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The Evolving Policies BACKGROUND THE FIRST THREE DECADES During the past hundred years, and especially since the 1911 Revolution, China's more progressive leaders have strived to accel- erate the country's modernization by sending students abroad to acquire both knowledge and know-how. And indeed, prior to 1949, students who completed their higher education in Japan, Europe, and the United States returned to China to play an important role in the awakening society.iThey did this not only within their chosen professions, but also by bringing with them new political concepts and ideas and, in many instances, by assuming significant positions within the volatile governments in the first half of the twentieth cen- tury. Unfortunately, there were too many obstacles to be overcome and the modernization goals remained unfulfilled. For a country the size of China, the number of students was too small and too concentrated in the large coastal cities; internal politics and foreign wars inevitably interrupted and disrupted what steps may have been taken in modernizing the economy and the body politic; and, while seeking knowledge from abroad, the Chinese leaders (and, for that 1See, for example, Mary Brown Bullock, "American Exchanges with China Revisited," in Joyce K. Kallgren and Denis F. Simon, eds. Educational Exchanges: Essays on the Sino-American E~pericnec (Berkeley: University of California, 1977~. 19

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20 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA matter, the populace in general) were never really comfortable with the gradual erosion of traditional Confucian patterns ever modify- ing imported methods and substance to assure compatibility with traditional culture and to insure political control. Not long after the creation of the new government in 1949, China once again turned to the outside to accelerate the process of training specialists this time relying on her socialist neighbor to the north. Assistance from the Soviets in the 1950s went well beyond industrial plants and technology; they also helped with China's-manpower needs by training over 10,000 people in Soviet universities and higher technical schools.2 As in the case of Chinese students trained in other foreign countries, those trained in the Soviet Union also came back, gradually to assume key positions in the economy and the government of China. By 195~1957, however, relations between Moscow and Beijing began to deteriorate, reached a critical period during the Great Leap Forward (1958-1959), and virtually broke down in 1960- 1961. Moscow recalled all its specialists from China and, although a small number of Chinese students stayed on in the Soviet Union through the mid-1960s, for all practical purposes this was also the end of educational exchanges between the two countries not to be resumed until the 1980~. As a postscript, it should be noted that in the case of the Soviet Union it would be surprising if a single Chinese student was lost to Brain drain."3 Disillusioned with the political costs of Soviet assistance, and de- spite limited economic relations with Japan and some of the Western European countries, in the 1960s Mao made China into a near-recluse country by embarking on a long period" in which self-sufficiency and 2 This general-use figure reported by Soviet sources and early Chinese publications has now been supplemented by more precise statistics published by the Chinese. According to Huang Shiqi, retired Director of the Information and Documentation Unit of the State Education Commission, between 1949 and 1966, China rent 8,424 students to the Soviet Union (only 206 after 1960) and 1,109 students to East European socialist countries. aAbout tsic] 7,324 students finished their studier in the Soviet Unions and 776 in Eastern Europe. According to Huang, the higher figures include A significant number of trainees sent by industrial ministries and also a number a{ students sent by the Ministry of Defense.n (Huang Shiqi, "Contemporary Educational Relations with the Industrialized World: A Chinese Views in Ruth Hayhoe and Marianne Bastid, eds. China 'a Education and the Indu~tnalixed World {Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1987], p. 225.) 3For a discussion of some of the factors behind this assertion, see Leo A. Orleans, The 'Chinese Threat' and Soviet Emotions, Ruui4 No. 1 (1981), pp. 46-50.

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EVOLVING POLICIES 21 self-reliance became the national bywords. With the exception of several thousand students who studied languages (primarily in the United Kingdom, France, Canada, West Germany, and Japan), no one from China went abroad for professional training during the 1960s and the first half of the 1970~.4According to one source, unique in the precision of the figure it cites, from 1950 through 1979 China sent 16,676 students to study abroad- a reasonable total.5 Educa- tional, scientific, and commercial contacts with the outside world were resumed in 1971-1972, but it was not until after Mao's death in 1976 that China, in her drive toward modernization, once again began to view foreign study as one of the shortcuts to the acquisition of worId-leve! scientific and technical knowledge. In the case of the United States, the primary motivation of President Nixon's 1972 visit to China and the rapprochement that followed had political and strategic roots; but these initial contacts were quickly followed by apolitical scholarly and scientific exchanges, which became the vital first strands in the cables of a bridge that would be built between the two countries in the years that followed. After the normalization of relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China in 1979, strategic considerations were quickly reinforced by a wide range of commercial, governmental, and institutional contacts.6 The Section to initiate scholarly exchanges was made in 1978, even prior to normalization of relations, and the activity, which quickly leapfrogged from academic curiosity to extensive scientific and technical cooperation, continues to be a vita] link in the relationship between the United States and China. By 4According to Huang, during 1964-1966 the Ministry of Education drew up a three-year plan to send 2,000 students abroad to study foreign languages; between 1972 and 1976, 1,629 students were sent abroad (Huang, "A Chinese View," p. 226~. 5Zhongguo Gaodeng Xuc~ao Jianjic (Brief Introduction to China 'a In~tituics of Nigher Education) (Beijing: Education Science Press, 1982, p. 9~. By way of confirmation, in 1984 the Ministry of Education reported that China sent more than 33,000 students abroad between 1978 and 1984 (CD, Nov. 26, 1984, p. 3) and that this number is more than twice that of students sent abroad between 1949 and 1978, or approximately 16,000 to 17,000. Other scattered data suggest a similar range for the first three decades. 6For example, under the U.S.-PRC Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology, 26 protocols and memoranda of understanding have been signed between Chinese and U.S. government agencies. For a list of these broad-ranging agreements, see, for example, U.S. Congress, Office of Technololgy Assessment, Technology 1Fan~fcr to China, OTA-ISC-340 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, July 1987), pp. 109-112.

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22 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA now there is no doubt that the United States has played an important role, both in substance and mode, in the economic, academic, and perhaps even political changes that have taken place in China in the 1980s. What follows is China's perspective on the foreign education is- sue, as filtered through U.S.-made lenses. Specifically, Part ~ looks at three basic concerns of Chinese officials: first, developing poli- cies to train people abroad, with special emphasis on the selection process and the changing criteria as dictated by changing needs and circumstances within China; second, the question of a potential "brain drains and efforts to guarantee the return of students after they complete their studies; and third, the appropriate utilization of foreign-trained scholars once they return home. Since the United States has by far the largest number of Chinese students (and the largest number who choose not to return home), it is safe to assume that when new policies and directives on sending students abroad are considered, it is the United States which is uppermost in the minds of Chinese leaders. RESUMING THE EXCHANGES China's post-Mao decision to resume the sending of students abroad for study other than language was made in June 1978 and was undoubtedly hastened by the ambitious plans for scientific de- velopment announced at the National Science Conference held in Beijing in March of that year. Whereas the earlier, cautious contacts and exchanges with the West were, at least in part, prompted by the perceived threat from the Soviet Union, the post-Mao leadership quickly shifted its priorities from strategic concerns to the acceler- ated program for national modernization. The new direction made it clear to Beijing that if the "special scientific and technical spheres" and "pace-setting disciplines," identified at the Science Conference as essential to China's modernization, were to be realized, then the country would have to turn to the industrialized nations of the world for various types of assistance, support, and know-how. The opening of China has indeed created a whole range of channels through which scientific and technical knowledge, experience, and information have been flowing into the country and generating economic and social changes albeit not always welcome changes which could not have been foreseen a decade earlier. One of the important channels for the absorption of knowledge in its broadest sense has been and continues

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EVOLVING POLICIES 23 to be the exchange of scholars and students between China and the advanced nations of the worId.7 Although the flow of Chinese students to the United States was on a much larger scale, it was representative of the influx to other countries as wed. Chinese scholars started to come here ahnost imme- diately after the Nixon visit to China in 1972, but in those early years the visits were primarily short-term get-acquainted tours, which did not evolve into more serious long-term exchanges of scholars and students until the end of the decade. Nevertheless, the importance of academic exchanges in the normalization process can be appreciated by the fact that the Understanding on Educational Exchanges, an agreement that provided for study and research by undergraduate students, graduate students, and visiting scholars, was signed in the fall of 1978- even prior to the establishment of diplomatic relations in January 1979, when it was incorporated into the much broader Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology. The current Accord for Educational Exchanges was signed, after much negoti- ation, in July 1985 and its principles form the basis for all official educational exchanges between the United States and the People's Republic of China. In principle, access to U.S. educational institutions was an ideal shortcut to the acquisition of worId-leve} scientific and technical knowledge; in practice, however, there were a number of reasons why several years passed before China could take full advantage of the opportunity. Aside from the normal problems of getting a major new program on track, the Chinese had to overcome a more formidable obstacle: the lasting and now all too familiar ejects of the Cultural Revolution on the educational system and on the intellectual (educated) segment of the society. Most of the worker-, peasant-, and soldier-students who pursued the much simplified and shortened curricula of Chinese colleges In the 1970s were in no sense qualified to be sent abroad for study.8 Consequently, the first wave of Chinese who were sent abroad in the 1970s and early 1980s were, for the most part, scholars in their 7See, for example, Leo A. Orleans, "Chinese Students and Technology Transfer, Journal of Northeast Asian Studded, Vol. IV, No. 4, Winter 1985, pp. 3-25. 8For a discussion of the varying qualifications of graduates of Chinese universities, see Leo A. Orleans, "Graduates of Chinese Universities: Adjusting the Total, The China Quarterly, September 1987, pp. 444-449.

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24 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA forties, fifties, and older virtually all of them from the institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences or from universities under the Ministry of Education (now the State Education Commission). They had been trained in the West or in Japan prior to 1949, in the Soviet Union during the 1950s, or ~ China between 1950 and 1965. They were individuals of professional stature in the research organizations and/or with considerable rank within the bureaucracies of these institutions, but for over a dozen years they had been isolated from the worId's scholarly community. For the most part they came to catch up with advances that had taken place in their disciplines. They came to renew old contacts and to establish new ones. Some even managed to pursue research and/or advanced degrees. There were also a few hundred undergraduates in the early ex- changes, but they, too, were somewhat older, primarily individuals who managed to get an education despite the Cultural Revolution (usually with the assistance and encouragement of educated parents) and who excelled in the early college-entrance examinations. These circumstances are clearly evident in the figures of the late 1970s. Of the 2,230 individuals who were sent abroad (to all countries) in 1978 and 1979, only 420 (less than a fifth) were undergraduates, 180 were graduate students, and the rest were researchers or scholars.9 In general, there was no carefully thought-out policy in those early years for sending students abroad just a natural extension of the broad-based national goal of modernization and opening up to the West. The aim was to get as many students and scholars into foreign universities and research institutions as Chinese funding and foreign scholarships would allow. The policies evolved gradually through trial and error and through experience. It was natural for U.S. universities to make special arrangements for visiting scholars from China, but in the early years there was also an attempt to by- pass normal channels by seeking specialized access. Partly because of the novelty of the relationship with China and the idea of hav- ing Chinese students on campus, preferential treatment was often granted. Many U.S. universities acknowledged that special criteria were applied to Chinese students, most notably by waiving some of the standardized tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Lan- guage (TOEFL), which is normally required of all foreign students who are not native speakers of English. Language tests given by the 9Bcijing Review (hereafter referred to as BR), No. 47, Nov. 23, 1979, p. 5.

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EVOLVING POLICIES 25 Chinese themselves were obviously inadequate because most visiting scholars who came to the United States in 1979 and the early 1980s had serious language deficiencies and had to be enrolled in language training courses. Many institutions also waived the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), and some of the tests required by professional schools. In order to facilitate Chinese access to funding, some specialized groups even set up their own testing process. Universities considered the special treatment of Chinese students to be temporary in nature to facilitate the resume tion of exchanges with China-a kind of international "head start" program.~ With some prodding and explaining by U.S. academics, it took the Chinese only a year or two to realize that, in the Tong term, insistence on continued preferential treatment of Chinese students would, in many respects, be counterproductive. Not only would it create obvious problems in relations between them and other stu- dents, but preferential treatment would also make it more difficult for Chinese students to compete for financial support. In a signif- icant breakthrough, the Chinese government relented not just by tightening their own national examinations but more significantly by permitting the administering of both TOEFL and GRE in China to anyone hoping to study in the United States. The 1980s also saw an impressive qualitative improvement in Chinese Institutions of higher education, thus greatly expanding the pool of individuab who could qualify for admission to foreign universities. EXPERIENCE AND CHANGE Naturally, the experiences of Chinese students and scholars sent abroad were studied by the governmental and academic entities in- volved in foreign education. The review process was continuous, but many of the problems and decisions with regard to sending people abroad were discussed and summarized at periodic national confer- ences. Although sketchily reported, the information that came out of these conferences reflects some of the indecisions and the gradual evolution of China's policies. The first national work conference on sending people to study resee, for example, Thomas Fingar and Linda A. Reed, Survey Summary: Students and Scholar~from the Pcopic's Republic of China in the United Statce (Wa~h- ington, D.C.: U.S.-China Education Clearing House, August 19813.

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26 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA abroad was called in January 1980 by the Ministry of Education, the State Council, and the Bureau of Scientific and Technical Personnel. It was presided over by Gao Yi, Vice-Minister of Education, and attended by more than 160 people from both national and provincial educational, scientific, and technological departments and commis- sions. The conferees reiterated the need for foreign training in order to close the gap between China and the advanced countries and con- firmed the priorities that were already being followed. Specifically, in selecting "outstanding talent" to send abroad, officials were urged to follow the "three-priority principle": ~ . 1 1 A ~ 1 ~ _ _t ~ 1. It is important to select people who will Improve the teaching quality of higher education. 2. While social sciences and language training are unport ant, priority should be given to natural sciences. 3. Within the natural sciences priority should be given to tech- nological sciences, but without ignoring the needs for either basic science or applied technology. In 1980, the conferees were also told that all those selected for training abroad had to "support the party line, ardently love the motherland, be dedicated to the revolutionary cause"-a heuristic requirement that seems to have been almost entirely ignored since then. Two additional points made at that meeting, and frequently re- peated since then, looked to the future. First, all were reminded that sending students and scholars abroad was not a short-term policy but one that would continue indefinitely~3uggesting that scholarly inter- course with other nations was considered vital to China's long-term modernization goals and not just a temporary, stopgap measure; and second, it was pointed out that, although of necessity in 1980 most of those going abroad were mid-career scholars, in the future most would be graduate students. This transition took several years but, as we shall see, it is now being implemented. Undoubtedly there were other meetings held in the early 1980s, but the second major conference called to discuss government plans for selecting, administering, educating, and financing students going abroad was held in Beijing in November 1984 and was attended by 270 participants.l2 Although the conference was highly publicized, relatively few detain came out of the seven-day meeting. There Xinhua, Jan. 4, 1980; FBIS, Jan. 9, 1980, p. 4. CD, Nov. 30, 1984, p. 1.

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EVOLVING POLICIES 27 was, however, a clearly discernible shift in emphasis. By 1984 China reported the return of some 14,000 students (see Table 11), and so while problems of selection and financing continued to occupy the conferees, much more tune was spent on policies and directives to improve the utilization of those who had returned, balancing their expectations with the needs of national development.~3 Significantly, though not surprisingly, it became clear that foreign education was of prime concern not only to the leaders in the fields of science and technology, education, and economics, but also to the country's political hierarchy, many of whom attended the conference. In fact, Zhang Jingfu, the State Councilor who addressed the opening and closing ceremonies, states] specifically that the principles, targets, problems, and other issues relating to the sending of students abroad were of great concern to the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and that members of these bodies held periodic meetings "to discuss and guide the program." Perhaps as a consequence of decisions made at the November conference, in early January 1985 the State Council published a set of regulations that, although not too different from earlier directives, marked a somewhat more liberal phase in facilitating foreign training for any individual who was able to "obtain financial support or schol- arships in foreign exchange and the necessary enrollment papers." Such individuals could apply to study abroad at any academic level, whether as undergraduates or as advanced scholars, "irrespective of school record, age, or duration of employment."44 The regulations guaranteed passports not only for students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, but also for individuals already in the work force. The process was further facilitated by the establishment of an office at the Beijing I,anguages Institute, which would provide consultations to students intending to study abroad. Although, as we shall see, the actual implementation of this policy turned out to be uneven, 1985 and 1986 saw significant increases in the number of U.S. visas issued to Chinese scholars and students (see Table 4-3~. The new regulations had two additional benefits. First, with greater reliance on foreign funding the number of students sent abroad could be increased. Second, they relieved Chinese authorities of the diffi- cult and often sensitive selection process by formally passing on the i3Xinhua, Nov. 29, 1984; IBIS, Nov. 30, 1984, pp. 7-9. i4CD, Jan. 14, 1985, p. 3.

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28 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA final responsibility to foreign educational institutions that admit the students which in practice had already been the case. The more liberal policies introduced in 1985 only intensified the "study-abroad fever" that was sweeping the urban educational in- stitutions, causing Chinese officials to complain that the students' "blind desire" to study abroad had become "their major objective in life." Writing in a higher education journal, one commentator de- scribed it as an abnormal phenomenon deserving serious attention. He noted that in 1985 there was a sharp increase in the number of students taking the TOEFL examination to study abroad on their own.~5 Students expended so much energy in making the right con- tacts (e.g., approaching foreign scholars visiting their universities) and on foreign language study that their other courses were ad- versely affected. To counteract this "study-abroad fever" the author stressed the importance of making students understand that a for- eign degree no matter the acadern~c standing of the institution is not necessarily a guarantee of success and that the level of both un- dergraduate and graduate studies at some of China's better key uni- versities was comparable to education in foreign countries. China's first-rate universities should not be turned into "study-abroad prep schools, he said, suggesting that this problem could be corrected by improving the overall guidance and direction of students hoping to go abroad, strengthening their ideological and political education, and convincing them that foreign degrees are not the only road to success. The fact is that, while foreign degrees may not be the only road to success, they definitely smooth the bumps and pave the potholes. One commentator writing in the People's Daily, for example, congratulated two young men who were awarded Trench state doctorates in mathematics and were thereupon appointed to professorships at home, but then went on to lament that young per- sons with similar intelligence and capabilities, but with degrees from Chinese universities, would never be so honored.~7 It will surely take i5The increase in the number taking the TOEFL examination was primarily due to two factors: (1) in 1985 additional TOEFL centers were opened in China to meet the existing demand, and (2) by then more people had more years of language study. ~6Xiao Hang, "Do Not Disregard 'Study Abroad Ferrer'," Gaojiao Zhan~an (Higher Education FFont), No. 3, March 13, 1986; JPRS-CPS-86-058, July 10, 1986, p. 39. ,7CD, April 25, 1987, p. 4.

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EVOLVING POLICIES 29 more than ideological education to overcome the special prestige ac- corded to foreign diplomas, and it will be a long time before the "study-abroad fever" subsides. It ~ not surprising that the preoccupation with foreign study combined with shifting policies created confusion and spawned ru- mors. No doubt this condition was discussed at the National Con- ference on Study Abroad in May 1986, which was caned to review the program and plan its future course. It was at this conference that Liu Zhong~e, Deputy Minister of the State Education Commis- sion, conducted a lengthy interview with reporters from Xinhua news agency and with an education newspaper, Zhongguo Jiaoyu Bao- because "so many people were unclear about the country's policies on overseas studies." Curiously, neither source published this important interview until early July.39 One of the widespread rumors that Liu had to squelch was that permission to go abroad required leaving a deposit of 20,000 yuan (then about U.S.$8,000) with the government. He gave his assurance that there was no basis for this rumor. Liu did point out, however, that when study tours were financed by a work unit (rather than the state), the students going abroad would have to agree in writing to return to that unit on completion of their foreign studies.20Another rumor that had to be dispelled by the State Education Commission was that China planned to reduce the number of students going abroad. "There are no plans to curb the rise in applications for foreign study and research, said the deputy minister, because this program ~ "in line with the country's policy of opening to the outside worId.~2iNevertheless, reports that Chinese authorities were consid- ering steps to cut back or cut off privately sponsored study abroad persisted and fueled the urgency to get out before any policy changes might be Instituted. It ~ easy to see how the confusion in China would spread to foreign institutions of higher education, where un- certainty was also a problem for university administrators and other officials involved with Chinese students. Liu ZhongUe's interview also included a most authoritative state- ment on the existing regulations regarding foreign education regu i8Huang, "A Chinese View," p. 249. i9Zhongguo Jiaoyu Bao ~ China Education News), July 8, 1986; JPRS-CPS-86- 081, Nov. 6, 1986; see also Xinhua, July 8, 1986; FBIS, July 9, 1986, p. K12. 20Xinhua, July 8, 1986; FBIS, July 9, 1986, p. K12. 2iCD, May 15, 1986, p. 3.

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30 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA rations that were introduced after a six-month survey by the State Education Cornrn~ssion, which began at the end of 1985. The fol- lowing list summarizes his most important points, which are still valid and have been reiterated by other officials, including then Vice- Premier Li Pen g in an interview with Hong Kong correspondents.22 1. During the Seventh Five-Year Plan (198~1990) the number of persons to be sent abroad to study at the expense of the cen- tral government will remain approx~nately at the 1985-1986 level. Nevertheless, the total number of students going abroad is likely to increase because, beginning in 1986, a large proportion of slots for postgraduate studies abroad are being allocated to Various locali- ties, departments, and units using their own funds." 2. The emphasis will be on disciplines in which China has a shortage and that are most important for the country's moderniza- tion. The relegation of the selection process to localities will facilitate this goal. First, as in the case of centrally selected scholars, it wiD be possible for individual work units to insist on a more direct link between foreign education and the specific needs of the sponsoring enterprises and institutions. And second, the units will be able to enter into an agreement with the person sent abroad, in which both parties will have a clear idea of their responsibilities, liabilities, and rights. (A recent dispatch from Beijing, published in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), stated that the government now requires each student sent abroad by their institution to sign a contract nam- ing a guarantor to financially pros se their return. The article cited an incident in which the courts imposed an enormous fine on the wife and family of a student who failed to return from Japan.23 At this time it is impossible to verify this report or to speculate whether this is a special case or a harbinger of things to come.) 3. Beijing will gradually decrease the number of college gradu- ates going abroad to study for master degrees, while increasing the number going for doctorates after completing the master's at home. As for students who receive doctoral degrees abroad, they must rev turn to China to Work for some timer (other sources say two years) in a university or a research unit before going abroad again for post- doctoral work. This will (again) help the scholars coordinate their 22Liaowang Ovcrscae Edition (Hong Kong), No. 51, Dec. 22, 1986; JPRS- CPS-87-011, March 13, 1987, pp. 25-29. 23 South China Morrung Post, March 15, 1988; FBIS-CHI-88-050, March 15, 1988, p. 9.

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EVOLVING POLICIES 31 advanced work with China's needs. At the same time, special funds will be allocated for holders of doctorates, so that they wiD be able to carry on exchanges with foreign experts and, if necessary, go abroad to participate in academic conferences and postdoctoral research. 4. Liu stressed the need to maintain the highest professional, language, and moral standards for the state-sponsored scholars going abroad. In addition to the obvious reasons for such a requirement, there is another consideration that he did not mention. Chinese government fellowships are now usually limited to one year, and it is the (unstated) expectation of the sponsoring units that Chinese students will be so outstanding that additional education will be financed by grants from the host universities. This is, in fact, a common occurrence (see Tables 5-4, 5-5, and 5-9~. 5. His final point referred to those studying abroad at their own expense. On the one hand, he procIanned that the government will not stand in their way and that they will receive "the same solicitude and care" as the government-sponsored students; on the other hand, he introduced a number of exceptions. More effort wid be made, he said, "to guide and control" selsupporting students "so that their selection and dispatch will conform to state requirements, meet certain goals, and be carried out in a planned way." In fact, the suggested controls apply primarily to graduate students enrolled in Chinese universities, who "cannot apply for permission to go abroad to study at their own expense." Without such a restriction, according to Liu, graduate students would drop out of schools, crush abroad," and upset the existing plans and quotas for domestic postgraduate education. From other sources it ~ clear, however, that the author- ities are attempting to "have their cake and eat it too." The plan is to insist that graduate students with private funding apply for education abroad through the normal government channels and in that capacity apply for official (~-1) visas, to become "self-supported and state-dispatched" (gongpai zifei} students. This should relieve the state of the financial burden for their education and, if precedent is a guide, make it more likely that they return after completing their studies. Liu Zhong~e's lengthy interview in May 1986 was, in a sense, a trial balloon. As Deputy Minister, his statements carried all the nec- essary authority and were undoubtedly passed down through both government and party channels for unplementation, but there was no official document to refer to. Perhaps the student demonstrations late that winter and the subsequent speculation about their effects on

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32 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA the sending of students abroad prompted Beijing to publish a formal document to confirm the continued importance of foreign education and to set down the rules and regulations that govern it. This doc- ument, which amplifies Liu's points but does not contradict him or others writing in the past year, is entitled "Certain Interim Provi- sions of the State Education Commission on the Work of Sending Personnel Abroad."24 The complete text of the "provisions," which were approved by the Party Central Committee and the State Coun- cil and released in June 1987 by the State Education Commission, is included in the Appendix. In the spring of 1988, there was another flurry of rumors about new policies on sending students abroad. Chinese students in the United States cited a document issued on November 2S, 1987 (but not released) that includes the following points: 3 1. The number of state-sponsored students sent abroad will be reduced to 3,000 per year and only 20 percent of this total (600) will be allowed to come to the United States. 2. Work units will be limited to sending scholars and not degree candidates. 3. ". . . iNjo one at work or study is allowed to solicit scholar- ships, student loans, or any other financial support from foreign or domestic institutions. 4. Individuals with bachelor's degrees will be limited to two years for a master's degree or five years for a doctor's degree, while those who already have a master's will have to get their PhD in four years. 5. Postdoctoral research or practical training will be limited to one-and-a-half years. The students responded with a letter to Premier Li Peng. After assuring him that "Chinese students overseas all love their country," they complained that students abroad were not consulted before pol- icy changes were made, pointed to the unrealistic nature of the new regulations, and requested that the new restrictions be reexamined. In early April 1988, Huang Xinbai, a member of the State Edu- cation Commission, addressed the students' concern by stating that China's policy of sending students abroad "remains unchanged and 24Xinhua, June 10, 1987; JPRS-CAR-87-024, July 23, 1987, p. 89. Given the volatility of the subject, the word "interims is likely to remain in the title of any future revisions of this document.

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EVOLVING POLICIES 33 will never change.~25 He went on to note that reports of cuts were groundless and "fabricated with ulterior motives" and that in 1988 the number of students going abroad will be approximately as they were in 1987 (i.e., about 3,000 state-sponsored, about 5,000 unit- sponsored, and a niinimum of 3,000 self-financed). Huang did not reject the figure of 600 state-financed students coming to the United States, but explained that 4,000 others will come under the auspices of the various institutions and work units. Huang admitted, however, that some "adjustments" win be made, essentially corresponding to earlier-discussed policies: increasing the number going abroad to pursue advanced studies, encouraging applied rather than theoreti- cal fields of study, and sending more students to countries that, so far, have accepted few Chinese. How should this latest exchange between the students and the State Education Commission be interpreted? It is premature and therefore risky to make any definite conclusions. Two points, how- ever, should be kept in mind. First, Chinese students in the United States have had a tendency to be overly sensitive to every decree or rumor emanating from home and, not surprisingly, translate them immediately in terms of their own personal and professional concerns. And second, although theoretically the State Education Commission is the officially designated agency to oversee the sending of students abroad, it admits that all it can provide is guidance and suggestions and that it has no way of controlling students sent by other ministries and organizations. It is therefore reasonable to expect that whether significant changes in China's policies are taking place, as the stu- dents maintain, or changes are not anticipated, as the authorities in Beijing profess, the broad chasm that has existed between official proclamations and local interpretation and implementation will still be there, a divergence discussed in detail in the next section. PROBLEMS OF IMPLEMENTATION Since, on the face of it, each set of regulations seemed to answer most of the questions generated by the studie~abroad program, why then has there been so much confusion both in China and in the host countries? Why is there a continuing divergence between a stated 25Press release, Embassy of the Peopled Republic of China Washington D.C e, April 8, 1988 e

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34 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA policy and how it is actually implemented? A few reasons can be suggested. As in the case of so many recent policies, regulations on foreign education are not only new but, as we have seen, constantly evolving to match changing needs, attitudes, and experiences. Communica- tions being what they are in China, new regulations promulgated in Beijing do not always travel through the same channels or reach the relevant units at the same time, or even in the same form. To further confuse the issue, individual localities and institutions are encouraged to interpret and implement ah policies "according to local conditions." Moreover, as we already know, regulations and procedures for state-sponsored students have differed from those for privately sponsored students. It is therefore entirely possible that several institutions in the same city may not be unplementing poli- cies in the same way and that two students from adjacent universities could receive different instructions regarding foreign study. Such cu- mulative distortion of policies provides fertile ground for rumors and confusion. Additional complications result from the inevitable exceptions. Some students have complained that they were not permitted to leave the country even after assurance of funding and admission to a foreign university. The directive that requires students to work before going abroad has been implemented helter-skelter in some localities and ignored in others. Nor did it help that offspring of high-level officials seemed unencumbered by the rules and had lit- tie difficulty in going abroad for both undergraduate and graduate degrees.26 Despite adverse publicity, it appears that this practice did not disappear completely and rumor has it that new regulations will be introduced regarding senior cadres' children studying abroad at their own expense.27 Moreover, decentralized funding patterns both 26See, for example, David Wang and Ian Chung, "Who Gets To Study Abroad,n Hong Kong Standard, Nov. 3, 1986; FBIS, Nov. 5, 1986, p. K5. This article lists the names of several dozen students from families of high-ranking officials who went abroad to study, as well as the institutions that they attended. While it is true that these parents were more likely to be able to subsidize foreign education and to speed up the necessary paperwork, it is only fair to say that, by virtue of their environment and opportunities, children of high-ranking cadres are more likely to meet the academic requirements for admission to foreign universities than are most Chinese youth. 27Cheng Ming (Hong Kong), Jan. 1, 1988; FBIS-CHI-88-003, Jan. 6, 1988, p. 18.

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EVOLVING POLICIES 35 local and from abroad" make it difficult for the central government to control the flow of students. The various obstacles on the home front, of course, are further accentuated by the uncertainties associ- ated with the difficult process of obtaining visas. It is not surprising, therefore, that so many prospective students for foreign education are confused, nervous, and perplexed about their future. What seems clear is that as long as the "study-abroad fever" continues and the current mood and attitudes persist, the ingenious Chinese youth will inevitably be searching for (and often finding) ways and means of circumventing any regulations that may stand in the way. The liberalization of the economy and the unpressive advances made in higher education in recent years may moderate the "study-abroad fever, but it is not likely to stem the desire of young intellectuals for a foreign education.