I was outraged by reports that the Bush Administration is trying to kill the Pelosi bill, which abolishes the two-year "home residency requirement" for Chinese students in the U.S. As a graduate student at Caltech for the past five years, I have become close friends with a number of Chinese graduate students. They and I know that if they are forced to return to China, we will never see each other again.
The Chinese students often outperform their American peers at the best universities in the U.S. and have a great potential to contribute to our society. I find it ironic that, amid daily reports of America's decline as a world leader in technology, the President would send these students home to face the wrath of their disgraced government.
We Americans enthusiastically commend the lifting of travel restrictions and moves toward democracy currently taking place in Eastern Europe. Are the human rights of the Chinese students less important those those of their Eastern European counterparts? The Chinese government has proven its capacity for harsh punishment and its blatant disregard for the sanctity of life. My friends know what awaits them if they return home: retaliation for participating in protest marches and for their part in the student uprisings.