GOP Senator Tom Cotton Says Chinese Students Should Be Banned From Studying Science at U.S. Colleges

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who has for months accused China of "lying" about their coronavirus outbreak numbers, said Sunday it's a "scandal" that American universities have "trained the Communist Party's brightest minds."

Cotton railed against Chinese students coming to colleges in the United States to receive an education during an interview on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures program with Maria Bartiromo, arguing that they ultimately return to China and "compete for our jobs" and steal innovative U.S. ideas. He said Chinese students shouldn't be allowed to study sciences in American colleges and universities as punishment, and that China's coronavirus numbers are potentially "40 times" greater than their estimates.

"I think we need to take a very hard look at the visas we give to Chinese nationals to study, especially, at the post-graduate level in advanced scientific and technological fields," Cotton said.

Newsweek subscription offers >

"If Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that's what they need to learn from America. They don't need to learn quantum computing," the Arkansas senator told Fox News. "[Chinese nationals] go back to China to compete for our jobs, to take our business and ultimately to steal our property and design weapons and other devices that can be used against the American people."

Cotton reminded viewers that the Chinese stand accused of stealing intellectual property from foreign competitors including the U.S. and that their primary goal - as he said was illustrated by their alleged intentional spread of the coronavirus - is aimed at economic dominance.

Newsweek subscription offers >

The senator's Arkansas office did not immediately respond to Newsweek's Sunday afternoon request for comment.

During a Friday interview with Fox News host Martha MacCallum, she cited a Hong Kong University study which found that the initial COVID-19 outbreak which spread across China late last year likely infected 230,000 people -- four times more than the Chinese government's estimate of 55,000. The researchers noted that part of the "under-count" has been tied to the Chinese government's classification of COVID-19 cases in the early weeks of its spread.

Cotton has consistently accused the Chinese government of "still lying" about their first-wave coronavirus outbreak numbers, even calling for a "targeted travel ban" on flights from China to the U.S. in late January prior to the Trump administration's February crackdown. The senator told Fox Business Network in mid-February that "China's duplicity and dishonesty" casts doubt on anything their government has revealed about ties to the Wuhan animal market. Cotton suggested that Wuhan's biosafety laboratory was potentially responsible for spreading coronavirus, but noted, "we don't have evidence that this disease originated there."

On Sunday, Cotton criticized American schools for taking in Chinese nationals to study sciences, reiterating they later compete directly against their American peers.

"The Chinese Communist leadership did not want to see their relative power and standing in the world decline because this virus was contained within China so they deliberately hid it from the world," Cotton tweeted Sunday afternoon following his Fox News appearance.

tom cotton senator chinese students
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who has for months accused China of "lying" about their coronavirus outbreak numbers, said Sunday it's a "scandal" that American universities have "trained the Communist Party's brightest minds." Screenshot: Fox News
GOP Senator Tom Cotton Says Chinese Students Should Be Banned From Studying Science at U.S. Colleges | News