The report drew widespread attention in China, including follow-up reports from Global Times, an influential nationalist tabloid and news site. It said this week that 280 or more Chinese scholars in the humanities and social sciences had seen their visas for the United States canceled or blocked, or had been “harassed” by the F.B.I. It did not cite a source for that number.
“The only plausible explanation is that the self-confidence of the United States really is rapidly rupturing and shrinking,” Global Times said in a separate editorial. “This is the brazen behavior of a ‘police state.’”
Such criticism may seem ironic to American scholars who have been denied permission to visit China in recent decades. They include Perry Link, a professor of Chinese who most recently has taught at the University of California, Riverside, and Andrew Nathan, a professor of political science at Columbia University.
Other researchers and former officials from the United States and other Western countries have said they became wary of visiting China after two Canadians living there — Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat turned researcher, and Michael Spavor, a businessman — were detained in December.
Mr. Pillsbury, who was a Pentagon official during the Reagan administration, has written about China’s military strategy. He is best known for “The Hundred-Year Marathon,” a book about what he says is the Chinese goal of supplanting the United States as the world’s dominant power by 2049. Other China experts in the United States have criticized Mr. Pillsbury’s use of sources and his conclusions.
Mr. Pillsbury has maintained contact with a range of Chinese officials, including ones in the People’s Liberation Army. In 2015, he hosted Col. Liu Mingfu, a hawkish retired officer and author, at a dinner party at his Georgetown home. Mr. Pillsbury has said he believes it is important to have exchanges with Chinese counterparts in order to better understand the Communist Party’s ambitions and strategies.
Mr. Pillsbury said that until this incident, he had never had a visa request denied or go unapproved since he began visiting China in the late 1970s. He has been to China more than 50 times, and this would have been his fifth visit since Mr. Trump was elected in 2016, he said.
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