QQ? Weibo? Youku? US visa applicants told to list social media profiles

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The Guangzhou-based Ztop Education warned its Chinese clients through their website to be careful in posting things on their social media accounts if they have plans of applying for a US visa. This in a latest update from the online US Visa application asking for the applicant’s social media information.

Ztop Education are encouraging  their clients and would be Chinese students seeking to study in the US not to post contents about  “maternity hotel”, “Guns”, “green cards” “immigrants”, about buying properties in the US  in their social media accounts as this visa requirement is now extended not only to immigrant visas but to non-immigrant visas as well.

US visa applicants are now being required to list all their social media handles and aliases for the last 5 years  including but not limited to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,you tube and Chinese media accounts such as QQ, Weibo, Douban, Youko and so forth. An applicant may indicate not having a social a media account. However, a US Department of State official said that lying about it could pose “serious immigration” repercussions as reported by an online news site Hill.TV.

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Last year, the US federal government proposed collecting social media handles and aliases to “vet and identify them” which is geared towards supporting President Donald Trump’s fight against terrorism. This new update comes amidst on going US-China trade war.

One commenter on China’s twitter like paltorm, Weibo said “now, both the Chinese and the US government want to look at my social media post.”

Washington has also made Visa restrictions to post graduate students in the fields of aviation, robotic and hi-tech manufacturing for Chinese students. Their stay maybe limited up to only a year which used to be up to five years before the US got embroiled in an exchange of trade tariffs between the two top economies of the world. This latest development will be effective on June 11 this year.

Visa application for Chinese students has become “stricter” says Plus consulting , online consulting firm based in Shenzhen for Chinese applicants wanting to enter the  US as students . According to the agency’s website, applicants are now being asked of their opinion about the ongoing China-US trade war and answering the question appropriately is crucial in the consul’s decision of granting or not granting visa. This was posted on the official website of Plus Consulting last Saturday.

The agency said that an appropriate response to the questions would be to say that “the US and China are bound together interdependence”, “the tension between the two countries are just temporary, which will be solved through bilateral dialogue”.

In an interview to previous students of science and technology applicants done by the Morning South China post last month, said that the visa processing took them eight to ten weeks now which only took them about three to six weeks previously.

Other prominent Chinese US visa holder of multiple 10 year entry to the US has been revoked. They have been questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on suspicions of spying to the US government.

American academic experts believe there is no winner in imposing academic visa restriction as this will only result to suspicions on both sides and may stifle academic channel of communication between the two countries.

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