US should heed China’s student warning

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/3 22:28:40

China's Ministry of Education (MOE) warned on Monday of the risk of applying to study in the US after some Chinese students were hit with visa limits and rejections. The ministry reminded students and scholars to enhance risk assessment, strengthen awareness of prevention and make corresponding preparations before going to study abroad.

Some Chinese scholars interviewed by the Global Times believe the warning is necessary and is the due response to the US discrimination against Chinese students and scholars since 2018.

The current US government is indulging in an absurd understanding that China's modernization was "stolen" from the US. FBI Director Christopher Wray even alleged that "China has pioneered a societal approach to stealing innovation," inciting the government to guard against all Chinese scholars and students coming to the US. This will inevitably increase the risk of studying or conducting academic exchanges in the US.

Chinese students have made a great contribution to the prosperity of the education sector in the US. Receiving foreign students is not a one-sided offer from the US. There are currently some 1.1 million overseas students in the US, of which Chinese students constitute one-third. In 2018 alone, Chinese students studying in the US spent an estimated $18.9 billion.

The US government's discrimination against foreign students has started to threaten the long-term prosperity of the US higher education sector. In a recent open letter, Yale University President Peter Salovey affirmed the institution's commitment to international students and scholars and urged the US government to clarify concerns they have about international academic exchanges.

The MOE's warning is aimed at the US, which would have been unbelievable in the past. But the isolationist trends in the US are threatening the security of Chinese students in the country. The US disregard toward Chinese students' contribution is forcing Chinese society to adopt a prudent attitude toward visiting the US.

The warning is not a ban, but a governmental act to protect the interests of Chinese students who study abroad. China's latest warning will add pressure to many US universities, and thus the pressure will pass to the federal government. Chinese students and scholars can decide whether they will continue to study in the US, and Chinese officials will not set up any barriers for them.

Chinese society's opinion on studying abroad, especially studying in the US, remains positive. This is seen as a signature of China's opening-up. Although the US has started to impede the two countries' cooperation, China will not raise the stakes and will not proactively stop Chinese people from studying in the US.

But the change in strategic attitude on the part of the US toward China is not short-term. China's opening-up needs to search for potential in other directions, and Chinese students should not only focus on the US for studying abroad. The number of Chinese students studying in the UK has been increasing in recent years. This shows that the choices for Chinese people to study abroad are rapidly diversifying.

The trade war and the illusions held by some of the radical elite that the US can decouple from China fly against globalization. China's counterattacks are powerful because the country has advanced with the times.

The US probably hopes to shut the door of cutting-edge university majors to China. But Washington needs to understand that choices are two-way. China's top students will not choose the US if it cannot make their study more competitive. The actual value and reputation of studying in the US will be harmed. 

Without China, the world's biggest developing market, advanced US research and education will lose ground. The US is laying the seeds of its own ruin.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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