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Xi Jinping's goal of attracting 50,000 American students to China is ambitious in a tense geopolitical context

Xi Jinping's goal of attracting 50,000 American students to China is ambitious in a tense geopolitical context


International relations professor Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies at Renmin University of China, said the negative image of American students was growing.

The tightening political and political-cultural environment in China, which includes growing anti-US nationalism, has also been frequently reported by US media, he added.

There is strong interest on both sides to restore student flows to pre-pandemic levels, but some things will have to change for that to happen.

Associate Professor Chong Ja Ian of the National University of Singapore's political science department said the Chinese side will have to stop its harsh rhetoric against the United States.

These attacks can target politicians, diplomats and businesses, but they can be seen by everyone, he added.

Dr Gadsden said China should consider adding an internship visa so students can come and work in the summer for local companies and organizations.

In late April, a new Study in Beijing+ initiative was announced as part of a collaboration between local universities and municipal authorities to facilitate internship and work opportunities for international students by easing work permit requirements .

If we want students to travel to China, we need to create curricular and extracurricular programs that enable this, which involves support for travel, but also for teaching and faculty development. It won't happen on its own, Dr. Gadsden emphasized.

Professor Jia Qingguo, director of the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding at Peking University and a government adviser, earlier this year presented a series of suggestions to China's top advisory body to attract more students from whole world.

Besides internship opportunities and lowering thresholds for work visas for those studying in China, he called for efforts to eliminate concerns about academic research.

Professor Jia also suggested solving practical problems faced by foreign students in China, such as allowing registered foreign devices to access foreign websites that are blocked, simplifying identity verification procedures, and facilitating opening of bank accounts for short-term foreigners.

Eight Chinese universities approached by ST, including Tsinghua, Beijing and Fudan, did not respond on their efforts to increase U.S. listings and trade.

Two institutions with national ties, NYU Shanghai and Hopkins-Nanjing Center, reported having significant student numbers but did not specifically target U.S. students outside of the overall international student pool.

Adam Webb, co-director of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, said that while the numbers have not been finalized for the next class, they appear to be higher than typical pre-pandemic numbers for a two-year Master of Arts in International Studies years.

This illustrates the continued strong interest in studying at this bilingual campus in China, after the significant disruptions during the pandemic and the transition cycle immediately after China's final reopening, he added.




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