Chinese analysts warned Thursday of rising anti-Chinese sentiments after US President Donald Trump accused foreign students of spying amid the ongoing trade frictions between China and the US.
"Almost every student that comes over to this country is a spy," Trump said at a dinner with a group of 15 CEOs and senior White House staff on Tuesday, US-based political commentary website politico.com reported Wednesday.
The remarks, while not specifically aimed at China, have sparked strong reactions in and out of the US, where Chinese immigrants comprise the third-largest foreign-born group after Mexicans and Indians.
Trump's remarks and FBI Director Christopher Wray's statement, which indicated that Chinese students are a "threat to society," are "dangerously broad claims," tweeted Amy Qin, a China-based writer for The New York Times.
"This is outrageous and offensive to every Chinese-American (like me) whose ancestors came to this country as students," former White House Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu tweeted on Wednesday.
The remarks shows there's a new trend in anti-Chinese sentiment - or "Sinophobia" - in the US, especially when it's led by US decision-makers, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times on Thursday.
The trade frictions between China and the US are fueling racism toward Chinese in the US, Li stressed.
With people-to-people exchanges between the two countries touted as a national threat, the US leadership's irrational perception and anxiety toward a rising China will harm the US in the long run, and will make efforts to repair ties even harder, Li said.
'Threat to society'
"Trump's remarks send a strong warning that immigrants need to be more realistic and prepared for the fact that the US is no longer an ideal place for diverse and inclusive cultures, at least during the Trump administration," Shen Yi, a professor at Shanghai's Fudan University, told the Global Times.
Trump's "American first" policy - seen by many as being "Anglo-Saxon first" or "white people first" in nature - shows he has chosen to turn a blind eye to the great contributions that Chinese have made to US prosperity, Shen said.
Immigrants to the US - "the great melting pot" - have experienced periods of resistance, especially when the country suffers economic crises or political failure, and Chinese people are usually among the victims, analysts said.
"The Trump administration is using a lie to cover up its failure at a time when US decision-makers are in chaos," Shen said.
"It's a dangerous trend that the US seems to have the habit of targeting Chinese to gloss over its failures. It's sadder that many US political and economic elites buy into such absurd and outdated rhetoric," Shen warned.
Calling Chinese people "thieves" or "spies" is ironic since the group has helped lay the foundation for US industrial prosperity and contributed to improving people's lives with their diligence and hard work, Shen said.
Most Chinese immigrants after 1965 have been skilled workers, according to US think tank Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
China is the main source of foreign students at US colleges, and Chinese nationals receive the second-largest number of H-1B temporary work visas after those from India, according to MPI.
"However, it's getting harder for Chinese to stay in the US after Trump assumed office. The prejudice and unfairness in the US job market are driving Chinese back to their homeland," Wang Zhenhao, president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Associations at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, told the Global Times on Thursday.
An Asian-American group is suing Harvard University after they alleged the college intentionally discriminates against Asian-American applicants by limiting their admission numbers each year, NBC News reported on August 3.
Current Harvard students, alumni and applicants who defend the school's consideration of race in admissions were among those who filed friend-of-the-court briefs in Boston federal court, as a judge weighs whether the case should go to trial, the report said.