American universities, already dealing with a slump in applications as tuition costs climb at a rate that far outpaces inflation, might soon have an even more serious problem on their hands: In its latest trade war threat, Beijing has warned Chinese students to "raise their risk assessment" before deciding to study in the US.
For "a period of time now" - a period that undoubtedly coincides with the dawn of the Trump Administration - Chinese students studying in the US have faced visa delays and restrictions, China's Ministry of Education warned.
"For a period of time now, some Chinese students in the US have faced situations where their visas were restricted or delayed, the period of validity was shortened, or [their applications] were rejected," it said in a statement, relayed by the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
"The ministry wants to remind [Chinese] students and scholars to raise their risk assessment, strengthen their preventative awareness, and make the appropriate preparations."
Global Times editor Hu Xijin broke the news of the warning on Twitter.
Based on information I received, China will issue a warning on the risk of studying in the US. This warning is a response to recent series of discriminatory measures the US took against Chinese students and can also be seen as a response to the US-initiated trade war.— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) June 3, 2019
Since last summer, Chinese students hoping to study in the technologically sensitive fields of robotics, aviation, engineering and hi-tech manufacturing have faced tighter visa controls in the US, thanks to a Trump Administration policy that's mandated increased wariness of Chinese students vying to work in technologically sensitive industries. At one point, Steven Miller had nearly convinced Trump to ban student visas for Chinese students over national security concerns, however Terry Branstad, the US ambassador to China, won out after warning that small private colleges - including in the state of Iowa, where Branstad was once governor - would be adversely impacted.
Though hundreds of thousands of Chinese students are currently studying in the US (in March, there were 369,364 students from China), the US's appeal has waned slightly over the past few years, as the rate of applications from Chinese students to American colleges has declined.
Treasury yields dropped on the news, as signs of intensifying trade tensions over the weekend instigated a rally in Treasury bonds.