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President Trump’s recent decision to halt entry of some Chinese graduate students to the U.S. is sowing broad anxiety, particularly in California, as universities fear they could lose an essential source of research talent.

U.S. officials say that Trump’s order, which took effect last week, is aimed at safeguarding national security by barring Chinese graduate students and researchers associated with institutions deemed to support China’s “military-civil fusion strategy.” That strategy, the order says, involves Chinese efforts to acquire foreign technologies to advance China’s military capabilities.

In a news briefing last week, State Department officials stressed that Chinese students and scholars pursuing legitimate studies here would continue to be welcomed and that the order will affect only a small number who could be used by the People’s Liberation Army to divert or steal sensitive technologies.

“American universities and research laboratories should not be used to contribute to PRC goals of military dominance,” a State Department representative said.

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