The Trump administration on Wednesday declared new restrictions on Chinese Communist Party members entering the United States on travel visas, a State Department spokesman told the New York Times.
New restrictions would limit the duration of visitor visa clearances for party members and their families to one month. Visitor visas to the United States for citizens of China generally last up to 10 years. The State Department spokesman maintained that visas for purposes such as work or immigration will not be subject to the new restriction.
When combining current members of the CCP with their family members, the new policy could apply to up to 270 million people, including some 92 million CCP members, according to the Times.
New visa restrictions coincide with "ongoing policy, regulatory, and law-enforcement action across the U.S. government to protect our nation from the CCP’s malign influence," the State Department spokesman told the Times. "For decades we allowed the CCP free and unfettered access to U.S. institutions and businesses while these same privileges were never extended freely to U.S. citizens in China."
The Trump administration has worked toward limiting Chinese influence through travel restrictions before. In September, the administration revoked over 1,000 student visas, citing security concerns, and an October report suggests that a backlog of travel applications from China has compromised the United States' ability to vet potential Chinese spies entering the United States to study and work at American institutions.
Under the final weeks of the administration, Washington hopes to make a lasting push to cement gains made against the Chinese Communist Party. The visa restrictions came on the same day as a Department of Homeland Security order that effectively embargoed cotton exports from an administrative authority in Xinjiang known to use Uighur forced labor.
"The human-rights abuses taking place at the hands of the Chinese Communist government will not be tolerated by President Trump and the American people," DHS acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli said of the order. "DHS is taking the lead to enforce our laws to make sure human-rights abusers, including U.S. businesses, are not allowed to manipulate our system in order to profit from slave labor. ‘Made in China’ is not just a country of origin it is a warning label."