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Problems in Utilizing Returning Students and Scholars Beijing is well aware that foreign training is the quickest way to improve the levels of scientific and technical knowledge while conserving investment. Moreover, while China may not always be able or willing to import the most advanced technologies, returning scholars bring with them the intellectual resources needed to create state-of-the-art technologies at home. But despite the recognized value of returning scholars to the nation, the problems associated with their placement and utilization have so far received much more publicity than their contributions-another example of how open and self-critical China is today. So, while we know that all too often these highly trained individuals have not been properly placed or fully utilized, there remains much that we do not know: What impact do returned students make on their work unit and on China's modernization in general? What role do they play in the diffusion of the knowledge that they gained abroad? How do the roles of foreign- trained specialists differ among universities, research institutes, and production-related enterprises? These and scores of other questions are of vital interest to people in the United States: to government agencies involved in exchange programs, to universities that have trained these individuals, and to anyone concerned with China's economic development and U.S.-China relations in general. At this juncture the answers are at best preliminary and at worst premature. 57

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58 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA It may be the turn of the century before the importance and influence of the returning scholars wiD be fully understood and appreciated. Obviously, the Chinese government has also been keenly inter- ested in the unp act of returning scholars on the economy, as wed as in ah other issues associated with the returnees. In China, too, the answers have been slow in coming primarily for two reasons. First, significant numbers of younger students and scholars started to return to China only in the mid-1980s and, since this was inno- vational, the utilization of these individuals was haphazard. Time and experience were needed to identify the problems and attempt to correct them. The second reason for the lack of answers is that the national organizations responsible for the assignment and management of professional personnel are still struggling with the pervasive prom lem of efficiently utilizing graduates from China's own institutions of higher education experimenting with new ways of assigning spe- cialists and, at the same time, attempting to introduce mobility into the employment system. If China's leaders are to avoid exacerbating the tensions between graduates of domestic universities and those returning from abroad, they must solve the utilization problem for both groups concomitantly. With an ever-growing number of students returning from abroad and an increased awareness of their problems, In the last year or two, the Chinese government and some individual universities have initiated surveys to study both the contributions and the attitudes of recently returned students and scholars. The State Education Commission, for example, has provided some funding to a profes- sor at Nankai University to conduct such a study, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the State Science and Technology Com- ~ssion have initiated some preliminary surveys of their own.i Since Chinese officials appear to be quite open about sharing this informa- tion, it is reasonable to expect that in the next few years much more information win be available on the role of returning students and scholars. The similarity of the employment complaints of graduates from iFrom draft notes by Mary B. Bullock on her September 1987 meetings in Beijing with officials from personnel bureaus of the Chinese Academy of Sci- ences, the State Science and Technology Commission, and the State Education Commission. In 1988 the CSCPRC, in collaboration with several Chinese uni- versities, initiated some preliminary surveys, on returning students and scholars.

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UTILIZING RETURNING STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS 59 both Chinese and foreign universities makes it important to under- stand at least some of the basic problems associated with the existing employment system most specifically, the problems of job assign- ment and job mobility.2 CHINA'S SYSTEM OF JOB ASSIGNMENTS AND JOB MOBILITY The inefficiency of planned economies is perhaps most clearly illustrated in the area of professional manpower. Planners must decide how many students will be accepted by institutions of higher education and how many wiB be enrolled in each major and its subfields. These decisions are made by anticipating the needs of the economy in years to come. With all its statistical resources, the United States decided some years ago that projecting work force needs into the future was a futile exercise. For a huge, developing country such as China the task is impossible, and for years there have been complaints about shortages, overages, and waste of the scarce manpower through the misassignment of graduates who, of course, had little or no say about their employment. By the early 1980s, China's more progressive leaders were con- vinced that the country could no longer afford the extravagance of irrelevant job assignments. However, experimental reforms, which would eluninate the system of job assignments and institute proce- dures to allow some graduates freedom to choose employment and permit the enterprises some discretion about whom they would hire, quickly ran into difficulties including opposition from a large segment of the bureaucracy. The most serious drawback was that, nationwide, the supply of professionals, and especially of scientific and technical manpower, was well below the demand. This made it extremely did ficult to assure a rational regional and sectoral distribution of college graduates, especially since the overwhelming majority of the gradu- ates, if they exercised personal choice, would opt for employment in the large municipalities of China's coastal provinces. The shortage of professionals in science and technology has had another unfortunate consequence. Employers who did not obtain 2For a detailed discussion of there and related issues, see Leo A. Orlean~, "Reforms and Innovations in the Utilization of China's Scientific and Engineering Talent," in Denim F. Simon and Merle Goldman, eds., Scicnec and Technology in Post-Mao China (Cambridge, Mars.: Council on East Asian Studies Publications, Harvard University Press, forthcoming).

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60 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA their quota of college graduates were likely to resort to "back door" tactics to lure these individuals. There have been numerous instances of enterprises enticing specialists by offering them higher salaries, bet- ter housing, and other incentives. How to deal with these and related problems has stymied those responsible for reforms in personnel man- agement. So far the results have been shifting policies and indecision, and the goal of balancing the desires of college graduates whether with domestic or foreign degrees- with the needs of the country wiB take considerably more time. Once assigned to an enterprise or an institution, a graduate was owned by it in a very literal sense. The work unit, or danwei, provided not only a job, but also housing, medical care, additional education (when necessary), schooling for children, and numerous other amenities. The assignment was for life, and although, theoreti- cally, an employee could change jobs with the approval of the danwei, the notion was so far-fetched that it was never an issue. In the post-Mao period the "indentures of professionals to a sin- gle work unit was recognized as an impedunent to modernization. In the words of Lu Jiaxi, the former President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, "Scientific and technological communities suffer from a lack of mobility, a condition not suited to modernization . . . [but] conducive to mental ossification, conservatism, and bureaucrat~m."3 Nevertheless, the seeming unanimity in Beijing that mobility should be increased ran into a most formidable opponent: the danwei. Proclamations, directives, and arguments did little to influence the management cadres of either large or small enterprises and institu- tions to release their professionals to their competitors. The danwei has little interest in the general demand for or efficient utilization of the talents of these individuals, and there are numerous reports of unused specialists unable to change to another unit where their know-how is sorely needed. And, of course, the more valuable the employee, the less likely he or she will get permission to leave the unit. The government, persistently berating the practice of ~hoard- ing scientific and technical personnel," has been actively innovative in trying to facilitate job mobility. There are now Talent Exchange and Consultation Service Centers in many large cities; "personnel- exchange conferences" are organized for professional and technical personnel to meet with representatives of units seeking new employ ~Xinhua, May IS, 1984; JPRS-CST-033, Oct. 24, 1984, p. 17.

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UTILIZING RETURNING STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS 61 ees; there are reports of somewhat mysterious Patient development banks"; and newspapers have been carrying advertisements by en- terprises seeking specialists. Unfortunately, although some successes have been reported with regard to job transfers, most accounts tell of failures. Perhaps the most authoritative judg~nent was given in a Circular of the State Council in July 1986, which pointed out that despite some progress, the practice of "overstocking, wasting, and misusing scientists and technicians has not been fundamentally elim~nated.~ The discussion that follows touches on many of these issues as they relate to China's highest {eve! of personnel-the students and scholars returning from abroad. THE MOUNTING PROBLEMS In the early 1980s, returning scholars were few in number and not a priority issue. The problems that were to arise were neither contemplated nor anticipated. Chinese authorities, in the process of expanding contacts with foreign universities and research insti- tutions, were much more concerned about the candidate-selection process and a variety of other considerations associated with maxi- m~zing the number and quality of people sent abroad. Furthermore, since the earlier returnees were primarily older scholars selected by their units (usually institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences or one of the more prestigious universities) and returned to their own danwei, they managed to resume their research, assume responsible administrative positions, or perhaps do both. In fact, almost all the success stories were and continue to be from these influential institutions. A study by Otto Schnepp, former science attache at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, showed considerable success ~ the reintegration of these scholars within the Chinese Academy of Sciences,4 and there are many such reports from Chinese sources as wed. For example, in 1984 Guangming Ribco reported that "the overwhelming majority of Chinese research institutes are paying great attention to the persons who have studied overseas . . . by creating the conditions necessary 401to Schnepp, University of Southern California, "The Chinese Exchange Scholar Program in Science and Engineering," unpublished paper sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

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62 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA for enhancing their newly developed skills and that a significant number of them have been promoted.5 Later that year came a re- port that returning students are "playing leading roles in teaching, scientific research, and research and development, according to ed- ucation departments."6 And again, specifically mentioned were the academies of sciences and social sciences and Shanghai Jiaotung and Qinghua universities. More recent successes are also reported from prestigious institutions such as the Chinese University of Science and Technology7 and the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry,8 and from the National Defense Science, Technology, and Industry Commissions all of which claim that they "cherish their returned students" and "give fuB play to their roles. In other words, there have always been enough success stories to report or to include in a lead paragraph. In the last few years, however, the balance definitely shifted and many more stories began to deal with the critical and complex problems associated with the proper placement of returning scholars and researchers. First, the number of returnees started to increase and by 1984 it was reported at "some 10,000." Moreover, the composition of this group gradually began to change. The older and more established scholars who re- turned to their former work units gave way to the younger students with both undergraduate and graduate degrees, whose job assign- ments were not predestined and therefore subject to misassignment. Finally, and despite a few minor zigzags, China has been undergoing a liberalization process, and those who had been abroad returned to an atmosphere of increased expectations. Given this setting, what are the specific complaints of the re- turning students and scholars? Scores of articles have discussed these issues and a number of surveys on the subject have been taken by both the national and provincial governments aIld institutions. The basic complaints fad into some we0-defined categories and are summarized below.~ 5GMRB, Sept. 23, 1984; JPRS-CPS-84-090, Dec. 12, 1984, p. 51. 6X~nhua, Dec. 2, 1984; FBIS, Dec. 3, 1984, p. K6. 7Rcnmin Ribao (Pcopic's Daily), March 26, 1986; JPRS-CST-86-020, p. 11. ~Jiefang Riboo (Laberation Daily), Nov. 18, 1985; JPRS-CST-86-005, Feb. 2, 1986, p. 9. 9GMRB, Sept. 17, 1985; JPRS-CST-85-038, Nov. 5, 1985, p. 1. iThis summary is based, in part, on the following sources: Kc~uc~uc Yu Kc~uc Jiahu Gu~nli (hereafter referred to as KYKJG) (Scicnec of Science and Managemerd of Scicnec and Technology), No. 11, Nov. 12, 1985; JPRS-CST-86-008, March 1, 1986, pp. 1-5. KYKJG, No. 11, Nov. 12, 1984; JPRS-CST-85-027, pp.

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UTILIZING RETUNING STUDENTS AD STOOL - S 63 There are the predictable complaints about cadres both man- agers and administrators. Charges are that they lack understanding of the roles of returned personnel and "arrange for employment" without any regard to an individual's talent, specialty, or experi- ence. A universally familiar grievance is that promotions take people out of research and educational activities and into administration. Although this may seem especially wasteful when it happens to foreign-trained scientific and technical personnel, there are, of course, important pluses, in the long term, for the management of scientific institutions. There is also the inevitable prejudice against young people, who rarely get promoted, no matter what their professional competence. This wasteful cultural bias will take many years to overcome. Cadres continue to have a "leftist bias toward intellectu- als," convinced that anyone who spends any length of time abroad is "subjected to several bad influences" or becomes "a political blank. According to one Chinese survey, about one-fifth of the returnees cannot use the specializations and knowledge that they acquired abroad because of improper jo~assignment, for which the cadres are also held responsible. This ~ said to be a higher proportion than for graduates of Chinese universities a contention that might reasonably be disputed by citing innumerable reports concerning the irrational assignment of domestic graduates. Moreover, the returnees find it difficult to make a positive contribution since they are not allowed the independence of making their own decisions with regard to research topics. What is especially upsetting to some is that while they were abroad, their research topics were taken over by their colleagues. This is a curious complaint that may refer more to lost opportunities for promotion rather than to specific research topics. In addition to unproper assignment, foreign-trained scholars de- plore the inadequate laboratory facilities, a shortage of equipment and capital for scientific research, and generally poor working con- ditions. These problems were stressed at the 1984 conference on sending students abroad, when State Councilor Zhang Jingfu admit- ted that "70 percent of returning students are not being fully used 24-32. GMRB, Nov. 24, 1984; JPRS-CST-85-005, Feb. 20, 1985, pp. 10-11; also in CD, Nov. 25, 1984. CD, Nov. 30, 1984; Xinhua, Nov. 29, 1984; FBIS, Nov. 30, 1984, p. K7. GMRB, Sept. 17, 1985; JPRS-CST-85-038, Nov. 5, 1985, p. 1. Xinhua, Dec. 2, 1984; FBIS, Dec. 3, 1984, p. K6. Jiefang Riboo, Nov. 18, 1985; JPRS-CST-86-005, Feb. 11, 1986, p. 9.

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64 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA because of a shortage of advanced facilities and unsuitable work as- signments.~ At the same time, many organizations are accused of wasting large sums of money by importing useless instruments and supplies, and then discovering that there are no funds to purchase equipment urgently needed to carry out planned research. Still other miscellaneous but professionally related issues upset the returned scholars. Foreign-trained scholars say that they want guaranteed time for research, claiming that too much of their time is spent on activities that could be performed by assistants" and other support personnel. They also would like to get reimbursed for their professional expenditures. They demand a solution to the "problem of knowledge renewal," without which they swill die academically. Most scholars, especially those located outside of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, fee] cut off from foreign contacts, and all seem to want more frequent exchanges with their counterparts in foreign countries. Not to detract from their importance, the most universal com- plaints are also of the more mundane variety, such as Tow wages, inadequate housing, and Worries and trouble at home. According to one survey conducted in 22 institutions of higher education and 14 research and development units in Shenyang, 80 percent of the returned scholars receive less than 100 yuan, and 45 percent, less than 80 yuan per month. Of 10 individuals with doctoral degrees from abroad, 6 earn only 78 yuan a month and are referred to as the "78-yuan doctors."' ~ There are few bonuses given and most re- turned scholars consider themselves to be in the "poor household" category. The low salaries in this example are especially striking because Shenyang is a highly industrialized city in one of China's richest provinces. The most likely explanation for the low compen- sation was aDuded to above: A large proportion of the returnees are young (especially by Chinese standards), and no matter how much they try to change the tradition, for the most part age and seniority are more important in determining salary than qualifications and Beijing has been experimenting with the difficult task of wage reforms since the early 1980s and several formulas are now being tested. To place these salaries in context, the average monthly wage (includes base pay, bonuses, seniority pay, and other components) for workers and employees is about 100 yuan (~Last Year China's Force of Staff and Workers Grew and Wages Increased, Gongrcn Riboo tWoricr'~ Daily], Feb. 9, 1987; JPRS-CEA-87-043, May 19, 1987, p. 110~. A mid-career urban high school teacher also gets about 100 ynan a month.

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UTILIZING RETURNING STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS 65 job descriptions. One Chinese journal cites the embarrassing (and highly questionable) statement that only Kampuchea has Tower pay and worse conditions for intellectuals than China.l2 The problem of housing, of course, is not limited to foreign- educated scholars-it is a national problem. Although some of the more prominent institutions are likely to provide comparatively de- cent housing, most do not, and the living conditions of their profes- sionals are indeed inadequate. To refer again to the Shenyang survey, some 90 percent of the interviewed scholars are over 36 years of age, most with children and many with older parents in their household, and yet about one-third of them live in only one room, while half live in two rooms. Another frustration for foreign-trained scholars, especially the more prominent ones with substantial scholarly achievements, is that their titles do not properly reflect their positions. According to these individuals, it is not simply a matter of ego; they fee! that inap- propriate titles have affected their academic exchanges both within China and with foreign countries and have Innited their influence with graduate students. Within Chinese culture this complaint may not be as frivolous as it seems. THE [lDOITlMACY OF THE COMPLAINTS Before proceeding to some of the suggested solutions to the problems raised by the returning scholars, it may be worth specu- lating about the legitimacy of their complaints. No one can deny the problems. Laboratories, equipment, and facilities obviously do not compare with those in the United States and other advanced nations; salaries and living conditions are not what one might ex- pect for that segment of society so vital to China's modernization; and indeed there are many instances of misassignment that negate the main purpose of foreign education, not to mention the wasted expenditure. But consider the similarity of complaints expressed by domestically trained Chinese scientists and technicians in a recent sample survey taken by the Scientific and Technological Association of Hunan Province.l3More than half of the 1,679 people surveyed complained about their inability to make their own decisions, the bureaucratic working style of their leaders who clid not make good 12Shijic Jingo Daobao (World Economic Herald), Nov. 24' 1986; FBIS, Dec. 19, 1986, p. K13. 13 BR No. 10, March 9, 1987) p. 27.

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66 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA use of their talents, the burden of their household chores, and the fact that their incomes were lower than those of physical laborers of the same age. Just under half the sample said that their research instruments and data were behind the times, the quality of logistics was poor, and the shortage of housing was serious. Of necessity, scholars returning from abroad must work within the same milieu. Further, consider the sirn~larities of complaints expressed by U.S.-educated students returning to Taiwan. According to recent surveys, the first wish of most returned students is to teach at a college or university, but wherever they end up, most say they have "always been dissatisfied" with "opportunities for advancement and learning new skills, salaries, and research equipment." As for the employers in Taiwan, in general they appreciate the qualifications of foreign-trained students, but they also have complaints that are undoubtedly similar to those felt in China. Foreign-educated grad- uates in Taiwan were criticized for their emphasis on theory over practice something they had little control over; some employers said that "the feeling of individualism in the returning students was too strong"; and a "small numbers of answers to surveys "focused on the superiority complex of returning students, their tendency to switch jobs, and their materialistic attitudes. ,4 To take the role of "devil's advocate" a step further, let us Took at the aforementioned complaints from the perspective of the faculty of an unaginary U.S. institution of higher education or, for that matter, of most professionals in a large bureaucracy. Is it not commonplace to hear colleagues complain about underutilization of their talents and expenditure of too much of their time on "routine works at the expense of creative endeavors? Sexual, racial, polit- ical, or religious discrimination certainly exists in China, but such charges can and are easily made about academic personnel practices elsewhere. Inappropriate assignment is a less pressing problem in a country where free choice in job selection is a given, but in China, where virtually everyone would like to join an institute of one of the science academies or a key university in a major eastern city, any other assignment would, by definition, be considered inappropriate. Complaints about inadequate research funds and the need for more up-to-date equipment and the ever-elusive research assistants are so universal that they require no comment. There may be some basis i4Chinc~c-Engluh Bilingual Monthly, Vol. Il. No. 5, May 1986, pp. 6-17.

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UTILIZING RETURNING STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS 67 to the returned scholar's lament about being unable to keep up with the latest foreign developments in science and technology but, on the other hand, there is certainly no shortage of the latest foreign literature in the institutions to which a foreign-trained scholar is likely to be assigned. Inappropriately low wages is indeed a legit- imate complaint, but also one that is not unknown in the United States, especially among educators and research scientists. The above parallel, cynical as it may seem, is not intended to belabor the universality of youthful bravado and unrealistic expec- tations but rather to suggest that many of the problems go beyond systemic inefficiencies. In other words, while China's problems with returned students are indeed serious, they are not unique, and we therefore should not ignore the possibility that some human factors are also at play. It is very possible that a student or scholar spending several years abroad becomes not so much "spiritually polluted" as simply spoiled.~5 Most important, it would seem that many students return to China with exaggerated evaluations of their own worth, as well as unrealistic expectations of what China can provide and what China expects. Not to underestimate the unique problems of returnees, it is important to repeat that the complaints voiced by returning students are essentially identical to those expressed by the graduates of Chinese universities not of the two- or three-year specialized colleges, but of the elite universities. There is also a flip side to this situation. Many graduates with a fresh degree from a foreign university go home with great trepidation because expectations of them are so high. This problem is probably less obvious in the sciences than in such fields as engineering. In the United States, for example, engineering graduates with a master's degree are likely to start their career at the bottom of the professional rung and gradually work their way up through experience. When win fact, Chinese educators complain that the new breeds of college students are already spoiled when they come to the university. As children, they traveled the road of "key elementary school-key middle school-university,n with the `'entire family machinery turning around them as cycle centers." Escorted to the university by the head of household, many students had never done any housework, and there was much concern about their ability to manage both studies and chores by themselves (Yang Xinynan, At Spoiled Generation and Perplexed Parent, Zhciiang Riboo [Zhciiang Daily], Oct. 24, 1986; JPRS-CPS- 87-007, Feb. 9, 1987~. resee, for example, "Young SAT Personnel Hope to Solve Four Problems," GMRB, July 10, 1986; JPRS-CST-86-046, Nov. 5, 1986, p. 22.

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68 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA Chinese graduates with the same degree return from abroad, great things are expected of them immediately, simply by virtue of their foreign education. Usually, however, they do not yet know how to translate their book knowledge into solving the practical everyday problems of their enterprise. For some, spending a few years in a U.S. factory may be more useful in the long run than a sheepskin. It is this belated realization that is behind current efforts to emphasize the need! for students studying abroad to acquire practical experience along with book-learning. SOM1: PROPOSED SOLUTIONS Whether the problems listed by returning students and schol- ars are taken at face value, or viewed in a slightly modified form, they no doubt are of great concern to Beijing, not only because of the drag they produce on reaching the goals of modernization, but also because students who are still abroad pay close attention to the conditions they will be facing on their return. And yet the so- Jutions being proposed to correct "inferior working conditions and low management reverse rely on familiar and sometimes unrealistic prescriptions.~7 It is reasonable, for example, to call on leaders to have a better appreciation of the unportant role of returned intel- lectuals, to show political trust, and to strive to create conditions that will maximize the performance of the specialists. It is also reasonable to expect that individuals returning from abroad will be properly placed and should be able to change jobs and not be held back by some illegitunate pretext. On the other hand, the remedy that calls for research funds (including foreign-exchange funds) to be under the control of those actually performing scientific research is no more realistic in China than in any Western nation, where basic resource allocation continues to be essentially a political deci- sion. Other suggestions for improving the conditions for returnees may be difficult, but manageable. Scholars should be encouraged to clevelop cooperative linkages with their counterparts in foreign countries; they should be released from the Tedious formalities of administrative activities~; they should receive appropriate compen- sation; and they should be able to have research assistants of their choosing. resee, for example, KYK]G, No. Il. Nov. 12, 1985; JP~-CST-86-00S, March I, 1986, pp. 4-5.

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UTILIZING RETURNING STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS 69 Although most of the suggested solutions to the complaints of the returnees are predictable, there have also been some interesting innovations. For example, one step to improve the placement of returning scholars was announced in 1984 by State Councilor Zhang Jingfu, who stated quite positively, not only that "every student returning from abroad should have the right to choose his work and work unit," but also that "the State would allocate 20 million yuan [US$8 million] to set up 10 places throughout the country where returned students would have equipment to work with while they spend two years seeking suitable jobs. By mid-1987 the number of Temporary holding centers" is said to have increased to over 100, located in 20 cities. They are primarily established for returning scientists and function as way stations in the scholar's search for work or suitable research opportunities. It is presumed that some domestically trained PhDs may also take advantage of these holding centers. If the applicant passes an entrance examination, he or she will be able to remain at the center for two years doing research while looking for work and, if necessary, get another two-year extension. The research fellow would also receive an annual stipend from the government. Some returnees with advanced degrees in the sciences may also be placed in one of the Open research laboratories," which were first an- nounced in August 1985 and whose number is rapidly growing. These independently funded up-to-date laboratories are affiliated with in- stitutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and several universities, but have independent state funding. One of the main functions of these modern laboratories is to assemble groups of top scientists from universities and research institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to work for a given period of time on specific priority projects in an environment conducive to productive research. This may not solve the problem of the individual's research interests, but it ~ another way to link research with production- one of China's immediate priorities. In some obscure way the open laboratories are also said to Promote the mobility of scientific and technical person- nel." In August 1986, of a total stab of 1,318 scientific and technical personnel in 19 open research laboratories, less than one-quarter were permanently assigned to the laboratories, while the rest were Guest scientists. They are expected to return to their work unit i8CD, Nov. Il. 1984, p. 3.

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70 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA when the project is over. In addition to accommodating some of the most prominent Chinese scientists, open laboratories also invite foreign scholars (26 in 1986) to lecture and do cooperative research. The open research laboratories are also said to provide a temporary workplace for returning Chinese PhDs in the sciences while a deci- sion is made as to where their knowledge might be best utilized.39 Just how this works In practice is not entirely clear. Since institu- tions that paid to send a student or scholar abroad would be most unlikely voluntarily to release this Individual to work in an open ban oratory, these facilities probably accommodate young scholars not assigned to a danwei prior to foreign study. Furthermore, despite the modern research facilities, not all the returning students look at open research laboratories with favor: according to one U.S. official in China, some returned Chinese PhDs are suspicious of the open laboratories, claiming that their main function is to maintain close control over the returning scholars. By way of a summary, let us consider a commentary by a Chinese academic who accurately reflects both the problems and the possible solutions as perceived by the Chinese and as reflected in many of the recent policy changes with regard to sending students and scholars abroad.20 Shen Xiaodan looks at returnees not from the perspective of the individual, but from the perspective of China's economic needs, and in that sense he is echoing some frequent complaints heard in other developing countries. Mainly, he deplores the fact that There has not been a complete, long-range study of going abroad for study and that the program was "not coordinated with local and national scientific and technical needs or its compatibility with China's economic needs." In discussing the defection of specialists trained abroad, Shen points out that the likelihood of such an eventuality is increased by host countries that encourage students in scarce disciplines to re- main. To support this contention, he cites what must be tenuous to "Address to the Second Work Conference on Open Research Laboratories in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, an unpublished paper by Zhou Guangzhao, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; and a telephone conversation with Dr. Ray Wu, Biochemistry Section, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Cornell University. 20Shen Xiaodan, At Study of China' Policy of Importing Brainpower Viewed from the Angle of Economic Development,n KYKJG, No. 11, Nov. 12, 1984; JPRS-CST-85-027, Aug. 22, 1985.

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UTIlIZING RETURNING STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS 71 statistics. Between 1961 and 1972, according to Shen's data, the United States, Great Britain, and Canada provided US$46 billion in aid to developing countries, but by training professionals from these countries and absorbing them into their own labor forces, they gained capital valued at US$51 billion. In fact, he believes that ad- vanced countries tend to attract the best and most needed scientific and technical personnel from developing nations, while "pushing out manpower they have no need for." This notion, shared by many Chinese officials, may have some validity, but it is also usually mis- understood. While it is true that the best scholars are more likely to remain abroad, it ~ important to understand that this is not due to a national policy, at least in the case of the United States, but rather a process of "natural selection" by institutions of higher education and enterprises over which the U.S. government has little if any control. Another national concern discussed by Shen ~ that too many students abroad are not majoring in fields important to the de- velopment of China's science and technology. Contrary to a recent article in Renmin Ribco, which noted that "we must make proper arrangements for the work of returned students in accordance with the principle of applying what they have learned,"2t Shen reflects the more prevalent belief (now incorporated into policy) that the priorities should be reversed and that students must learn what the country needs. Between 70 and 80 percent of the students have chosen basic or applied subjects as majors, making it difficult to rame the professional level of scientific and technical personnel en- gaged in production technology and developmental research. Given China's level of development, even with the best of intentions, she cannot possibly provide unit - date facilities and equipment, not to mention meaningful research projects, to the thousands of physicists, chemists, and other physical scientists now getting graduate degrees in the United States. The situation is made worse by the fact that domestic universities are also accused of training too many high-level specialists, which, according to He Dongchang, Vice-Minister of the State Education Commission, "is not in conformity with China's economic development in the primary stage of socialism. 2iRcnmin Riboo (Pcoplc'~ Daily), July 13, 1986; FBIS, July 17, 1986, p. K7. 22Xinhua, Oct. 29, 1987; FBIS-CHI-87-210, Oct. 30, 1987, p. 22. Con- versely, the demand for graduates in foreign languages (especially English), accounting, and computer science is said to be 5 to 10 times greater than their actual numbers (CD, "College Graduate Shortage Eased, Oct. 17, 1987, p. 3~.

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72 CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA Given China's level of development, the consequences are pre- dictable: While there is often a surplus of research scholars in some of the basic sciences, creating an even more serious shortage of up-to- date equipment and laboratories, there is at the same time a serious shortage of personnel in production-related research, where there oh ten is an adequate supply of equipment, instruments, and materials. Shen presumably would disagree with a compromise offered in a 1984 Guangming Ribco editorial reminding the leadership of units that the creative strength of the returnees should be rationally employed, but that "their professional directions can be adjusted slightly in light of China's specific realities and conditions....~723 He would insist that all "adjustments should be made prior to sending scholars abroad, and indeed, the Chinese are now actively discouraging their students from getting U.S. degrees in theoretical sciences, while encouraging more degrees in engineering and other applied fields. Although Shen's article discusses foreign education, his basic solution seems to focus primarily on practices that have already become fairly standard in China's commercial dealings with corpo- rations from industrially advanced nations. He believes that knowI- edge and know-how must be imported with the products China buys abroad. In other words, as part of the plant-and-equipment package, foreign firms must contract to train specialists presumably either abroad or in China. This, of course, is already the case, and over the years thousands of Chinese workers have been trained in the United States. Both Chinese and U.S. partners to contractual arrangements and joint ventures find that the technical and managerial skills gained by spending from several weeks to over a year in training by a U.S. company brings useful returns.24 Finally, Shen believes that the ~rnportation of manpower and its rational utilization cannot depend on Patching together a few policies," but must be the responsibility of some (unspecified) unified 23GMRB, Aug. 29, 1984; JPRS-CST-85-003, Jan. 2S, 1985, p. 23. 24For an excellent discussion of these training programs, see Julia S. Sensen- brenner, "The Training Component, The China Bueince~ Review, November- December 1986, pp. 8-12. In 1984 the following number of visas were issued to Chinese workers and employees: 284 H-ls (workers of distinguished merit and ability), 196 H-2s (other temporary workers), 44 H-3s (industrial trainees), and 251 Eels (intercompany transfers, usually limited to joint venture partners) (~981 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service "Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justices.

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UTILIZING RETURNING STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS 73 management, which will also have some responsibility for the acqui- sition of hardware. He considers these to be vital prerequisites for reaching China's economic goals. In the sense that the State Edu- cation Commission now has prunary responsibility for overseeing all foreign education, at least half of Shen's objective is implemented; uniting this responsibility with the acquisition of hardware, however, does not appear to be even on the horizon. The problems associated with job assignments for returning stu- dents and scholars are, of course, well known to Beijing. But given the country's level of development, and with the best of intentions, it is impossible to provide up-to-date equipment, not to mention mean- ingful research projects, to the thousands of physicists, chemists, and other physical scientists now getting graduate degrees abroad. Many of the problems mentioned above would indeed be eased with the establishment of more direct ties between foreign study and domes- tic needs and priorities, and, if implemented, the June 1987 State Education Commission regulations on foreign study should go far in doing that. If, as now stipulated, the State Education Commission will indeed set quotas by field of study there will be more symmetry between training and China's need; and if the personnel going abroad on government programs sign agreements with their units, stipulat- ing objectives, subjects to be studied, length of required service at home after studying abroad, rights, responsibilities, and so on, then at least the initial assignment will presumably be settled. from the Western perspective, however, any interference with free choice in academic matters is anathema and just how the Chinese students will react to these new conditions is also still open to speculation.

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