Thursday, April 18, 2019

US Think Tank Scholars Blocked From Entering China

Almost everyone has heard of the ongoing US-China trade war but few have noticed a much quieter war taking place: a US-China think tank war.  Here is the latest from the New York Times:

An American scholar who has advised President Trump on China said late Wednesday that he was not given a visa he sought to attend a recent conference in Beijing, in what he called apparent retaliation for American restrictions on visas for visiting Chinese scholars.
The scholar, Michael Pillsbury, director for Chinese strategy at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, said he applied for a visa with the Chinese Embassy in Washington on March 22 but failed to get approval to attend the conference last Sunday, which was organized by a research institute in Beijing.
The host of the conference in Beijing was the Center for China and Globalization. Mr. Pillsbury, citing Chinese associates, said that the conference had also invited Wendy Cutler, a former United States trade official, but that she had also failed to get a visa. Ms. Cutler could not be reached for comment late Wednesday night.
Mr. Pillsbury said that when he raised the issue with a Chinese Communist Party official he knows, the official pointed to a recent New York Times article that said counterintelligence officials at the F.B.I. had been canceling the long-term visas of some Chinese scholars.
Mr. Pillsbury said he took that to imply that his visa application had been stymied in reprisal for the new restrictions.

The New York Times recently reported that the FBI has barred around 30 Chinese scholars from entering the US.

Here is a link to other people, including scholars from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Asia Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and Cato Institute, who were supposed to attend the event in China.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece about Michael Pillsbury, President Trump's "go-to" China scholar.

Calls are now being made for a ceasefire in the "visa war."