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SExchange on Campus The speed with which Chinese students, scholars, and institutions have adapted to the American university scene since 1978 is one of the most notable features of Sino-American academic exchange. When the first PRC students and scholars applied to American schools, admissions officers and graduate departments had to make admissions decisions with virtually none of the standardized student information on which they normally rely. Transcripts from Chinese institutions frequently were unavailable; when available, they were not readily interpretable by admissions officers. The Chinese provided no standardized test scores to assess applicants' academic preparation, potential, and English language competence. Indeed, the very idea of rigorous grading and testing had been anathema to the Cultural Revolution radicals who had literally closed down China's institutions of higher education from late 1966 until the early 1970s. Even with Mao Zedong's death in late 1976, many Chinese were reluctant to embark on a path of strict aca- demic evaluation that a few short years before had been denouncer] as "revisionist." Equally problematic for universities was China's desire to send to America many nonmatriculated "visiting scholars," often scientists who sought knowledge at the scientific frontiers that had advanced dramati- cally during the isolation of the Cultural Revolution decade. Universi- ties found this group difficult to deal with because of their age and comparatively senior status and because they were not enrolled in regu- lar courses. Financial and social questions also were of concern. Would PRC students and scholars be able to adapt to the social milieu of the 102
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EXCHANGE ON CAMPUS 103 American campus? Would they be able to compete for scarce financial resources? By 1985 many of these problems had been substantially ameliorated and the questions answered affirmatively. All parts of the Graduate Record Examination (ORE) have been administered in China since October 1982, and the Test of English As a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is used routinely, though many persons still encounter difficulties in actually getting to the test sites and paying for the examinations. Ameri- can university officials have a better understanding of Chinese grading systems, and today's graduates of Chinese institutions are selected much more methodically for study abroad under the officially sponsored pro- gram than were those sent in the late 1970s. Finally, although "visiting scholars" still comprise a significant percentage of the Chinese coming to the United States for study, the percentage of younger students is rising. In short, the Chinese have adapted rapidly to the American system, and PRC students and scholars generally are doing well. Colleges and universities (drawing funds from a variety of sources) have become by far the biggest institutional financial supporters of PRC students and scholars in the United States, as seen in Chapter 3 (Table 3- 16~. In the wake of normalization, institutions of higher education signed many interinstitutional agreements with Chinese counterparts. Although these agreements are very important, the majority of exchange participants in both countries are not involved in them. Against the backdrop of these expenditures and the proliferation of interinstitutional ties, this chapter addresses the following questions: How are PRC students and scholars distributed in the United States and among different types of American educational institutions? What problems, financial and other, have arisen in the process of accommo- dating the needs of PRC students and scholars in the United States and those of Americans in China? How has the academic performance of PRC students and scholars been perceived on American campuses? What historical and other factors account for the proliferation of interinstitutional ties between American and Chinese educational insti- tutions? Are these linkages generally working effectively and, if not, why? Can such relationships be modified to better serve American aca- demic interests? PRC STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS ON THE AMERICAN CAMPUS Regional and Institutional Distribution The great majority of PRC students and scholars come to the United States from comparatively few geographic areas in China and are
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104 A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED drawn heavily from China's "key" educational institutions (Table 3-12 and Appendix D). But in the United States they are dispersed through- out almost all the states in the Union; indeed, one is struck by the very substantial geographic reach of China's academic presence in the United States (see Table A-24. The range of programs in which they are involved is equally broad; they attend all types of American schools of higher learning, from junior colleges to graduate institutions, with pro- grams that range from vocational training to liberal arts and humanities studies. Information on the intended destination in the United States of all PRC students and scholars is available only for 1983.~ Overall, PRC students and scholars were somewhat more likely to be in the Middle Atlantic and Pacific regions than would be expected from either popula- tion size or the number of colleges and universities in those areas. Within these regions, New York and California had the highest percent- ages of PRC students and scholars, reflecting traditional settlement pat- terns of Americans of Chinese origin (see Table A-25. The American South receives relatively fewer students and scholars than would be expected based either on concentration of population or on institutions of higher education. Geographic patterns are different for the two visa categories. F-1 visa holders, who are generally in the United States under private and family arrangements, are more concentrated in Cali- fornia and New York than are the ]-1 visa holders, most of whom are officially sponsored by the PRC government. J-ls tend to be distributed in a way that reflects American university fellowship support while distribution of F-ls tends to reflect the residential patterns of Americans of Chinese origin. PRC students and scholars who received visas in 1983 intended to go to 440 different American schools (see Table A-26. Although there were three times as many J-ls as F-ls, F-ls mentioned more schools than did ]-ls. F-ls attend a broader range of American institutions than J-ls do, because their academic level is more heterogeneous and there are many undergraduates in this group (see Tables A-26 and A-27. Also, because fewer F-ls study in fields targeted by the PRC government, more Amer- ican schools are relevant to their needs. ]-1 visa holders, in contrast, were interested in a much narrower range of institutions. Seventy-six percent of this group intended to go to one of America's top 100 research universities,2 whereas only 38 percent of the F-ls planned to do so (see Table A-28. This trend reflects the research focus and more selective character of the official Chinese pro- gram. Since officially sponsored PRC students and scholars are likely to play significant roles in development upon their return to China, it will be important to observe how their attendance at a comparatively small
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EXCHANGE ON CAMPUS .. ~ ~ ~ it. ~ 105 number ot leading American institutions will affect their future career mobility, attitudes toward the United States, and future patterns of academic exchange. Equally important is the question of how this gen- eration of American-trained Chinese will interact with their peers trained solely in the PRC and with the previous generation trained in the Soviet Union. Funding PRC Students and Scholars on the American Campus The Adequacy of Stipends American university officials estimate that PRC stipends for officially sponsored students and scholars are about $460 per month, with some variation for local cost of living.3 There is ample evidence that many administrators and faculty at Amer- ican universities and colleges believe that these stipends are inadequate, particularly in high-cost urban locales. In a questionnaire designed for this study, universities were asked about their perception of the ade- quacy or inadequacy of the PRC's stipend level for officially sponsored students and scholars. Two-thirds of the 112 respondents (usually the foreign student advisors at these universities) thought stipends were inadequate. This represents an increase compared with survey findings of Fingar and Reed which indicated that 42 percent of the respondents thought PRC stipends were not adequate.4 The increase may reflect a number of factors: the rising costs of education in the United States, the reluctance of the PRC to raise stipend levels, and the increasing unwill- ingness of American institutions to waive stipend-level requirements for PRC students. The university respondents estimated that the average total stipend needed was about $680 per month $220 per month more than the estimated amount of PRC stipends cited above. From the perspective of American academics, low stipends cause several problems: they promote group living that hinders English lan- guage acquisition and encourages cultural isolation, they force PRC students and scholars to seek housing in unsafe buildings and neighbor- hoods, and they reduce the likelihood that they will purchase health insurance or participate in field trips and other educational activities. Finally, many universities have minimum financial support require- ments for all foreign students, and administrators consider it inequita- ble to exempt PRC students from these requirements. Stanford University Vice-Provost Gerald Lieberman, for instance, recently described that university's response to this problem: The stipend which the Chinese Government gives ranges between $420 and $450 a month. This is obviously substantially below our foreign student budget.... We have signed visa certificates for these students with increasing reluctance. Effective for 1985-86 we will no longer be able to do this.... It is
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106 A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED inequitable for students from all the other countries and violates our own policy. We require all other foreign students to verify funds from Stanford or outside sources, up to the official budget in order to have a visa certificate issued.5 Health insurance is an equally critical financial issue. Many PRC visitors simply do not understand the potential cost of illness in Ameri- can society, nor do Americans understand the responsibilities of the Chinese government in paying medical costs. Discussion with Chinese Embassy officials in Washington suggests that the PRC assumes no financial liability for privately sponsored (or self-paying) students and scholars in the United States. For officially sponsored students and scholars (see Glossary), the Chinese government may pay most medical costs if the person was officially selected by the PRC, but not all offi- cially sponsored students and scholars are officially selected. The PRC government will insure these officially selected people for up to $10,000. If medical costs exceed that amount, the PRC's position is that the individual should return to China. Of course, it is in precisely such cases that individuals may be too ill to return.6 American universities may contribute to this problem by failing to require health insurance. More than 60 percent of the universities responding to the CSCPRC survey do require health insurance for exchange students and scholars, but that figure also indicates that many universities do not require it. Still other institutions require health insurance for students but not for visiting scholars and persons at the institution for short terms. The experience of one such uninsured scholar illustrates the problems this can cause. In early 1985 a PRC scholar hosted by a major American university was seriously injured and rap- idly accumulated more than $6,000 in medical bills. The Chinese authorities reportedly assumed no liability and the scholar was not covered by the American host institution's health insurance plan, which did not insure visitors who stay for less than three months. With no other source of funds, individuals at the host institution were trying to raise money from private sources to pay these bills. The definitive way to prevent such situations is for all American colleges and universities to require all foreign students and scholars to show proof of adequate medical coverage. Higher stipends and health insurance could improve the well-being of PRC students and scholars in many ways. But even if stipends are raised, there is no guarantee that the Chinese would use the added increment for better housing, educational materials, or health insur- ance. Many respondents mentioned that PRC students and scholars are frugal, and, indeed, many seek either to save American currency or to
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EXCHANGE ON CAMPUS 107 use it to purchase items not generally or easily obtainable in China. In 1984 such articles were referred to as the "eight great items" (color television, stereo, refrigerator, typewriter, washing machine and dryer, camera, and either a bicycle or a sewing machine).7 That the Chinese might use stipends in these ways does not weaken the recommendation that stipend levels be raised. They should be. The Issue of Financial Remissions to China Some Americans have been concerned that many officially sponsored PRC students and scholars are remitting the portion of their fellowships in excess of the official Chinese government stipend level to their home work unit. Two separate interviews with officials of the Chinese Acad- emy of Sciences (CAS) in 1984 helped clarify the situation. At that time, different Chinese organizations apparently had varying policies on the remissions of stipends, and some may have applied their guidelines unevenly within organizations. In 1984, for example, the CAS appar- ently offered a choice to students or scholars going abroad. Option "A" permitted the person who was awarded financial assistance in the United States to keep approximately $450 per month, which was roughly equal to the official Chinese stipend level. Above that level, the individual remitted 85 percent to his or her work unit and kept 15 percent for personal use this amounted to an 85 percent income tax on amounts in excess of the official Chinese stipend level. The student or scholar who chose this option was then entitled to keep the "start-up allowances" provided to officially sponsored individuals and did not have to repay the subsidies and continuing wages provided by the work unit to family members who stayed at home (e.g., for housing and medical care). Under option "B", the officially sponsored PRC student or scholar could keep all of the American fellowship but had to repay the home unit for all subsidies and wages he or she directly received during the period abroad, as well as subsidies family members received during that time. Apparently it made financial sense to switch to option "B" when American aid reached about $600 per month. The Chinese officials said that this policy was in place to adjust for the financial benefits that PRC students and scholars abroad and their families in China continued to receive from the work units, and so to prevent "double dipping." Moreover, the officials also expressed some concern about students and scholars abroad having a standard of living too far above the level of colleagues in China.8 Since 1984, the Chinese may have modified these policies somewhat. A more recent study concluded:
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108 A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED The policies on kickbacks to the Chinese government of money received from American institutions has evolved over time as both Chinese and Americans have registered complaint. No longer are Chinese required to return to their government all, or even a percentage, of what they receive above $5,000. The current policy, reported to us informally by some who are subject to it, requires students and scholars to remit to their own work unit in American dollars the equivalent of their Chinese salaries for the period they were in the United States.9 Whether such arrangements are universal, applied consistently within organizations, or subject to change, they engender the percep- tion among Americans that officially sponsored PRC students and scholars are not the only beneficiaries of American university fellowship support. Both the practice and perception are harmful to PRC exchange visitors. American universities and faculty are discouraged by such practices from providing partial grants to officially sponsored PRC stu- dents and scholars, believing that most of the increment over the official Chinese government stipend level goes to the home unit. Nonetheless, in the end, what PRC students and scholars do with their money is their own business, as is the case with all students. American institutions should require that China's official stipends be adequate and recognize that they cannot regulate how the money is spent. PRC Students and Scholars: American Funding and Perceptions of Quality The financial policy of the Chinese government in sending students ant] scholars abroad was stated clearly by Chinese Ministry of Educa- tion (MOE) officials in a 1984 interview: "Get more accomplishes] with less money" (Shao hua qian, duo ban shi). Officers of the MOE noted that when the exchange program began, the Chinese government paid about two-thirds of the cost. Now this contribution (in percentage terms) has been reduced because many PRC graduate students can obtain fellowships after their first year in graduate school. CSCPRC interviewers were told that there is "no need for more than one year."~° The basic premise underlying this position is that officially sponsored students and scholars should not need more than one year of PRC support if they are good. For "research scholars," the one-year limit to PRC support is rigid. One official of the Chinese Embassy has specified MOE policy on funding research scholars: The Ministry tof Education] will provide one year tof] financial support to the scholars selected in 1984 and afterwards. In case a scholar finds it professionally necessary . . . to go on with his program in the United States for some more time, and he can manage to get [American] financial support for this extra
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EXCHANGE ON CAMPUS 109 period, then, with the approval of relevant authority, he is permitted to extend the duration of his stay for a limited period not more than one year. The Ministry of Education hopes that, with this change, the scholars will be encour- aged to work still harder. . . . ~i The MOE's policy toward officially sponsored students is slightly more flexible, depending on the student's field of study and the avail- ability of American support. For instance, if a student in physics does not secure American funding after two years, MOE officials view that person as unlikely ever to do so and thus will not continue government support. But in some fields such as agriculture and law where American financial support is less readily available, the MOE appeared willing to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Some Americans believe that these policies are undesirable because they encourage PRC students and scholars to become inordinately pre- occupiec] with funding, discourage them from taking noncredit English language courses, and are insufficiently sensitive to the vagaries of fund- ing in graduate departments. However, as long as American universities allocate financial support competitively on the basis of merit, it is diffi- cult to object when the Chinese government employs the same criteria. The academic performance of Chinese students and scholars suggests that they are indeed generally working hard enough to fulfill the PRC government requirements. In CSCPRC's questionnaire to American Universities and Colleges, respondents (usually foreign student advisors) were asked, "Generally speaking, how do the grades of students from the PRC compare to Other categories of students on campus]?" Forty- four percent of the college and university officials who responded to that questionnaire said that Chinese students' grades were "better than" those of "all graduate students." Ninety-seven percent said that Chinese students' grades were "better than" or "the same as" all graduate stu- clents.~2 These perceptions of quality are consistent with the success of PRC students in the competition for support. Maddox and Thurston report: Repeatedly at the schools where we interviewed, we were told that the top physics students despite often serious language difficulties were Chinese. In fact, in some science departments, non-Chinese students have begun to com- plain that their Chinese colleagues are so good that they are throwing off the curve. 13 Maddox and Thurston also quote one science faculty member who ranks PRC graduate students at the top of the class. It is because the quality of students that come is so high that enthusiasm con- tinues. If the quality were poor, it wouldn't last. Basically, it's because these kids come with the sole purpose of study. They aren't special agents of the
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110 A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED government. They're here solely to study and learn. They do 100 percent 150 percent of what they're asked to do. ]4 Visiting scholars have been a more heterogeneous and difficult group for American universities and colleges to deal with than students, and their performance is less easily measured. In the humanities and social sciences, there are no systematic data on how American scholars per- ceive their Chinese counterparts. Visiting scholars in the natural sci- ences received a generally favorable assessment in a survey conducted by University of Southern California chemist Otto Schnepp. The survey was addressed to faculty who have dealt with visiting scholars at seven American universities—Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Chi- cago, University of Minnesota, University of Southern California, and University of Wisconsin. About 70 percent of the visiting PRC scholars in Schnepp's sample "would be welcomed back if they were to wish to return to the host research group" on the American campus where they previously had been. is A similar percentage of the visiting PRC scholars were reported to have "made significant contributions to the research they participated in." Although visiting scholars, particularly in the natural sciences, are perceived to have made contributions to some American research, some American faculty members also cite problems that arise because the visiting scholars tend to be older and less adaptable than the students, with academic needs that are less easily met by regular university pro- grams. All of these factors combine to impose heavy demands on visiting scholars' American faculty hosts. Overall, however, the American aca- demic community believes that the presence of PRC students and scholars in the natural sciences on campus has enriched academic life in the United States. INTE:!UNSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS Formal exchange agreements between American and Chinese institu- tions have been one important vehicle for Sino-American exchange. From 1979 through 1984 there was a proliferation of agreements between American and Chinese universities and research and adminis- trative entities. These offer American scholars and students potential avenues of access to a wide variety of institutions and localities in China. For some PRC institutions, these ties have become the principal vehicle by which they send their students and scholars to the United States. The majority of agreements, however, are substantially under-
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EXCHANGE ON CAMPUS 111 utilized on both sides, symbolizing good intentions but little actual accomplishment. The task ahead is to identify the most vigorous interinstitutional arrangements and to strengthen them. Of the 216 American universities and colleges that returned usable questionnaires (i.e., usable, as opposed to partially completed or blank questionnaires), 81 reported signing at least one interinstitutional agree- ment with a Chinese counterpart some time from 1979 to 1984.~7 This figure is fairly close to that given in a statement by the Chinese MOE in spring 1984: "About 100 U.S. universities have regular exchange pro- grams with their Chinese counterparts to carry out joint research projects." The 81 American universities reported 214 agreements—an average of 2.6 agreements each (see Tables A-29 and A-30. CSCPRC's survey also showed that 123 Chinese institutions were reported to have at least one agreement with an American counterpart (see Table A-31. Since there were 211 agreements, each Chinese institution had an average of 1.7 agreements. Fifteen percent of the 125 Chinese institutions with at least one agreement were not colleges or universities, but organizations such as CAS, media institutions, some ministries, and administrative entities such as the Hubei Provincial Bureau of Education. In the United States, impetus for these ties has come from several sources: historical and personal ties, a highly motivated Chinese studies community, and enthusiastic central university administrations. In China, university administrators initially saw such arrangements as a way to rapidly increase opportunities for their students and faculty to go abroad without securing vast quantities of scarce foreign exchange. Also, particularly during periods in which Beijing has emphasized the decentralization of educational administration, Chinese universities find such relationships useful means of avoiding the cumbersome cen- tral bureaucracy in the capital that controls the official student-abroad program. For some Chinese administrators, ties to American schools also are highly valued as a means of boosting the image of their institu- tions. is For every American university that has set up an exchange with China, there are dozens that have not. In some instances, institutions (particularly smaller prestigious schools) have consciously decided not to establish such interinstitutional ties. These institutions have opted against doing so because they believe that top-notch scholars and stu- dents from China (particularly in the natural sciences) wit1 apply any- way,20 and that their faculty probably would have adequate oppor- tunity to undertake research in the absence of such agreements. More- over, individual departments fear that they might lose their traditional
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112 A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED independence in the admission of students and be subject to pressure. Finally, in some cases, the institutions simply have no history of estab- lishing such ties.2i Past relationships, both institutional and individual, are one factor shaping today's exchanges. For example, Oberlin College had a reli- gious and educational presence in the Shanxi, Ming County Middle School, from the late 1800s until 1951. Ironically, Shanxi Province Vice- Governor Wang Zhongqing, the same official who dismantled Oberlin's program in the 1950s, personally arranged and paid for former Oberlin representative Ellsworth Carlson's 1979 return to the province in order to discuss the resumption of relations. Although Oberlin's ties in the 1980s are not religious in character, its exchanges are with two of Ming County Middle School's institutional descendants Shanxi Agricultural University and Taiyuan Engineering Institute. Americans of Chinese origin in U. S. universities have played, and are playing, a critical role in developing academic linkages and cooperative research projects with China. Although only one of the seven American universities visited in the course of this study cited faculty members of Chinese origin as the initial impetus for developing exchanges with China, four of the seven identified Chinese-American faculty as a very prominent factor in implementing the relationships, because they serve as bilingual, cross-cultural communicators, have extensive networks of personal ties in China, and retain a great sense of obligation to Chinese culture and society. The personal and professional interests of Chinese studies faculty have been equally critical at these seven institutions. These faculty members have promoted interinstitutional ties because they seek to cre- ate research opportunities for themselves and their students as well as for the larger university community. Many also find appealing a sense of participating in China's experimental policies. For university administrators, forming ties to China was motivated by a desire to internationalize the campus, to expand research opportu- nities, to create new programs that generate local interest and visibility, to satisfy their own personal intellectual interests, and, in a few cases, to raise university revenues. The central administration at Hofstra Univer- sity, for example, believes that acting as a go-between for American firms that want to establish economic ties with Chinese enterprises will both enhance the university's access to China's intellectual circles and produce new university revenues.22 According to the New York Times, "The university would receive a commission for each agreement it nego- tiated between China and a United States business."23 The flow of students under interinstitutional agreements suggests that
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170 A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED 1985)) and Loren Brandt ("A Note on Rural Incomes and Productivity Differences in Chinese Agriculture," unpublished manuscript, 1984), for example, rely heavily on information newly available in statistical yearbooks. Nicholas R. Lardy, in Agricul- ture in China's Modern Economic Development (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983), used information culled from Chinese newspapers and journal articles. 36. For example, the works of Sicular and Wiens, cited above. 37. For example, Jushan Bai, Teh-wei Hu, and Suzhong Shi, "Household Expenditure Patterns in a Large Chinese City," unpublished manuscript, 1984. 38. William M. Speidel, "An Experiment in International Relations," China Business Review, Vol. 12, No. 3 (May-June 1985), pp. 42-43. 39. Ibid., p. 42. 40. FBIS, March 21, 1985, p. K1, from Xinhua. 41. Joseph L. Birman, "Case Study-Physics," pp. 2-3. 42. Ibid., p. 3. 43. I. Wesley Simmons, "US-PRC Health Protocol: Cooperation in Cancer," in CEN, Vol. 13, No. 1 (March 1985), p. 3. 44. Frederick P. Li, "US-Chinese Cooperation in Cancer Research," in CEN, Vol. 13, No. 1 (March 1985), p. 3. 45. Ibid., p. 2. 46. Simmons, "US-PRC Health Protocol," p. 4. 47. Brian Henderson, Mimi C. Yu, and Anna H. Wu, "University of Southern California Cancer Epidemiology Programs with China," CEN, Vol. 13, No. 1 (March 1985)? p. 6. 48. Gerry S. de Harven, "The American Cancer Society and the Development of Cancer Control in China," CEN, Vol. 13, No. 1 (March 1985), p. 17. 49. "Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Work with China," CEN, Vol. 13, No. 1 (March 1985), p. 15. 50. Glaser, p. 9. 51. Frank Press et al., "Earthquake Research in China," EOS Trans. AGU, Vol. 56, No. 11 (1975), pp. 838-881; and Frank Press, "Plate Tectonics and Earthquake Prediction: Contrasting Approaches in China and the United States," Bulletin, American Acad- emy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 28, No. 8 (1975), pp. 14-27. 52. Lester Ross, "Earthquake Policy in China," Asian Survey, Vol. 24, No. 7 (1984), pp. 773-787. 53. Peter Molnar and P. Tapponier, "Relation of the Tectonics of Eastern China to the India-Eurasian Collision: Application of Slip-line Field Theory to Large-Scale Conti- nental Tectonics," Geology, Vol. 5 (1977), pp. 212-216. 54. T. A. D'Auria, ea., "ACM's Visit of the People's Republic of China," Special Report, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 27, No. 3 (1984). 55. Compare these figures to those in 1973, when 35 percent of all engineering doctorates earned in the United States were earned by foreign citizens; 21 percent in mathemat- ics, and 37 percent in agricultural sciences. Figures in Higher Education ~ National Affairs, Vol. 34, No. 6 (Apr. 8, 1985), p. 3; and compiled by the National Research Council, "Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities," 1973 and 1983 Sum- mary Reports.
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8 Future Issues and Opportunities By virtue of its immense size, its strategic location, its character as a developing nation and a nuclear power, the creativity of its people, and the grandeur of its civilization, the People's Republic of China presents special issues and opportunities to other nations, most particularly to the United States. This chapter addresses the broader effects of Sino- American academic exchanges to date, the issues they raise in both societies, and the challenges that lie ahead. INSTITUTIONAL CHANGES One principal consequence of Sino-American academic exchanges has been to provide China's elite with alternative institutional models as it strives to modernize the country. Since the mid-nineteenth century, China's leaders and intellectuals have frequently looked abroad for models that could promote internal order, economic growth, and national security. Although the PRC's leaders adamantly oppose uncrit- ical institutional borrowing from abroad, they are intensely interested in systems and institutions that might be useful in China. Although it is not certain to what extent any American systems are in fact relevant to China, the Chinese have been particularly attracted to American edu- cational and scientific institutions. For example, on March 19, 1985, China's Communist Party Central Committee announced: 171
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172 A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED The system of science foundations will be gradually introduced on a trial basis to support basic and some applied research projects, and the funds will primar- ily come from state appropriations. A national natural science foundation and other science and technology foundations will be established, opened to the public, and will accept fund applications from all sectors, organize the appraisal of the applications by people in the given field, and select the most feasible projects for support, in accordance with the national science and tech- nology development plan. ~ Presumably, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the American private foundation community inspired the Chinese to shift to peer review and remove some research monies from China's traditional budgetary mechanisms.2 Similarly, Chinese interest in policy advisory "think tanks" and contract research has been given focus and direction as Beijing's leaders have interacted with such organizations in America, elsewhere in the West, and in the USSR.3 Both in the pre-1949 era and today, the concept of comprehensive research universities, the extension functions of American land grant universities, the close ties between some American universities and high-tech industries, and internal American university organization, financing, and personnel policies and practices have all piqued Chinese interest. This is not to say that China is copying, or should copy, American (or other) institutional patterns. Nonetheless, as China's leaders are moving forward, they are looking abroad at a wide range of options, and many American institutional forms have attracted particular notice. It behooves Americans not to oversell the U.S. system. China, for its part, should and will continue to cast its net very wide. Beijing's consider- ation of foreign approaches to major institutional problems may be one of the most enduring legacies of academic exchanges. RETURNED PRC STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS: REABSORPTION ,, The "reabsorption" of PRC students and scholars who have studied and worked abroad is a major concern in both nations. The Chinese government wants to protect its investment in this training by avoiding socially disruptive consequences that occur if returnees are not success- fully reintegrated into their work units and Chinese society. Some PRC students and scholars abroad are uncertain what their role will be on returning to China. These anxieties influence their decision about whether to return home or to stay abroad. American educational and research institutions are interested in the experiences of returnees because they want to provide training appropriate to China's needs and conditions.
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FUTURE ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES 173 China has problems in putting the skill and training of returned students and scholars to best use despite the fact that Beijing is making an earnest effort to alleviate this difficulty. From November 23 to 29, 1984, China's State Council convened a national conference at which State Councillor Zhang jingfu was reported to have "called for a change in work conditions for the 14,000 people who have returned from over- seas study. Seventy percent of them were not being fully used because of a shortage of advanced facilities and unsuitable work assignments"4 (emphasis added). Although both officially-sponsored and self-paying students and scholars have encountered difficulties being"reabsorbed," the "self-paying" students apparently experience somewhat greater problems. In his speech, Zhang Jingfu took particular pains to note that "students studying abroad at their own expense must be treated equally and given the necessary assistance as are those studying abroad at the state's expense."5 The variations in the experiences of exchange participants upon returning depend upon their previous status and their circumstances in China. Those sent abroad by the Chinese government are dispatched by a particular "unit" or organization. Those who are "research scholars" frequently have considerable seniority in their unit, and, therefore, an organizational niche usually awaits them on their return. In contrast, "self-paying" students, who generally go abroad under ad hoc personal arrangements, are less likely to have an organizational home awaiting them. Most self-paying students are young, with little or no seniority, and the skills they acquire abroad might not fit any particular Chinese organization's needs at home. Because China has virtually no labor market or mobility (though this may gradually change), those who are not in an organization's personnel plan find it very difficult to locate a good job. In many cases, these students are gambling, hoping that if there is not a suitable position in China they will find one in the United States. Even those individuals who have an organizational base could find their effectiveness reduced by a number of factors. The unit's senior leaders might not choose to facilitate the returned individual's work, depending upon whether his or her skills are viewed as an opportunity or a threat. Similarly, seniority frequently conflicts with considerations of merit in promotion decisions; more deserving workers who have studied abroad can still be passed over in favor of a more senior col- league.6 Even when individuals trained abroad are appropriately placed in an organization, insufficient funds, equipment, and supplies frequently retard their work.7 Ever present, too, is the possibility that the research an individual undertook abroad simply is not a high prior-
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174 A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED ity for the unit upon return. At least one Chinese report suggests that this has been a problem: The research projects in which they were engaged while overseas should be basically linked up with the work they did before going abroad.... After their return from abroad, their professional directions can be adjusted slightly in light of China's specific realities and conditions, merging each person's aspira- tions and characteristics and rationally arranging his or her work.8 The present heavy emphasis on applied research could create some friction with returned students and scholars whose work in the United States was more "basic" in character. How well China succeeds in reintegrating students and scholars who return from abroad will greatly affect the rate at which PRC students and scholars return to China in the future. As noted in Chapter 3, the return rate for ]-1 students and scholars is likely to be higher than for F-ls. Nonetheless, action by the Chinese government could affect the potentially unstable rate at which ]-ls return to China. If more ]-ls stay in the United States, the resulting "brain drain" would become a politi- cal issue in China. In the United States, it would become part of the larger immigration issue. Through policy pronouncements and institutional changes, the Chi- nese have tackled the reabsorption issue directly and promptly, and China's top leaders have resolved publicly to make effective use of returned students and scholars. The 1984 conference mentioned earlier was one forum for airing this issue. Before that, in late 1983, a video- tape of senior Chinese leaders was played to Chinese students and scholars studying in the United States. A principal purpose of this tape, brought to the United States by a group "entrusted by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council," was to reassure the students and scholars that "when you have finished your study and come home, you should be a fresh crack force for Chi- na's cause of socialist modernization and pillars of the state by the first years of the 21st century."9 China has also made a financial commitment toward helping the returnees. In late 1984, the government announced that the State would allocate 20 million yuan (U.S. $8 million) to "set up 10 places through- out the country where returned students would have equipment to work with while they spent two years seeking suitable jobs."~° Furthermore, from 1982 through 1986, China's Ministry of Education (MOE) used $150 million U.S. dollars in World Bank loan funds to purchase teach- ing and research equipment for 28 major universities. According to senior Chinese scientists and officials interviewed by University of
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FUTURE ISS UES AND OPPOR TUNITIES 175 Southern California Professor Otto Schnepp, returning exchange scholars have benefited from this investment in instrumentation. If the science reforms promulgated in March 1985 take full effected they will enhance the prospects of returning scholars. These scholars presumably would benefit from China's efforts to move toward a peer review and competitive grant system, freer labor mobility for technical personnel, and more opportunities for consultancy and contract research. The reforms are still in the early stages and progress is uncer- tain, but the direction is promising. Three questions are paramount. Will these policies be effectively implemented? Will they be sustained long enough for wary scientists and intellectuals to become more confi- dent? Will a perception of favored treatment for returning scholars become a serious domestic political problem in China? Nonetheless, PRC students and scholars in the United States demonstrate a great sense of obligation to their homeland, which will almost certainly keep their return rate higher than has been the case for many other student groups from developing countries in the United States. I~CHNOLOGY MANSE: ISSUES FOR THE FUTURE Though the 1982 National Research Council study entitled Scientific Communication and National Security was principally concerned with the Soviet Union, its recommendations are a fitting starting point for U.S. policies on China and technology control in the university setting. The key recommendation of that study is as follows: No restriction of any kind limiting access or communication should be applied to any area of university research, be it basic or applied, unless it involves a technology meeting all the following criteria: · The technology is developing rapidly, and the time from basic science to application is short; · The technology has identifiable direct military applications; or it is dual-use and involves process or production-related techniques; · Transfer of the technology would give the U.S.S.R. tChina] a significant near-term military benefit; and · The U.S. is the only source of information about the technology, or other friendly nations that could also be the source have control systems as secure as ours. 13 Technology transfer issues in the Sino-American academic relation- ship are complex and of far-reaching importance. Four points are clear. First, the Chinese turned toward the West, and particularly to the United States in the 1970s, in part because they wanted to acquire a broad range of high technology. Second, the United States must protect
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176 A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED its security and proprietary interests. Third, American national security concerns have caused friction with the PRC. On at least two occasions in 1984, Chinese officials expressed concern that Chinese students and scholars had been "restricted to [a] certain number of courses or special- ties, and the extent of such restriction exceeds that for the students and scholars from other countries or regions."~4 PRC officials have raised similar concerns about limitations on attendance of Chinese at some academic and professional association meetings in the Uniter] States. Fourth, the complexity of the American monitoring and regulatory mechanisms makes it difficult for both Americans and Chinese to know what our technology transfer policy really is and who is responsible for its enforcement, since the mechanisms are fragmented among the intel- ligence community, the Departments of Defense, State, Commerce, Energy, and justice, and the Customs Service. In the American system, a distinction should be drawn between uni- versities, which should remain as open as possible, and government and private research laboratories that quite appropriately seek to protect national security and proprietary information. We believe that, on bal- ance, America is best served by its universities when they pursue a policy of continual innovation and openness. Given the importance of foreign graduate students in basic science research at universities, any restraints placed on the access of foreign nationals to technical informa- tion and nonclassifiecl research equipmentis will greatly slow important research progress on American campuses. American universities have given Chinese students and scholars the same reception accorded all other foreign students and overall have been very open in their dealings. Nonetheless, a very few American universities have restricted enrollment in some classes to United States citizens (see Appendix L). Several professional association meetings, or parts of these meetings, have been closed to non-U.S. citizens even though participants were discussing unc~assipe~ technology subject to export control. One recent example was the January 1985 conference of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) on "Composites in Man- ufacturing 4." The program announcement reportedly said, "This con- ference is open to U. S. citizens only. You must prove citizenship in order to be admitted."~6 In speaking of the effects on academic freedom of new export control regulations, Harvard Vice-President john Shattuck said that they are dramatically illustrated by a course on Metal Matrix Composites offered recently at U.C.L.A., that was advertised in the course catalogue as restricted to "U.S. Citizens Only." The restriction was required because the course mate- rial involved unclassified technical data appearing on the [U.S. government's] Munitions Control List (I.T.A.R.) and thus subject to export control.~7
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FUTURE ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES 177 It must be noted, however, that this action was not aimed solely at PRC students and that UCLA has since refused to participate in programs restricted to U.S. citizens. In short, the Chinese are now affected by the same restrictions that also affect our allies in Japan and Western Europe. i9 It must also be observed that the Chinese have closed many of their conferences to foreigners. It is hoped that in a spirit of responsive- ness, this trend will be reversed so that Americans and other foreigners will be able to attend more conferences in China. FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES FOR CUMULATIVE AND COOPERATIVE RESEARCH In the immediate wake of diplomatic "normalization," both the Chi- nese and American sides, appropriately, focused their attention on the exchange of individual students and scholars. It now is time to think about longer-term, group, and collaborative research to supplement— not replace the individual research and study in the PRC that remains critically important. As increasing numbers of PRC students and scholars return from study and research in the West, they do so with personal ties, improved foreign language command, greater commonality of intellectual frame- works, and more compatible research objectives that will make long- term collaborative research feasible. Sustained, systematic, and interdisciplinary projects could focus on such varied topics as the fol- lowing: monitoring changes in the global distribution of toxic sub- stances; charting ecological or societal change on the Tibetan Plateau; looking at demographic processes during economic change; following disease patterns as internal mobility, urbanization, industrialization, and foreign contact all increase; or charting socioeconomic change. Any such studies of physical and social change require systematic observa- tion over time. The United States is now, it may be hoped, near a point in its rela- tionship with China that such undertakings are possible, with research occurring in both the United States and the PRC. The challenge for scholars is to define the priority areas for inquiry and to identify partici- pants from both sides. Rich possibilities exist in both the social and natural sciences. INVOLVEMENT IN SCIENTIFIC, ECONOMIC, AND TECHNICAL CHANGE IN CHINA American government and private-sector organizations are becoming involved in helping to build or revitalize some fields of study in China. At the same time, some American institutional forms have impressed
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178 A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED the Chinese as they seek promising directions for economic and social reform. In addition, a few American foundations have supported the physical expansion and modernization of Chinese academic and scien- tific institutions. American government initiatives, such as the Dalian Center for Industrial Science and Technology Management Develop- ment (see Chapter 4), contribute to Chinese manpower training. And, in the case of johns Hopkins University and its joint project with Nan- jing University, an American university has made a long-term commit- ment to institutional development in the PRC. In essence, academic exchanges now are beginning to address issues of structural reform in China, and American academics and industrial scientists are, for better or worse, becoming involved in Chinese institu- tional change. To prevent disillusionment in both societies, the United States' challenge is to make it plain that American institutions have limits even in America, let alone in the far different circumstances of a China that is socialist, 80 percent peasant, and still deeply ambivalent about what Westerners almost gleefully call "interdependence." More- over, American financial resources are small in comparison to Chinese needs. This opportunity for involvement in China's economic and scientific development raises profound questions that are not easily answered. Is it wise to fuel Chinese expectations about American technical and financial capacities? Can the United States, and should it ever, be more than a marginal influence on the course of Chinese development? What would be the costs of standing on the sidelines compared to the costs of disillusionment in both China and the West if China's current efforts do not produce the desired results? What are the United States' security interests? If China imports products and commodities from abroad, it must also export, and that means that some American and Western industries will face unwelcome competition. Is it in the U.S. interest to help potential competitors develop? As American universities become involved in China's economic development, what is the "proper" rela- tionship between institutions of higher education and the entrepreneur- ial activities of both Chinese and American businesses? For business, knowledge is a saleable commodity for the university, it traditionally has been a free good. This study concludes as it began with questions. However, the new questions confronting educational and scientific leaders in both coun- tries document how far the Sino-American exchange relationship has progressed in the short span of six years.
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FUTURE ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES NOTES 179 1. Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Report: China (hereafter referred to as FBIS), March 21, 1985, p. K2, from Xinhua. 2. Marjorie Sun, "China's Science Academy Revamps Funding Process," Science, Vol. 227, No. 4687 (1985), p. 615. 3. loins Publications Research Service (hereafter referred to as JPRS), CST-85-003, Ian. 28, 1985, Science and Technology, pp. 27-36, from Guangming Riboo and Keyan Guanli (Scientific Research Management); also, JPRS, CPS-84-054, Aug. 10, 1984, Political, Sociological, and Military Affairs, pp. 17-19. 4. China Daily, Nov. 30, 1984, p. 1. 5. FBlS, Nov. 30, 1984, p. K9, from Xinhua. 6. Wall Street Journal, July 6, 1984, p. 1. 7. Otto Schnepp, "The Chinese Visiting Scholar Program in Science and Engineering," unpublished manuscript prepared for National Science Foundation, July 1985, pp. 20-29. 8. JPRS, CPS-85-003, Jan. 28, 1985, pp. 23-24, from Guangming Riboo [Bright Daily], Aug. 29, 1984, p. 1. 9. FBIS, Dec. 30, 1983, p. B1, from Xinhua. 10. China Daily, Nov. 30, 1984. It should be noted that some PRC students and scholars in the United States view these centers with apprehension, fearing that they also are intended to control returned students rather than facilitate their work. 11. Schnepp, "The Chinese Visiting Scholar Program," pp. 35-36. 12. FBIS, March 21, 1985, pp. Kl-K10, from Xinhua; also, FBIS, March 8, 1985, pp. K1-K3, from Xinhua. 13. Scientific Communication and National Security: A Report Prepared by the Panel on Scientific Communication and National Security and the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1982), p.5. 14. Correspondence, August 1984. 15. "Curb on Campus Computers: Pentagon vs. Academia," New YoTk Times, Aug. 17, 1985, p. L-7; also, "NSF Backs Off Rules Restricting Access to Supercomputers," Chronicle of Higher Education 0dly 24, 1985), p. 1. 16. Robert L. Park, "Intimidation Leads to Self-Censorship in Science," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (March 1985), p. 22. 17. Chronicle of Higher Education Qan. 9, 1985), pp. 15-16. 18. Park, p. 23. 19. Wall Street Journal, Jan. 25, 1985.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: