US visas for Chinese students tumble 99% as tensions rise

Shin Watanabe:

U.S. visas issued to Chinese students have fallen dramatically as tougher screening by Washington and the pandemic discourage applicants amid rising tensions between the two countries.

The number of F-1 student visas granted to applicants in mainland China came to just 808 in the six months through September, down 99% from 90,410 in the same period a year earlier, according to data released by the U.S. Department of State. Chinese students make up the largest share of international students in the U.S., at roughly 30%.

The sharp plunge suggests that tensions between Washington and Beijing are affecting the career plans of Chinese students as well as academic exchanges between the two countries. Difficulty in obtaining American visas could steer some Chinese students toward other destinations, such as Australia, Canada and Japan.