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2018-01-14 | 分类:文化 | 评论:8人

How come China lets a lot of its students go abroad?



Hyunwoo Kim, politics and ethics DPhil(PhD) at Oxford University
Answered Dec 29
I’m one of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese students studying abroad. I come from a fairly humble background with my family living in the periphery of China where the economy is lagging behind. I’m also one of the ethnic minorities in China which are just struggling to catch up with many Han Chinese living in a more prosperous region. So I think I count as one of a number of ‘ordinary students’ from China going abroad for study who can speak up for themselves.

译文来源:Quora中文网 http://quora123.com/615.html


To answer your question briefly, it’s a formal policy and established tradition since Deng’s opening-up era to encourage Chinese students to go abroad and bring back home the knowledge and information that China desperately needs in various fields of industry. Back in the 1980s and early 90s, most of Chinese students were funded by the Chinese government. It is said that Deng signed up to the idea that as long as there is one in ten students that intends to come back and contribute to China, then funding the students would be worth it as China needs talents for its modernisation and one is better than none. Even if students choose to stay overseas in the end, they’ll be involved with China in one way or another, which is also a good thing by itself. And it’s better for dissenters who hold contempt for the communist regime to stay abroad rather than come back to China making troubles for the regime. So the Chinese regime has no particular reason to worry about dissenting students coming back to make troubles.


From the late 1990s on, the number of self-funded students began to increase at a dramatic pace and they have by now become the majority of Chinese students abroad. This of course relates to the fact that some Chinese became rich thanks to the economic reform and they began to feel capable of funding their children’s study abroad. As many answers pointed out here, students who are able to support their study themselves are more likely to come from rich families which are beneficiaries of China’s economic reform and they just live by the success stories of China. Although it’s too simplistic to assume that students from a rich background would turn a deaf ear to what the Chinese government is being accused of—and indeed, many so-called ‘elite’ students do have some mixed, or even critical, views of their government, it’s fair enough to say that they would be less critical of the regime than, say, poor youths who are just struggling to sustain their livelihood in the peripheries of China.



There are also some aspects of Chinese communities abroad worth mentioning here. First, Chinese students tend to prefer staying among fellow students to mingling with foreign students, which makes them technically incapable of making sense of Western values in their own right. It’s just like living inside a bubble which sets up a cordon sanitaire between the Chinese living inside and foreigners living outside. You may encounter Chinese students on a daily basis but they live in their own world. There is a fence that separates them from the outside world.


This is not to deny that there’re indeed many Chinese who like to say hi to, say, Brits or Americans and learn about exotic cultures, and it’s more common for undergrads than for graduate students. But China has a distinct culture of its own powerful enough to sustain its own social values. This system of values encompasses everything ranging from Wechat, Alipay, Chinese songs and pop culture to cuisine, lifestyle and family values. It’s not something that one born and raised in mainland China can comfortably do away with. There is a kind of chemistry that mainland Chinese students can share with one another that foreigners, even Taiwanese who speak the same language, cannot easily get at. This may be due to the longevity and complexity of Chinese civilisation or China’s distinct social and political experience since the communist party took power, but anyway, Chinese students buy into this sense of chemistry



Second, partly due to the first point, Chinese students tend to gloss over problems with their own government very quickly as if there is nothing fundamentally wrong. They see things from their own perspectives from their own bubbles, so it’s no wonder that any critique of the Chinese re*me turns out to be a futile and desperate effort to tear apart the ‘deeply cherished motherland’. For instance, Brexit itself seems to be enough reason for them to reject Western-style democracy as democracy brings about not so wise a result, so as it stands. They’ll not really get into the details about democracy such as the moral justifications of democracy and it’s also difficult for them to appreciate the extent to which equal citizenship has been built into Western philosophy and the contemporary world that, not only Westerners, but Chinese, inhabit. As an example, there is a link, as is pointed out by many analytic philosophers today, between people’s equal status being public affirmed and the democratic rationale.



My sense is that they aren’t willing nor ready to take up the task of making sense of the complex relationship between ideas of freedom, democracy and justice on the one hand, and social and political problems in China taking place here and now on the other. It’s worth noting that the first generations of Chinese students who later went on to become prominent figures in Chinese history—such as Gu Weijun (minister of foreign relations in the Nationalist Government), Zhou enlai (Prime Minister of PRC) and Qian Zhongshu (writer and linguist)—spared no effort availing themselves of resources overseas in thinking about the modern crisis with which China was faced. Now, more and more students tend to believe, or fool themselves to believe, that this problem has been solved once and for all by China’s economic story.


Third, I’m afraid there is a third element at play here. One of the reasons the Chinese re*me doesn’t worry too much about overseas students bringing home a positive depiction of the Western world is that racial and cultural discriminations are still a huge problem in the Western world and the awful experience Chinese students had during their study may easily convince them that the West is marred by various kinds of discrimination that don’t exist in China. I’m not exaggerating here and discrimination can take many forms. The waiter may not do some proper welcoming gesture to you as she does to Caucasian-looking customers; As an Asian, it’s more likely for you to get shouted at by a drunkard than if you’re White-looking; among all tenants, you may be picked out and warned of not messing the kitchen up just because you’re Chinese and Chinese have ‘dirty cooking habits’. I think many Chinese students experience this or that in one way or another. Sometimes the discrimination and injustice suffered by Asians is so awful that some good aspects of the society they live in are all literally gone, leaving them with a dreadful memory of how they get treated. Since democracy and freedom have not made my personal, day-to-day living better in this country than in my home country, what reason do I have to give a positive rating of it?




Michael Zheng
Updated Jan 3
A funny thing actually happened, Chinese people that lived overseas are actually equal to or more patriotic than people that only lived in China. The reason is that they’ve seen and experienced the freedom and democracy of the “more advanced” Western countries first hand, and decided that Communist China is actually a better fit for them, so they returned.
This wasn’t always the case. In the 80’s and 90’s, vast majority of Chinese students would never return to China after their studies. Today, the situation is reversed. There’s a bit of irony in the freedom of choice.




Pengzhen Huang, PhD of UK and China
Answered Dec 26
Believe me, China is a confident nation. I’m sure that the extent of this confidence surpasses the limits of your imagination.


A lot of students who once studied abroad, become more and more patriotic and are eager to come back home. I DO. I don’t want to study abroad any more if it is not very necessary. It’s a complex feeling and hard to explain. It’s not only loving this country more and more, but understanding this ancient, glorious, wounded and now powerful motherland deeper and deeper. I become more proud of her long, more heart-struck about her modern history, and more hopeful about her future. I’m not lucky enough to join and see her past, so I don’t want to miss any moment of her future. It is all of us, all of Chinese, who are building the future.


Westerns have their own rules, so do we. I don’t want same.
I don’t care about your so-called freedom, democracy. We have them too.
Maybe you can’t understand if you are not a Chinese.
12.7k Views · 595 Upvotes



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  1. 五美分
    Post:2018/01/14 17:33:52


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    Post:2018/02/07 16:55:06

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