Cotton Offers Bill to Ban Student, Research Visas for Chinese Spies

‘The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is being armed with help from American colleges and tech companies…’

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Tom Cotton / IMAGE: Fox News via Youtube

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., along with Republican colleagues in the House and Senate, introduced legislation to combat China’s research visa scheme that helps the Chinese Communist Party steal America’s technological and military research.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Visa Security Act would prohibit the federal government from granting student or research visas to people employed or affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is being armed with help from American colleges and tech companies,” Cotton said according to a press release. “Keeping PLA scientists out of our research laboratories is a basic act of self-defense. It’s stunning that this practice isn’t already prohibited.”

The legislation would require the federal government to create a database of “scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army” and then block visas to people employed by these organizations.

The PLA has sent more than 2,500 military engineers and scientists to research in the United States and other Western countries in the past decade, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In many cases, the Chinese researchers did not inform their employers of their connection to the PLA.

Chinese researchers likely have direct access to the most advanced knowledge in the United States, such as Google’s artificial intelligence research, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute reported.

Reps. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, and Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., introduced a companion bill in the House.

“Many of these individuals often mask their PLA and Chinese Communist Parties ties allowing them to work at top universities without the schools’ knowledge of their military affiliation,” Hartzler said. “This legislation takes an important step to protect our universities from China’s efforts to exploit our free and open society.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced the Senate bill with Cotton.

“I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the PLA Visa Security Act,” he said.

“America must be vigilant in protecting the research, training, expertise and innovation that the Chinese Communist Party has been stealing and exploiting for military and industrial purposes. I am hopeful my colleagues will move swiftly to pass this bill to safeguard America’s national security.”