US moves bill to ban 10-year multiple-entry visa to China to curb “espionage”

Sun Online Desk

1st March, 2021 10:00:12 printer

US moves bill to ban 10-year multiple-entry visa to China to curb “espionage”

A group of US Republican senators have introduced a legislation to end China’s access to 10-year multi-entry visas until it is certified that Beijing has ceased its campaign of “economic and industrial espionage” against Washington.

The legislation, Visa Security Act, was introduced by Senators Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton, Rick Scott, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio on Friday.

If passed, it would prohibit Chinese nationals from receiving 10-year B-1/B-2 visas until the Secretary of State certifies that China has “ceased its campaign of economic and industrial espionage against the United States and ended its provocative and coercive behaviour towards Taiwan.”

The B-1/B-2 visas are issued to those who come to the US for business, visit or tourism purposes.

Under this legislation, Chinese citizens would be eligible for one-year multi-entry visas. This policy does not apply to Taiwan or certain residents of Hong Kong.

It also seeks certification from the Secretary of State that China has withdrawn its national security law with respect to Hong Kong and fully upheld its commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984; ended its systematic oppression of Uighur Muslims, Tibetans, and other ethnic groups; retracted its unlawful claims in the South China Sea; and released foreign hostages and wrongfully detained individuals in China.

US and China are currently involved in a bitter confrontation over a range of issues, including trade, the origins of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Beijing’s aggressive military moves in the disputed South China Sea and gross human rights violations.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. Beijing has also made substantial progress in militarising its man-made islands in the past few years.

Beijing claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea. But Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.

The Chinese Government sees Taiwan as a rebel province that will eventually be part of the country again. Taiwan considers itself a separate nation and rubbishes China’s claim over it.

“Until the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ends its systematic violations of human rights and religious freedom, the United States cannot remain complicit by offering 10-year multi-entry visas to Chinese nationals. The Visa Security Act will stop the revolving door the Chinese Communist Party has used for half a decade and instead demand accountability in the global human rights effort,” Senator Blackburn said.

Senator Cotton said: “Since 2014, the Chinese Communist Party has had access to 10-year business and tourist visas, which allow Chinese citizens to enter and exit the United States as they please. In issuing these visas, the US has welcomed the Chinese Communist Party, its intelligence agencies, and those they have co-opted with open arms. This was a bad decision in 2014 and it’s time we fixed this error.”

“We know Communist China will stop at nothing to steal American technology and intellectual property in an attempt to dominate the world. There is no reason Communist China should have been given preferential visa treatment, and I’m proud to work with my colleagues to continue to hold them accountable,” Senator Scott said.

“China poses the single greatest geopolitical threat to the United States. The Chinese Communist Party engages in propaganda and censorship to control what Americans see, hear, and ultimately think about China. It’s long past time to end the Chinese Communist Party’s abuse of our visa system. This bill counters China’s aggression and advances American security,” said Senator Ted Cruz.