The United States has revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese nationals under a presidential measure denying entry to students and researchers deemed security risks, the State Department said on Wednesday.
This is a move China called a violation of human rights.
The acting head of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said earlier that Washington was blocking visas “for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to China’s military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research.”
In a speech, Wolf repeated United States charges of unjust business practices and industrial espionage by China, including attempts to steal coronavirus research, and accused it of abusing student visas to exploit American academia.
Wolf said the United States was also “preventing goods produced from slave labour from entering our markets, demanding that China respect the inherent dignity of each human being,” an apparent reference to accusations of abuse of Muslims in western Xinjiang.
A State Department spokeswoman said the visa action followed a May 29 proclamation by President Donald Trump as part of the United States response to China’s curbs on democracy in Hong Kong.
“As of Sept. 8, 2020, the department has revoked more than 1,000 visas of PRC nationals who were found to be subject to Presidential Proclamation 10043 and therefore ineligible for a visa,” she said.
She said the ineligible “high-risk graduate students and research scholars” were “a small subset” of the Chinese coming to the United States for study and research, and that legitimate students and scholars would continue to be welcomed.
About 360,000 Chinese nationals study in the United States, bringing its colleges significant revenue, though the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the return to campus this autumn semester.
In Beijing on Thursday, a foreign ministry spokesman described the United States move as “naked” political persecution and racial discrimination that seriously violated human rights.
“China reserves the right to make a further response on this issue,” Zhao Lijian told a daily media briefing.
China-United States relations have sunk to historic lows with the world’s two biggest economies clashing over issues ranging from trade and human rights to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.
Trump, who had touted friendly ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping as he sought to make good on promises to rebalance a massive trade deficit, has made getting tough on China a key part of his campaign for re-election on Nov. 3.
He has accused his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, who leads in national opinion polls, of being soft toward Beijing.
Some Chinese students enrolled in United States universities said they learnt of the cancellations in emailed notices received on Wednesday from the United States embassy in Beijing or consulates in China.
In a WeChat chatroom, more than 70 holders of F-1 visas, both postgraduates and undergraduates, said the notices advised them to seek new visas if they wanted to travel to the United States
Many said they were majoring in subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Some said they had secured bachelor’s degrees at Chinese universities with links to the People’s Liberation Army.
A final-year undergraduate student of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign expressed shock at getting the notice.
The only reason he could think of could be prior experience at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), he said.
The university is known for its defense and security technology research.
“I studied at BUPT before year two, but I have no connections with that university since,” he said on condition of anonymity as the subject is sensitive.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Sokoto: Centre supports NABTEB candidates with N300,000
The DPRC representative, Alhaji Sani Umar-Jabbi made the presentation on Wednesday in Sokoto.
Umar-Jabbi, who is the District Head of Gagi noted that the grant was part of support given to selected technical and vocational schools nationwide to mitigate the effects of Coronavirus pandemic.
He described the gesture as part of the organisation’s contribution to the development of education in Nigeria, in view of the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the sector.
He further described DRPC as a social sector development focused group, with particular interest in the development of the education sector.
He added that the project was funded by Open Society Foundations.
According to him, DRPC partnered with organizations in the implementation of the intervention in the country.
He said: “The grant is targeted at helping the benefitting schools to organise extra lessons, procure past question papers and textbooks to aid the students in their preparations ahead of the examination.
“Also, the funds will be targeted at getting resources for the practical sessions of the examination.
“Furthermore, the funds will be channelled toward ensuring that Personal Protective Equipment, such as face masks and sanitizers, are purchased for distribution to the students during the examination.
Umar-Jabbi also said that the grant would be disbursed in three installments to the schools during the period of the examination.
Responding, the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr Kulu Haruna, thanked DRPC for the grant, saying that, “it came at a time it is mostly needed’’.
“I really want to appreciate the effort of DRPC in the improvement of the quality of education and welfare of students during the upcoming examination.
“I will personally assure you that the grant would be judiciously utilised,’’ Haruna said.
The presentation of the grant was witnessed by officials of the school, Ministry of Education, the school’s Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA), among others.
Edited By: Josephine Obute/ Maharazu Ahmed
COVID-19: NAHCO introduces disinfection services to airlines
NAHCO in a statement on Wednesday, in Lagos by Samuel Akinrinmade. Head, Corporate Communications, said that the disinfection service is a technical process that involves the use of fully kitted Cabin Appearance personnel.
The process also includes the use of sophisticated machines, specially formulated and non injurious chemicals to fumigate and clean an aircraft.
Akinrinmade said the company has extended the service to all its client- airlines in partnership with Multi-Level Innovation Services Ltd/Raven Hygiene.
“NAHCO currently provides disinfection service to Virgin Atlantic, Egypt Air, Qatar Airways and Rwanda Air, while Fly Dubai and Salam Air are handled on an ad-hoc basis.
“NAHCO is poised to providing safe and convenient aircraft disinfection to all its numerous clients, as well as those who may wish to join the service in line with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s gu
“In view of the rampaging COVID-19 virus, and the need to ensure that the aircraft are safe for use, we have partnered with Multi-Level Innovation Services Ltd, represented by Raven Hygiene to offer this ingenious service to our clients.
“This is aside our regular aircraft cleaning. This is a highly technical process that has been put in place to aid the industry in the fight against COVID-19 and we have a specially trained team in this regard,’’ Akinrinmade said.
He further said that, the responses from their existing clients have been highly encouraging and called on other airlines to join hands with NAHCO to ensure the skies are made safer.
Commenting, the Managing Director of Raven Hygiene, Mr Adeniyi Makanjuola, attributed the collaboration to the need to reduce the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Edited By: Zainab Garba/Sadiya Hamza
COVID-19: Ondo Govt warns schools against unauthorised resumption
The Ondo Government on Wednesday says it had not directed or permitted the re-opening of public or private primary and tertiary institutions in the state.
This is contained in a statement by
Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, Chairman, Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 in the state, and made available to newsmen in Akure.
Fatusi said that only secondary schools had been permitted to open for Senior Secondary 3 (SS3), and Junior Secondary School 3 (JSS3) classes.
He also said that the directive was in line with its objective of strengthening public safety, protecting the lives of residents and further mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
According to him, all school authorities, both public and private, are enjoined to comply fully with the government’s directive and not to reopen schools until the state government expressly permits such.
“The state government is also very keen to see students return to classes, but in a safe, serene and secured environment.
“We won’t tolerate any illegal act of re-opening schools contrary to the government’s directive,” he said.
Fatusi, who pleaded for the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders, encouraged parents to ensure that their children and wards continue to stay at home until the government directed otherwise.
He also implored all groups and individuals to continue to observe all safety measures against coronavirus in the interest of their health and that of their loved ones.
Edited By: Muftau Adediran and Isaac Ukpoju
Lagos rolls out programmes to mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday rolled out its programmes for the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary celebration.
Speaking during a news briefing in Ikeja, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi, said that the celebration would be low key, in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.
Elegushi said that the state would hold Jumat Service on Friday, Sept. 25, at the Lagos State Community Central Mosque, Alausa, Ikeja, to be followed by Interdenominational Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Chapel of Christ The Light, Alausa, Ikeja.
He said that the grand finale, which would be the Independence Day Parade, would hold at Agege Stadium, Agege, on Oct. 1.
According to him, this year’s Diamond anniversary is a milestone, and worth celebrating.
”Sixty years of unity despite various challenges the Nigerian state has had to face and surmount; 60 years of ongoing socio-economic development; 60 formidable years of forging ahead in spite of several daunting obstacles lining our path of greatness.
”This year’s Independence Day celebration calls for celebration, although we cannot roll out drums due to the scourge of COVID-19 that is still with us.
”However, this Diamond Jubilee calls for sober reflection and thanksgiving to the almighty for keeping the Nigerian state together thus far,” he said.
The commissioner said that the world’s focus was centered on Nigeria and its ability to evolve.
He said that the resilient, never-say-die spirit of the average Nigerian to succeed anywhere in the world and the amount of change and offering that the country brought to the world table could not be underestimated.
According to him, it is therefore permissible to say that Nigerians can handle whatever is thrown at them.
He commended the foresight, dedication and passion of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu who deployed all resources to mitigate the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic.
”In Lagos, the Centre of Excellence, the administration of Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-olu is poised to deliver the dividends of democracy at every level of governance.
”Presently, there are ongoing massive infrastructural developments in the State in tandem with the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda of this administration, which is aimed at aiding commercial activities and geared towards making Lagos a 21st century economy.
”Our young people and entrepreneurs alike will be assisted to lead our nation to fuller progress and to the closer realisation of becoming economically independent to the point of creating wealth and employment to their fellows both home and abroad.
”Our State of Excellence will continue to be the face of Nigeria in infrastructural development, industrialisation, trade investments and information technology.
”Today, we can proudly say that no investor can come into the country without the urge and desire to carry out their businesses in Lagos. We are the commercial heartbeat of the nation!”, the commissioner said.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, said that Lagos State, being the commercial centre of the nation, was set to lead other states in this year’s celebration.
Omotoso said that it was not out of place to say that Lagos remained the economic nerve centre of Nigeria, as it had led in the way of everything in the country.
”It is not out of place to say it all began in Lagos. Lagos may not be the capital of Nigeria now, but it has remained the economic nerve centre of the country,” he said.
Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle