Chinese students began going to the United States for further studies after China launched the reform and opening-up in 1978. These students in turn contributed to the progress and development of China. The country’s economic prosperity provided liberal funding to Chinese universities and Chinese students with foreign degrees worked hard to improve the educational system in China. As a result, many Chinese universities began rising in international rankings. Today several Chinese universities are among the top in the world.
Chinese universities not only provide quality education to their own nationals but also provide an avenue to many foreign students, especially from developing nations. From instance, there are around 28,000 students from Pakistan in Chinese universities in almost all emerging fields of science and technology, agriculture, management sciences, finance and economics, humanities, and social sciences.
In spite of the quality education available inside China, many Chinese students still go to foreign countries for education, especially to the US. The reasons range from experiencing a different culture to treating a foreign degree as a status symbol.
Whatever the reason, Chinese students contribute to the US in several ways. They contribute financially, intellectually and culturally. Their contributions have enriched each and every sector of the US economy and society.
The US has always benefitted from attracting the best brains from all over the world. The role foreign students have played in making the US an economic powerhouse should not be underestimated. Foreign students work hard to obtain their degrees but simultaneously contribute toward the social and economic development of the US.
Since Trump’s administration took over, a discriminatory policy toward foreigners has been introduced; as a result, the best brains from rest of the world are finding it difficult to move to the US. Violence against foreigners and gun culture have also put off many overseas students. Increased cases of robbery and looting of Chinese nationals have created a negative impact on American socio-economic development.
Harassment of Chinese students and strict visa policy may be a big hurdle for Chinese students, who constitute almost one-third of the overall population of foreign students, to travel to the US. This will hurt US more than China. Chinese will find alternate inside China for quality education, but the US may lose a big source of revenue as well as intellectual workforce.
On the other hand, students are the best mode of cultural exchange and public diplomacy. Any restriction on students may adversely impact public diplomacy and promotion of harmony and understanding between the two nations.
It is time to promote international peace through diplomacy, people-to-people contacts and harmony. It time to narrow down difference among nation to ensure global security and prosperity. We need to understand each other and observe tolerance with each other much more than ever, to achieve our common goal of global stability and development. We all are an inhabitant of global village and need to ensure our world prospers for all of us equally.
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomate), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.