China calls on US to stop ‘harassment’ of Chinese students

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China’s public security minister called on the US homeland security secretary to stop alleged “harassment” of Chinese students entering the United States in a meeting between the two in Vienna, Beijing’s state media reported Monday.

Beijing has repeatedly alleged that Chinese nationals with valid travel documents have been subject to aggressive interrogations and deportations at US airports.

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Last month, its embassy in Washington said Chinese travelers should avoid the capital’s Dulles airport.

In a readout of talks Sunday between Wang Xiaohong and Alejandro Mayorkas, Beijing said Washington must “stop harassing and checking Chinese students for no apparent reason”, state news agency Xinhua said.

In his meeting with Mayorkas, Wang urged the United States to “ensure that Chinese citizens enjoy fair entry treatment and full dignity,” according to Xinhua.

Wang also pressed Mayorkas to “rectify” the US decision to place China on a list of major countries transiting or producing narcotics.

US officials have long charged that China is complicit in the trade of fentanyl, which is many times more powerful than heroin and is responsible for more than 70,000 overdose deaths a year in the United States.

Last month in Beijing, US and Chinese officials agreed to cooperate to curb the production of ingredients to make fentanyl, known as precursor chemicals.

A US readout of Sunday’s talks said Wang and Mayorkas had held “candid and constructive discussion on the steps needed to combat the spread of precursor chemicals”.

“The two sides also made commitments with respect to continued law enforcement cooperation, technical bilateral exchanges between scientists and other experts, scheduling of precursor chemicals, and furthering multilateral cooperation,” it said.

Washington and Beijing also discussed expanding cooperation “in the fight to protect children from online child sexual exploitation and abuse”, the readout added.

Relations between China and the United States have warmed over the past year as Washington has pursued dialogue with Beijing.

But the Chinese government still resents US measures, including a ban on exports of advanced semiconductors and sanctions on Chinese firms and individuals.

In talks in Munich last week, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Secretary of State Antony Blinken the US must “lift illegal unilateral sanctions”.

Wang also called on the US to “stop unwarranted harassment and interrogation of Chinese citizens”.

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