In a statement critical of US policies affecting foreign students, China has called on the US to create ‘positive conditions’ to help Chinese and international students in the country feel more welcome.
The statement regarding the United States’ attitude towards international students comes as new data showed that the growth of Chinese student numbers in US continues to drop.
Earlier this year, Global Education Times reported that Chinese students were reportedly on the lookout for alternative study destinations other than the US amid an ongoing trade spat between Washington DC and Beijing.
China is the biggest source of foreign students in the US, but growth of Chinese student numbers has now dropped to just 1.7%.
This decline in growth is significant given that between 2009/10 and 2012/13 growth was consistently at a rate above 20%.
The data comes from the IIE’s 2019 Open Doors report, which looks at data on the numbers of international students studying in the United States in the 2018/19 academic year.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement also pointed out that significant numbers of US students studied in China, and called for ‘positive conditions’ to be nurtured to better the exchange of international students between the two countries.
China believes policies adversely affecting US reputation with international students
Referring to the reported drop in the growth of Chinese student numbers in the US, and the general feeling expressed by international students of feeling unwelcome in the United States, Geng Shuang, People’s Republic of China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, said in a press conference last week:
“[The report] says that from 2018 to 2019, the growth rate of not only Chinese students, but also international students, dropped significantly in the US. This tells us how recent US policies have affected its image and reputation, obstructed its exchange with other countries, and undermined its own interests.”
While the report states that the number of international students in the United States hit an all time high for the 2018/19 academic year, the total number of international students rose just 0.05%. Whilst it is a growth, it is minimal and possibly an indication of what Shuang states is happening.
Shuang continued: “In the past four decades, educational exchange developed rapidly, during which over 330,000 American students studied in China. China is one of the most popular destinations of higher education for American students.
“For ten consecutive years, China has been the biggest source of international students for the US. In the period from 2018 to 2019 alone, 370,000 Chinese students study in the US, one-third of the total international students in the country.
“Exchange of students has long been advancing communication and mutual understanding between the two countries as well as each other’s development.
“Today, it is all the more important for us to create positive conditions for exchange of students as well as people-to-people ties with an open and inclusive attitude.
“President Trump, Ambassador Branstad and other senior US officials said on many occasions that Chinese students are welcome in the US. We hope the US side can take real actions in achieving what our two peoples aspire for. In next year’s report, we hope to see some promising changes.”
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Hari is the Managing Editor of Global Education Times. Hari has clocked nearly a decade working as a communications professional with a focus on the education sector. He has also had stints in journalism and advertising in a career which has seen him live, study, and work, in three countries.
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