The passage of this law indicated that U.S. immigration policies could be influenced by domestic political developments of other countries.
The history of Chinese students coming to study in the United States could be traced back to the early twentieth century. This history was interrupted in 1949 with the victory of the Chinese Communist Revolution.
Such exchanges accelerated during the late 1970’s, when Chinese leaders decided to adopt the reform and open policy (in 1978) and the United States and China established diplomatic relations (1979). An integral component of the U.S.-China educational exchange was that Chinese students were allowed to study in the United States. The number of Chinese students in the United States grew steadily and by 1989 reached more than fifty thousand. These students, especially those who were sponsored financially by the Chinese government, were required or expected to go back to China upon graduation. However, their status was changed from student status to immigrant status by a major political event in China–the
Between April 15 and June 4, 1989, large-scale demonstrations occurred in and near the
The Chinese government’s brutal suppression of the civilian protesters incurred condemnations and various sanctions from the international community, especially from Western nations. Some Western governments, including the United States, also took measures to protect Chinese nationals then residing in their countries from persecution by the Chinese government. On April 11, 1990, President
This act allowed Chinese nationals who entered the United States before the issuance of
The Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992 sent a strong signal to the Chinese government that political persecution of its citizens was unacceptable to the international community and that it must treat them humanely. The act benefited not only the Chinese immigrants admitted under the act but also the United States, given that most of them were well educated and possessed scientific and technological expertise that were much needed in the United States.
Barth, Kelly, ed. The Tiananmen Square Massacre. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven Press/Thomson Gale, 2003. Poston, Dudley L., Jr., and Hua Luo. “Chinese Student and Labor Migration to the United States: Trends and Policies Since the 1980’s.” Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 16, no. 3 (2007): 323-356. Qian, Ning. Chinese Students Encounter America. Translated by T. K. Chu. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002. U.S. Congress. House Committee on the Judiciary. Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992: Report. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1992.
Chinese American press
Foreign exchange students