Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) suggested on Sunday that the government should deny visas to Chinese students who want to study science in the U.S.
“It’s a scandal to me that we have trained so many of the Chinese Communist Party’s brightest minds to go back to China, to compete for our jobs, to take our business and ultimately to steal our property and design weapons and other devices that can be used against the American people,” Cotton said in an interview on Fox’s Sunday Morning Futures. “I think we need to take a very hard look at the visas that we give to Chinese nationals to come to the United States to study, especially at the postgraduate level in advanced scientific and technological fields.”
Cotton went on, “If Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that’s what they need to learn from America. They don’t need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence from America.”
U.S. law enforcement agencies have investigated numerous instances of intellectual property theft by Chinese nationals, generally in science and technology fields. Some of those suspected of theft have obtained Chinese patents for work owned and funded by the U.S., while others have duplicated U.S. research in secret labs in China.
In January, the Justice Department filed an indictment against Charles Lieber, head of Harvard University’s chemistry department, for failing to disclose funding he received from China’s “thousand talents” program. That program funds research for specific scientists, but the U.S. government has charged numerous beneficiaries of the program with intellectual property theft.