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More Than 500 Chinese Students Were Denied U.S. Visas Over Security Concerns



The situation has added to frustration over a Trump-era policy meant to stop Chinese students from acting as spies in sensitive industries and research.

Civil-Military Spies

Chinese nationals currently make up the largest group of foreign students in the United States, but they’ve become increasingly outraged by what many perceive as unfair treatment by the U.S. government.

The Chinese government claims that at least 500 students had their visa applications rejected because of a Trump-era policy. The policy is intended to block people with ties to the military wing of the Communist Party, People’s Liberation Army, or universities that the U.S. thinks work directly with the Chinese military.

In a 2020 report, the State Department described this relationship as a “civil-military fusion,” adding that “Joint research institutions, academia and private firms are all being exploited to build the PLA’s future military systems — often without their knowledge or consent.”

The U.S. is also concerned that many students who come to the states to take part in sensitive research projects are then encouraged to send information back to China, effectively working as spies.

Restrictions like those imposed by the U.S. aren’t unheard of around the world and are relatively common in key industries, but some think the U.S. is applying them too broadly. In fact, it’s common for rejected applicants to simply be told that they were rejected over security concerns without any further explanation.

Wang Ziwei, a student who spoke to the Associated Press, said his visa was rejected because of security grounds; however, he was studying finance.

“The whole thing is nonsense. What do we finance students have to do with the military?” Wang told the outlet. Other denied students who worked in broad fields such as electrical engineering or information management were left similarly baffled by their rejections.

New Administration, Old Rules

The strict criteria for Chinese students have continued into the Biden administration, despite the President’s insistence on changing many of the policies from Trump’s time in office. In July, Chinese diplomats asked U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to drop the visa restrictions, though that request was largely ignored.

The U.S. has claimed that the issue doesn’t affect nearly as many students as the raw numbers make it out to seem. According to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, around 85,000 Chinese students have been approved in just the past four months. About 380,000 Chinese students currently study in the U.S., despite a 20% dip in 2020 that is largely due to the pandemic. That’s over double the amount of India, the country that sends the next most amount of students.

Chinese officials aren’t the only ones asking the U.S. to reconsider anti-Chinese, Trump-era policies. A group of 177 Standford professors sent an open letter to the U.S. Justice Department this month asking for a similar policy aimed at researchers to be dropped. The group claims that the policy, alongside others like restrictions on students, opens the door to racial profiling and discouraged many qualified scholars from attempting to come to the U.S.

See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Forbes) (SCMP)


95-Year-Old Woman Dies After Police Tases Her in Nursing Home



The officer involved was suspended with pay and charged with assault.

A 95-year-old Australian woman whom police tasered in a nursing home last week has reportedly died from her injuries.

Clare Nowland, who had dementia and required a walking frame to stand up and move, was living at the Yallambee Lodge in Cooma in southeastern Australia.

At about 4:15 a.m. on May 17, police and paramedics responded to a report of a woman standing outside her room with a steak knife.

They encountered Nowland, then reportedly tried to negotiate with her for several minutes, but she didn’t drop the knife.

The five-foot-two, 95-pound woman walked toward the two officers “at a slow pace,” police said at a news conference, so one of them tasered her.

She fell to the floor and reportedly suffered a fractured skull and a severe brain bleed, causing her to be hospitalized in critical condition.

Nowland passed away in a hospital surrounded by her family, the New South Wales police confirmed in a statement today.

After a week-long investigation, the police force also said that the senior constable involved would appear in court next week to face charges of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault.

NSW police procedure states that tasers should not be used against elderly or disabled people absent exceptional circumstances.

Following the incident, community members, activists, and disability rights advocates expressed bewilderment and anger at what they called an unnecessary use of force, and some are now questioning why law enforcement took so long to prosecute the officer involved.

See what others are saying: (Reuters) (The New York Times) (CNN)

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U.K. Police Face Backlash After Arresting Anti-Monarchy Protesters



London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that some of the arrests “raise questions” and “investigations are ongoing.”

The Public Order Act

A controversial protest crackdown law in the U.K. is facing criticism after dozens of anti-monarchy protesters were arrested during the coronation ceremony in London over the weekend.

The law, dubbed the “Public Order Act” was passed roughly a week ahead of the coronation for King Charles III. It gives police more power to restrict protesters and limits the tactics protesters can use in public spaces. It was condemned by human rights groups upon its passing, and is facing a new round of heat after 52 people were arrested over coronation protests on Saturday.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said protesters were arrested for public order offenses, breach of the peace and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance. The group said it gave advance warning that its “tolerance for any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise, will be low and that we would deal robustly with anyone intent on undermining the celebration.”

It is currently unclear how many of those arrested were detained specifically for violating the Public Order Act, however, some of those arrested believe the new law was used against them.

“Make no mistake. There is no longer a right to peaceful protest in the UK,” Graham Smith, the CEO of anti-monarchy group Republic tweeted after getting arrested. “I have been told many times the monarch is there to defend our freedoms. Now our freedoms are under attack in his name.”

An Attempt to “Diminish” Protests

During a BBC Radio interview, Smith also said he believes the dozens of arrests were premeditated. 

“There was nothing that we did do that could possibly justify even being detained and arrested and held,” Smith claimed. 

“The whole thing was a deliberate attempt to disrupt and diminish our protest.”

Yasmine Ahmed, the U.K. Director of Human Rights Watch, also tweeted that the arrests were “disgraceful.”

“These are scenes you’d expect to see in Russia not the UK,” she wrote. 

When asked about the controversy, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters officers should  do “what they think is best” in an apparent show of support for the Metropolitan Police. 

For his part, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he is looking into the matter.

“Some of the arrests made by police as part of the Coronation event raise questions and whilst investigations are ongoing, I’ve sought urgent clarity from Met leaders on the action taken,” Khan tweeted.

See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (CNN) (The Washington Post)

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Foreign Nationals Make Mad Dash out of Sudan as Conflict Rages



The conflict’s death toll has surpassed 420, with nearly 4,000 people wounded.

As the 10-day-long power struggle between rival generals tore Sudan apart, foreign governments with citizens in the country scrambled to evacuate them over the weekend.

On Sunday, U.S. special forces landed in the capital Khartoum and carried out nearly 100 American diplomats along with their families and some foreign nationals on helicopters.

An estimated 16,000 Americans, however, remain in the country and U.S. officials said in a statement that a broader evacuation mission would be too dangerous.

Christopher Maier, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity warfare, said in a statement that the Pentagon may assist U.S. citizens find safe routes out of Sudan.

“[The Defense Department] is at present considering actions that may include use of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to be able to observe routes and detect threats,” he said.

Germany and France also reportedly pulled around 700 people out of the country.

More countries followed with similar efforts, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, China, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Indonesia.

Yesterday, a convoy carrying some 700 United Nations, NGO, and embassy staff drove to Port Sudan, a popular extraction point now that the airport in Khartoum has closed due to fighting.

Reports of gunmen prowling the capital streets and robbing people trying to escape, as well as looters breaking into abandoned homes and shops, have persuaded most residents to stay indoors.

Heavy gunfire, airstrikes, and artillery shelling have terrorized the city despite several proposed ceasefires.

Over the weekend, the reported death toll topped 420, with nearly 4,000 people injured, though both numbers are likely to be undercounted.

See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (The New York Times) (The Washington Post)

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