GOP senator: Chinese students coming to US shouldn't be allowed to do science

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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has been a leader in his party's 'blame China' pandemic strategy.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) called on Sunday for limits to what Chinese students should be allowed to study at American schools.

The Arkansas Republican, who has pushed false conspiracy narratives about China throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, suggested on Fox News that the nation was training its enemies it by allowing Chinese students to study science and technology on its campuses.

From his Fox News interview:

Host Maria Bartiromo: But just what you just said, that is why you believe we shouldn't be giving visas to Chinese students who want to study advanced sciences? They want to get into the Gilead Sciences and the Googles of the world to steal that research, is that right?

 

Sen. Tom Cotton: Yes, Maria. It's a scandal to me that we have trained so many of the Chinese Communist Party's brightest minds to go back to China, to compete for our jobs, to take our business, and ultimately to steal our property, and design weapons and other devices that can be used against the American people.

 

So, I think we need to take a very hard look at the visas that we give the Chinese nationals to come to the United States to study, especially at the post-graduate level in advanced scientific and technological fields.

 

You know, if Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that's what they need to learn from America. They don't need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence from America.

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Cornell University political scientist Jessica Chen Weiss noted Sunday night that Cotton's implication is false.

"Actually, @TomCottonAR, Chinese students aren't returning to China: 'For each year between 2005 and 2018, only about 10 percent of Chinese PhD graduates in computer science report plans to leave the country,'" she tweeted. She cited a February report from the Washington Post.

Cotton is following the strategy being pushed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, his caucus's campaign arm.

In a 57-page memo distributed earlier this month, he and other Republican candidates were urged to "attack China," say the "Chinese Communist Party caused this pandemic," and frame the country as an "adversary."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.