Newsletter: A crackdown on China hits U.S. academia

Shirley Meng
Shirley Meng, a UC San Diego professor, says she cautions her students about going home to China this summer because strict visa rules may stall their return to the U.S.
(David Baillot / UCSD)

Chinese students and scholars feel targeted, and universities feel the pinch, amid the Trump administration’s crackdown on Beijing.


A Crackdown on China Hits U.S. Academia

The Trump administration has intensified its crackdown on China over trade, technology and security — and now it has spread to universities in the U.S. Federal officials are warning that Beijing is exploiting an open academic environment to steal intellectual property and innovations. But the moves have sparked fears that authorities are racially profiling ethnic Chinese students and scholars — and that aggressive actions will jeopardize the kind of open international collaboration that has been a hallmark of higher education in the U.S. Given the number of Chinese academics in the University of California system, the issue is particularly fraught at UC campuses from San Diego to Berkeley.

A Rising Political Force


Indian Americans represent just over 1% of the U.S. population, but they’ve become a growing political force. They have contributed more than $3 million to 2020 presidential campaigns — more than the coveted donors of Hollywood. Among Democrats, they are largely split among Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Cory Booker. They’ve also donated more than $1 million to committees supporting Trump.

More Politics

-- Trump launched a fresh Twitter attack Sunday on four minority congresswomen he said were not “capable of loving our Country.” Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a senior Democratic congressman who was active in the civil rights movement, responded by saying he now has “no doubt” Trump is a racist.

-- House Democrats hope to boost public support for impeaching Trump when former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testifies to Congress for the first time Wednesday about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and alleged obstruction of justice.

Iran’s Answer to ‘Homeland’

The television show “Gando” has high production values, choreographed gunfights and action sequences that far outclass its peers. The good guys? Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, the elite special forces unit that is regarded as a terrorist organization in the West. For millions of Iranians, it’s must-see TV. A key message: Engaging with the West is for weaklings.

The Sheriff’s Son

Seven months after Alex Villanueva was sworn in as Los Angeles County sheriff, his 33-year-old son, Johannes Jared Villanueva, was hired as a deputy sheriff trainee — despite a record that department watchdogs said would generate scrutiny. He’s now on track to graduate from the academy in November. Though it’s unclear what role, if any, Villanueva played in his son’s hiring, the news comes as the sheriff is facing questions about other hiring decisions.

Sign up to get Today’s Headlines delivered to your inbox. »


-- Did this student deserve admission to UCLA‘s renowned gymnastics team? Her team biography had no record of a competitive career.

-- California officials are looking to New York’s “right to shelter” policy in their search for solutions to the homelessness crisis.

-- To folks in the town of Todos Santos, Guatemala, success stories start with a trek to the U.S.

-- Where would you take a visitor to Los Angeles? Columnist Steve Lopez asked around and got these suggestions.

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.


Caesar, born on June 1, 1977, weighed 7 pounds when Times photographer John Malmin took the image below. His name was an homage to how he was born: in the first known caesarean section performed on a gorilla. His mother, Ellie, had killed her previous offspring after birth, so doctors and veterinarians performed the operation at the L.A. Zoo.

July 22, 1977: Caesar is burped by animal keeper Ann Harrell after polishing off a bottle of formula.
(John Malmin / Los Angeles Times)


-- Three members of a now-defunct white supremacist group that was based in Southern California have been sentenced to prison for their roles in provoking violence at a deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

-- A Muslim employee at the L.A. Department of Water and Power is suing over allegations of harassment and discrimination.

-- L.A. says it put 21,631 homeless people into housing. Is that really true?

-- Idyllwild has long prized its isolation. Now, with the roads into town wrecked, it feels all alone.


-- At Comic-Con, Marvel — not movies — was the main attraction.

-- Disney continued its box office winning streak this weekend with the live-action adaptation of “The Lion King.” It took in an estimated $185 million in North America.

-- Netflix took another step to bolster its Hollywood credentials, signing a historic agreement with the union that represents Hollywood actors and other performers.


-- Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rossello said that he would not seek reelection in 2020 but that he would not resign amid calls for him to step down.

-- Paul Krassner, the counterculture satirist who coined the term “Yippie,” has died at 87.

-- Cooler temperatures are expected today after a heat wave wreaked havoc on the East Coast.

-- In Hong Kong, police launched tear gas at protesters. Meanwhile, subway riders were attacked by masked assailants who apparently were targeting pro-democracy demonstrators.


-- Leaders of some of the world’s most powerful nations are posing new threats to the global economy by using trade sanctions to punish and coerce other countries on issues that have no substantial connection to trade or economics.

-- If you have a 529 college savings plan but no kids, what do you do?


-- At the British Open, the ending was downright cinematic, as Irishman Shane Lowry won his first major championship in Northern Ireland.

-- Manny Pacquiao’s victory could be the ultimate farewell to a storied boxing career. Columnist Bill Plaschke says Pac Man should hang it up.


-- Police in Los Angeles and other cities have plenty to do without Trump coercing them into immigration enforcement.

-- Germany paid Holocaust reparations. Will the U.S. do the same for slavery?


On Saturday we marked the Apollo 11 moon landing’s 50th anniversary with a special edition of this newsletter and asked for your memories of the event. Here are a few of the responses:

-- Karen Kanke James: “I watched the moon landing from a hospital bed, recovering from surgery for a ruptured appendix, hooked up to IVs giving antibiotics. Because there were only TVs in patients’ rooms, every doctor and nurse on duty came to my room to watch. Everyone cheered for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they walked on the moon and erected the American flag!”

-- Barbara Duncan: “My husband Robert was in the space race as an engineer for Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. He helped write the fueling procedures for the Lunar Excursion Model. We had moved from Florida to California just before the landing. When the LEM left the moon and met up with Apollo 11, he turned to me and said, ‘My job is over.’ Sure enough he was laid off.”

-- Maureen Orford: “Remember standing in my lounge room, watching the TV. Thinking about it, we really didn’t comprehend exactly what it was we were watching, it seemed so strange. I still get goosebumps. I lived in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia only 15 miles from the Cooby Creek Tracking Station, which was the initial receiving point for the video feed of the Apollo 11 moon landing. All that’s left of the station is a slab of concrete, but the Toowoomba people always felt we were part of the magic of NASA.”


“Some sports people call me Dr. Heckle and Mr. Snide,” Jim Healy once said. “And some call me a lot of other things as well. But I do the kind of stuff that isn’t pap.” On this date 25 years ago, the fixture of L.A. sports radio died at age 70. But the legend lives on, and that’s not just plain poppycock.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at