars to strengthen risk assessment before going abroad to study, enhance awareness of prevention, and make appropriate preparations,” the statement read.
US-Chinese relations are entrenched in a trade war, with US President Donald Trump imposing $250 billion worth of duties on Chinese goods, and China retaliating with similar tariffs of the same sum.
Hu Xijin, editor of popular Chinese journal Global Times, observed in a tweet that recent restrictions against Chinese students have come against the backdrop of these trade tensions. In 2018, for example, the US shortened the duration of visas for Chinese aviation and robotics students from five years to just a single year.
Approximately 360,000 Chinese people study in the US at any one time, and they are accredited with contributing about $14 billion to the American economy annually, according to Reuters.
But the year-over-year increase of Chinese students choosing to study in the US fell last year to one-twelfth of the country’s 2010 figure, according to the New York Times.