NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this publication was sponsored by the Committee on Scholarly Communication with China (formerly the Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People's Republic of China). It is a revised edition of China Bound: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC, published in 1987.
The Committee on Scholarly Communication with China (CSCC) is jointly sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Social Science Research Council.
Since the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and China in 1979, the CSCC has developed programs with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the State Education Commission, in addition to those with the China Association for Science and Technology, with whom the CSCC began exchanges in 1972. Current activities include a program for American graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to carry out long-term study or research in affiliation with Chinese universities and research institutes; a fellowship program for Chinese scholars to conduct research in the United States; and field development and training programs in archaeology, economics, international relations, law, library science, and sociology.
This publication was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The accuracy of the information presented and the views expressed in this publication are the responsibility of the authors and not the sponsoring organizations.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Thurston, Anne F.
China bound : a guide to academic life and work in the PRC / revised by Anne F. Thurston; with Karen Turner-Gottschang and Linda A. Reed.
"For the Committee on Scholarly Communication with China."
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Foreign study—China. 2. American students—China. 3. Teachers, Foreign—China. 4. China—Description and travel.
I. Turner-Gottschang, Karen. II. Reed, Linda A. III. Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People's Republic of China (U.S.) IV. Title.
Copyright 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
The calligraphy appearing in the text was kindly prepared by Fu Shen, Curator of Chinese Art, Freer Gallery of Art of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. The cover photograph is by Bernard Van Leer.
The author wishes to thank the following individuals for reading and commenting on this manuscript:
Mark Bender, Ohio State University
Mary Bullock, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Joan Carey, Committee on Scholarly Communication with China
Keith Clemenger, Committee on Scholarly Communication with China
Richard Connor, Texas A&M University
Deborah Davis, Yale University
James Feinerman, Committee on Scholarly Communication with China
Robert Geyer, Committee on Scholarly Communication with China
James Hargett, State University of New York at Albany
Alice Hogan, National Science Foundation
Mary Beth Kennedy, ICF Incorporated
Scott Kennedy, The Brookings Institution
Megan Klose, Committee on Scholarly Communication with China
Beryl Leach, The World Bank
John Olsen, University of Arizona
Leo Orleans, Library of Congress
Tony Reese, Yale-China Association
Scott Rozelle, Stanford University
David Shambaugh, University of London
Audrey Spiro, independent scholar
Karen Turner-Gottschang, Holy Cross College
Cameron Wake, University of New Hampshire
Andrew Walder, Harvard University
Haynie Wheeler, Yale-China Association
Meng Yang, Embassy of the People's Republic of China, Washington, D.C.
The author also wishes to thank Mary Ernst of the Council on International Exchange of Scholars and William Shine at the United States Information Agency for providing information and reports from Fulbright lecturers.
This publication was supported with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
China Bound is a guidebook for American students, teachers, and researchers who plan to live and work in China. Its purpose is to help make the experience there as rich and rewarding as possible.
The book introduces some of the available research and teaching opportunities and study programs. It explains the structure of China's academic institutions and relates the experiences of other Americans who have worked within them. It discusses the range of opportunities and suggests relevant strategies for archival and field research and collaborative projects in scientific laboratories. It provides advice ranging from preparation for departure to daily life in China—from bringing and setting up a computer to handling a medical emergency and how to stay healthy and fit. China Bound will be most useful to those who are going for the first time, but "old China hands" should find much of practical value as well.
Americans' fascination with China is as old as the United States, and the "opening up" that began in 1979 has provided hundreds of thousands of Americans with the opportunity to experience China firsthand. Thousands of U.S. scholars, students, and teachers have resided in China, and their opportunity to learn about China from the inside has been unique. As many have returned to relate those experiences or publish their research results, our understanding of China has increased.
Harold Isaacs, writing between 1949 and 1979, when only a handful of Americans were able to visit, noted a curious ambivalence in the American fascination with China—admiration coupled with fear, the China of Marco Polo contradicted by the China of Genghis Khan, the world's oldest civilization ruled by emperors with a capacity for cru-
elty. "In the long history of our associations with China, these two sets of images rise and fall, move in and out of the center of people's minds over time, never wholly displacing each other, always coexisting, each ready to emerge at the fresh call of circumstance," he wrote.
The cycle of ambivalence that Isaacs describes has already been repeated in the years since the economic reforms of the 1980s encouraged more outsiders to live and work in China. The thrill of being able to live and work in China again was followed by horror over the Tiananmen Square tragedy of June 1989; the attraction we have for the Chinese people has been coupled with frustration over the Chinese bureaucracy; our excitement at the speed of China's economic development has been accompanied by distress over growing corruption; our hope for China's modernization has carried with it a deep concern that too much of the past is being destroyed.
Isaacs also discovered that those who liked China most were those who knew it best. And what Americans liked best, in addition to China's rich history and culture, were the Chinese people. This is true today as well. After a brief hiatus in the wake of Tiananmen, American researchers, students, and teachers have returned to China to live, work, and learn. Americans going today, like those who have gone before, are likely to find their work—whether teaching, studying, or conducting research—to be deeply satisfying—indeed, among the richest and most rewarding of their lives. Many will have made lifelong Chinese friends—colleagues and research collaborators, fellow students, fellow teachers, or students taught, or the person met by chance encounter on a train. They will have been witnesses to a remarkable period in China's own history.
China Bound was first published in 1981 shortly after academic exchanges were renewed; it was rewritten in 1987 by Linda Reed and Karen Turner-Gottschang. But China continues to change and, by 1992, many people who knew how valuable earlier editions of China Bound had been concluded that the time had come for another update. Kathlin Smith at the Committee on Scholarly Communication with China has guided the endeavor from its inception—securing funding, providing background materials, and supervising the preparation of the manuscript with unfailing good humor and efficiency. She has been assisted by three hardworking interns: Dan Ewing, from the Johns Hopkins University; S. Quinn Hanzel, from Georgetown University; and Richard Michael Victorio, also from Georgetown University. The book could not have been done without their contributions and assistance. My thanks to them all.
This newly revised edition reflects not only changes in China but also the increasingly diverse experiences of American students, teachers, and researchers who have lived there. Both the preface and the
section on research are completely new. In making these revisions, I have spoken to dozens of Americans who have lived in China as researchers, students, and teachers, and I have read numerous reports that researchers have written for the Committee on Scholarly Communication with China (CSCC) as well as reports from many professors in the Fulbright program. The CSCC's China Exchange News has provided a wealth of information. In December 1992, I visited China and met with researchers, teachers, and students. I also have conducted research in China and lived for five years in Beijing. And I drew on many personal accounts in making these revisions. Although most people are not thanked by name, I would like to express my appreciation to everyone with whom I have spoken and whose accounts I have read, while noting, with apologies, that there is little way to do them justice here. Each individual's experience in China is unique, and the picture that emerges is one of great diversity. This guidebook attempts to reflect that diversity. At the same time, it also attempts to distill from many different experiences a core of advice for anyone planning to study, teach, or conduct research in China. The people consulted for this revision shared their experiences with the hope that others could benefit from them.
ANNE F. THURSTON
D. General Guidelines for Direct Application to a Chinese College or University as a Self-Sponsored Student and Excerpts from "Regulations Concerning the Admission of Foreign Students in Chinese Schools (1986)"