Victor Shih

In a last-ditch effort to mess up the relations between China and the US, the Trump administration issued rules to prevent members of the communist party to enter the US. Political analyst Victor Shih explains in Politico why that is not a smart move.


Beware unintended side effects of the new U.S. rules on CCP members entering the country. A White House rule announced earlier this month limiting Chinese Communist Party members to short, single-entry visas to the U.S. won’t have much practical impact with travel all but shut down, but as both countries’ populations get vaccinated and travel resumes, its practical implications could be problematic. Making it harder for CCP members to enter “would force U.S. businesspeople, academics and officials to go to China more often to meet with their counterparts, potentially exposing them to even more Chinese intelligence and influence efforts,” Victor Shih, political economy professor at U.C. San Diego, tells China Watcher. “Besides, I am sure the Chinese government would provide the real spies with covers that preclude Party membership, so a membership litmus test really doesn’t tell you much.”

— Better idea: Allow CCP members to renounce their Party. “Given that a good number of the smartest and most educated people from China had been inducted into the party early on, the U.S. should provide a path for citizenship even for party members,” Shih says. “Beyond signing a legally binding document prohibiting them from participating in party activities, they also can fill out a detailed questionnaire on how they joined the party. This would allow the U.S. to continue to naturalize the best and brightest from China without the cat and mouse game of people lying about their party membership.”

More in Politico.

Victor Shih is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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