Skip to Content

The US government may restrict Chinese researchers, and that would be a disaster

If the White House follows through with plans to curtail Chinese scientists’ involvement in intelligence and military-related research, there could be a chilling effect on US innovation.

Cold war freeze: According to the New York Times, the Trump administration is considering broad new visa rules that could make it a lot harder for Chinese nationals to work on a range of technologies, including artificial intelligence, which is increasingly seen as a military asset. It unclear if this would prevent espionage, but it would certainly make it more difficult for US universities and companies to develop cutting-edge technology.

Upping the ante: The discussions are the latest step in President Donald Trump’s escalating feud with China, which appears to be inspired as much by the country’s rising technological prowess as by its trade practices and growing military might. Trump has threatened tariffs on around $150 billion worth of Chinese goods, and Chinese investments in American technology companies are increasingly being blocked.

Bound to backfire: The Trump administration has already introduced measures that have restricted the flow of top researchers into the US. The latest plan would only benefit China, which is already doing its best to keep its top talent at home.

Deep Dive


Is there anything more fascinating than a hidden world?

Some hidden worlds--whether in space, deep in the ocean, or in the form of waves or microbes--remain stubbornly unseen. Here's how technology is being used to reveal them.

Africa’s push to regulate AI starts now        

AI is expanding across the continent and new policies are taking shape. But poor digital infrastructure and regulatory bottlenecks could slow adoption.

Yes, remote learning can work for preschoolers

The largest-ever humanitarian intervention in early childhood education shows that remote learning can produce results comparable to a year of in-person teaching.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.