The international students were allegedly suspected of being either government-funded or military-affiliated as photos of them receiving military instruction training were found on their phones, China Global Television Network reported.
However, the Chinese education ministry generally requires students to participate in the training before attending middle school, high school and university.
“China urges the US to correct its mistakes, stop using various excuses to restrict and suppress Chinese students, and stop undermining the cultural exchanges between China and the US,” Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said.
“China urges the US to stop using various excuses to restrict and suppress Chinese students”
Although US CBP is unable to comment on individual travellers, Yolanda Choates, Houston-based CBP spokesperson told the PIE that it is important to note, that having a valid visa does not guarantee entry into the US.
It only allows a foreign national to come to an international US airport where a CBP officer will determine the traveller’s admissibility, Choates explained.
The US Department of Homeland Security did not respond to The PIE’s request for comment by the time of the publication of this article.
The incident happened under the context of stricter restrictions faced by Chinese students, particularly those involved in science and engineering programs. These restrictions are based on overly broad criteria rather than reviewing the possible risk posed by the individual student, according to National Foundation for American Policy.
The policy is costly to the US, critics say. Between 3,000-5,000 Chinese graduate students could be prevented from entering US graduate programs each year, the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University has found.
NAFSA has recommended that the Biden administration rescind or narrow the proclamation to suspend the entry of certain students and researchers from China. The proclamation suspends entry of F and J graduate students and researcher from China if they are, or have previously been, connected to the Chinese military through funding, employment, study, or research.
However, Aadil Brar, columnist with The Print who focuses on China relations told The PIE “the greater scrutiny of students in certain sensitive fields doesn’t mean the US has a policy to restrict visas for all the Chinese students”.
Undergraduate students in most fields are likely to be allowed to study in the US at the pre-pandemic level but the examination of graduate student applications in certain fields tends to continue, he added.