Stark warning

Over 100 years ago, 120 Chinese teenagers were sent to the US to study on the “Boxer Indemnity Scholarship” program offered by former US president Theodore Roosevelt, which became a landmark in the history of China-US people-to-people exchanges. Members of China’s first generation of returnees have helped to shape China’s modern history.

Since the country ushered in the era of reform and opening-up in 1978, a total of 4.58 million Chinese have gone abroad to study and 3.22 million of them returned, according to data released by the MOE.

The returnees from the US have made the ties closer between the two peoples and made significant contributions to the nation’s economic development and scientific progress.

However, the US has singled out Chinese students and scholars as a national security threat, casting a shadow over bilateral relations which have already been beleaguered by trade tensions.

Chinese analysts stressed that the warning is aimed at Chinese parents and students.

“China has been open and supportive to studying abroad. Now facing the tensions caused by the US, the warning is a gentle reminder to Chinese parents: Studying in the US will cost a fortune in time and money, and if their children cannot get a sound education, it will be a huge loss,” a Peking University professor told the Global Times on Monday on condition of anonymity.

It also reminds them that many schools with high quality education resources in other countries may be an option, the professor said, noting that the warning will affect US schools greatly as Chinese students are a prominent contributor to their finances.

He Weiwen, former economic and commercial counselor at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco and New York, pointed out that the warning suggests that the trade war has already begun to affect the field of education.

“From trade to science and technology, and to education, it shows that the US is launching a war from its strategic concerns. It is obvious who is instigating trouble,” He said.

The US action has forced China to react and choose a more prudent attitude toward studying in the US, he said.