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Some China scholars barred from US over spy fears

Some China scholars barred from US over spy fears

Washington:  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has mounted a counter-intelligence operation that aims to bar Chinese academics from the US if they are suspected of having links to Chinese intelligence agencies, the media reported.

As many as 30 Chinese professors in the social sciences, heads of academic institutes, and experts who help explain government policies have had their visas to the US cancelled in the past year, or put on administrative review, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

It follows the warning of the FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, at a Senate hearing last year that China presented "a whole-of-society threat on their end" that required a "whole-of-society response".

The FBI said on Sunday that it would not confirm or deny any investigations into the scholars' visits.

President Donald Trump's administration has sought to crack down on what it sees as intellectual property theft by Chinese scientists working at American research institutions. 

Last year, it began restricting visas for Chinese graduate students studying in sensitive research fields and warned biomedical researchers at American universities to beware of Chinese spies trying to steal information from their laboratories.

China has also for several decades denied visas to a number of influential American academics who have been critical of Beijing's human rights record.

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