Hill legislators are pushing a bill that would put roughly 70,000 Chinese visa workers on a fast track to green cards, even as White House officials are trying to slow the theft of U.S. technology by Chinese employees and researchers.
White House officials are using trade talks to change Chinese “behaviors so they don’t steal our technology by infiltrating people into companies and into even national laboratory,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said May 1. A leading goal is “changing the practice so they don’t force technology transfer,” when U.S. companies invest in China, he said in a talk at the annual CPAC meeting.
Ross’s push is backed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is the new chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. “How many are worried about Chinese espionage?” Graham asked conservatives attending the CPAC conference on February 28. “How many are worried about Chinese students and professors coming to American to basically steal our stuff?”
“Because I’m chairman, we’re going to take that up,” he said.
The pressure from President Donald Trump seems to be forcing the Chinese government to make concessions in a new law, according to a March 3 report by the Associated Press:
“I think the (American and European) complaints have been reflected in the revision of the law,” said Citigroup economist Li-Gang Liu.
Under the proposed law, officials would be barred from using “administrative methods to force technology transfers.”
The chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, Tim Stratford, called the measure a “step forward.” But business groups say they need to see how it will be enforced.
But any diplomatic progress, however, may be dissipated by the many U.S. companies who want to make deals with the Chinese government and who also want to hire Chinese students and researchers for work in the United States.
In February, legislators in the House and Senate announced legislation that would help Chinese students get jobs in the nation’s research laboratories and high-tech companies.
Almost 200 House legislators and 13 Senators introduced legislation that would push roughly 70,000 Chinese visa workers onto a fast track to green cards and citizenship. The boost for Chinese researchers is a side effect of the legislators’ primary goal — helping roughly 300,000 cheap Indian visa workers get on a fast track to green cards, residency, and citizenship.
Most of the Indian workers work in the information technology business, often as software testers or as operators of corporate computer networks.