- Bryant "Corky" Messner, the Republican candidate for the US Senate in New Hampshire, made controversial remarks about Chinese students in video footage from insiders.
- Messner suggested encouraging Chinese students to study the liberal arts instead of the "hard sciences" or banning them from studying in the United States.
- Several Chinese and Sino-American college students in New Hampshire criticized his remarks, telling insiders that it was "dangerous rhetoric for people who look like me or people who have family or friends who are Chinese."
- Messner, who won his party's primary on Tuesday, asked for comment on the responses and went back on his earlier remarks.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
A US Republican Senate candidate has been harshly criticized for accusing hundreds of thousands of Chinese students in the US of stealing American intellectual property and banning them from studying "hard science".
Bryant "Corky" Messner, a Trump-backed New Hampshire candidate, previously referred to the US-China trade tensions and targeted Chinese students whom he generally claimed were agents of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). and that they received US training only to return to China on behalf of the government.
Messner meets the incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who was previously elected for two terms. The New Hampshire Senate election will be held on November 3rd.
"I think one of the things we should do … is tell the students, these students," You are welcome to study here, but you must study economics, the American Constitution, and freedom "" Messner said during the GOP meeting in July, according to video footage from Insider. "Don't study the hard sciences, computer science, physics, chemistry, and don't give them this kind of education. Let's raise them in freedom and individual freedom.
"They are influencing all over the world and it is time for us to take the Chinese Communist Party seriously. Yes, sir," Messner said, adding that the US has inadvertently become "the research and development arm" for China be.
In a separate controversial note, Messner also proposed a permanent ban on students from China.
"I don't think we have to allow Chinese students to attend American universities either, because they come here and continue their education and come back with our intellectual property," Messner said in May HuffPost.
A student-run organization from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, said in a statement to Insider that Messner's remarks were "deeply discouraged."
"We wholeheartedly believe that banning certain groups of students from studying certain subjects is blatant discrimination," said the Dartmouth Chinese Culture Society. "Education in the hard sciences is not a private good that is restricted to certain ethnicities or nationalities. Rather, it should be accessible to everyone."
"While we recognize that learning American values is important, we disagree with Mr. Messner's statement that Chinese students can only study economics, the American Constitution and freedom," the organization added. "The politicization of the hard sciences not only undermines the individual interests and passions of students, but also affects the development of scientific research for the good of all."
"That's just not how people work"
Five Chinese and Sino-American students majoring in various fields in New Hampshire universities criticized Messner's comments, telling insiders that his rhetoric was worrying. All students spoke anonymously, citing privacy concerns and the possibility of retaliation from their universities or the CCP.
"I don't think that education and knowledge should be kept vigilant or considered private, where only certain people are allowed to access while others are not," one Chinese student told Insider. "People come to American universities to learn, study and expand their knowledge."
The student, who majored in computer science, said she had come to the United States to attend university. Although she did not experience overt racism during her time in the US, she adds that Messner's rhetoric adds to the current tensions with her country.
"It definitely adds to that anti-Chinese sentiment that has been bubbling in America for quite a while," she said. "And I don't think it's going to go away anytime soon."
Another university student who immigrated from China about a decade ago conceded that Messner's concern about an intellectual retreat to Beijing had some merit, but noted that his solution to the problem was too broad and would imply those who did had no connections with the CCP.
"I understand his concern, it is valid," the student told Insider. "However, I also think that not every international student should be objectified and viewed as a weapon for research, because that's obviously not how humans work. Simplifying students and people to weapons and weapons for research really objectifies us."
"International students bring so much value to America and they actually add so much to the intellectual growth of the students," added the student. "America also has international students studying abroad, and I've never heard of any other country that says, 'American students are stealing our information.'"
A Chinese-American student who was born and raised in the United States described Messner's comments as a slippery slope, as his exam could reasonably go beyond Native Chinese and include Chinese-Americans, especially those who still had family members overseas: "Where are you? Are you drawing the line on our connection with China? I'm a Chinese-American, but I identify more & # 39; American & # 39; because I grew up here. "
"It just describes everyone who looks Chinese as someone who has alternative motives for a good education," the Chinese-American student told Insider. "What I think is dangerous and disrespectful to Chinese students trying to learn and improve the world – they just do it in America.
"As a Chinese-American, I would never want my motives for an education to be questioned," she added. "Just because I'm Chinese-American, does he say that this connection with China makes me dangerous? It's disrespectful and it could be dangerous rhetoric for people who look like me or people who have family or friends who Chinese are. "
Another Chinese-American student in New Hampshire said Messner had brought together two different categories of Chinese students – one "who wants an education with the ultimate goal of setting up in the US" and another that wants an education in the US and "heads" got back to china to work. "
"I think it's wrong to just put these two groups together," he told Insider. "If you come here to study, to get a job, that's literally the opposite of what he says."
Messner, who won his party's elementary school on Tuesday, asked for comment on the response from New Hampshire students and went back to his earlier remarks.
"We cannot allow Chinese students to be held responsible for their government's actions," Messner told Insider in a statement. "The stated goals of the Chinese communist government to gain access to American research and technology by all means, including academic contacts, pose a threat to our national security, but I refuse to discriminate against or target students from China . "
"International students add so much to the diversity of the campus, and American-born students can learn so much about the world through them," added Messner.
Brain drain allegations
Messner's statements are based on allegations by the Trump administration. The president and federal agencies often claim that Chinese scholars illegally obtain trade secrets and research results in US-based universities and corporations before returning to China.
The FBI warned universities to monitor visiting scholars and students from China, and a US Senate report found that the CCP is forcing some foreign researchers to enter into secret agreements that may violate scientific codes. Although Chinese scientists have been charged by federal investigators in the US in the past few monthsThere is no evidence to support claims that a Beijing-sponsored campaign is widespread.
Around 370,000 students from China studied in the United States in the 2018-2019 academic year. The University of Southern California hosts the largest number of college-level students from China, followed by schools within the University of California system – such as UCLA, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego The Los Angeles Times.
The Trump administration took steps Wednesday to combat a CCP goal of "reshaping the world order according to its own authoritarian image" and blocked the visas of over 1,000 Chinese students and researchers classified as "high risk" .
A Foreign Ministry official said in a statement that the blocked visas only represented a small portion of Chinese students and researchers and that they were primarily aimed at those with ties to the Chinese military.
"We are blocking visas for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers linked to China's military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and appropriating sensitive research," said Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Ministry of Homeland Security, in a speech on Wednesday
"From intellectual property theft and trade secret theft stolen from American innovators, to collecting personal data for profit, destroying the privacy of Americans of all ages, to exporting unfair business practices through government-sponsored corporations that Harm American entrepreneurs. To hack attempts to penetrate and compromise American organizations conducting COVID research, misuse student visas to exploit American science, China's actions may be undiminished, but they are not intolerable, "added Wolf added.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, in a statement to reporters, accused the policy of violating student rights.
"It is downright political persecution and racial discrimination and has seriously violated the human rights of Chinese students studying there," Zhao said in the statement, adding that China "reserves the right to provide further response on the matter."