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文章原始标题:Why are more Chinese graduate and doctoral students returning to China after they graduate?


Aj.Raymond James Ritchie Hons&PhD Uni of Sydney, 12y post doctoral, 110 papers
The USA is no longer the global terminal location. This is something the American elite has not yet understood. They cannot any longer keep their R&D base going by simply pilfering talent from other countries. The career structure in STEM in the USA is so lousy that it is no wonder graduates take jobs elsewhere.
A Chinese with an American PhD or post-doctoral experience in the USA has better career prospects in China than in the USA. They will get a good steady job, laboratory facilities and good social standing. And what do they do? They set up their own laboratory and train their own Masters, PhDs and Post-docs who no longer have to go to the USA. Gradually then all of a sudden.
When I was growing up it was expected of you that after getting university qualifications you needed to get overseas experience to find a job either in Australia or some other country. That is no longer the case. You can make an academic career in Australia without spending years overseas. I am 66y and getting old. Younger academics I have met in Australia typically have never felt the need to get overseas experience like I did. Their intellectual parent (PhD supervisor) or grandparent (supervisor’s supervisor) may have had an American or UK degree but they feel they do not need one or an overseas post-doc. Crucially, my 7 years of overseas post-doctoral experience did not help me get a real job in Australia.
I am an Australian PhD (my supervisor was Oxford DPhil) . I worked as a post-doc in the USA for 5y, a year in Canada and a year in the UK. I did not stay because I was not offered anything to stay. A cultural thing that left a bad taste in my mouth with the USA was that they want to rent-not-buy overseas talent. The same thing becomes apparent to Chinese students. I now work in SE-Asia. I am treated better in Thailand than I ever was in Australia, UK, USA or Canada. I have a job and a lab of my own.


Liu Lisong
It is shocking that an academically experienced PhD like you failed to get a "real job". You have the talent and perseverance to receive a higher level of education, and deserve the respect of the society and superior salary.
Have you considered coming to work in a laboratory in China? Or you can get some research funding support from China through some academic contacts.

【回复】像你这样有学术经验的博士竟然找不到一份“真正的工作” ,真是让人震惊。你有接受更高教育的天赋和毅力,值得社会的尊重和优厚的薪水。

Aj.Raymond James Ritchie
I am quite happy working in Thailand. The only regret I have is that I did not do it as a younger man. The husband of a former student of mine was offered a PhD scholarship in the USA and China. I recommended he take the Chinese offer. He did.


Han Shyone Ooi
Good for you. Glad more and more countries value talent.


Jason Ko
I like your last line .. “treated better" in South East Asia.
In general Asians look up to those who studied hard. Good luck in the Land of a Thousand Smiles :)

【回复】我喜欢你的最后一句话.. 在东南亚“待遇更好”。

Annie Ruth Harrison Lover of Chinese culture and history
As China began to open up to the world, it seems as though it saw the West as something to aspire to. Into the 80s and early 90s, many Chinese students wanted degrees from Western universities. And some chose to go to the West when they didn’t receive a placement in a Chinese college.
They, I think in many ways, believed in the American dream. Things from the West, like brand name items, became like status symbols. There was a nationwide xenophilia—a love of all things Western. For example, I’ve heard that in the 1980s, drinking Coke was seen as a privilege. They imported our music, movies, manner of dress, even our fast food like KFC and McDonalds.
The chance to attend college in the West was seen as an opportunity. Parents wanted the best for their children and they thought education in America was it. You see, while we’ve been overwhelmed with anti-China sentiment left over from the Cold War Communist Scare, at the same time, China was telling its young people to work hard so they could prosper like the Americans.


But something unexpected happened. Young people came here hopeful and optimistic. Some of them were treated well. Some of them were victims of racism and hate. They felt discrimination. Sometimes making friends was difficult.
I’ve heard stories of Chinese feeling like they didn’t fit in here—not even with American born Chinese because their cultural backgrounds were different. They were unfairly treated in some places, judged by their ethnicity. They realized how America thought badly of their country’s politics, leaders, and ways of doing things.
So over time, they became disillusioned and went home. And that has been amplified this past year. Our mismanagement of Covid, our riots and absurd acts of treason, our ridiculous trade war with their home country—they want to go home now.


The future of technology involves economic competition between the thriving high tech industries in China and in India. The US is already falling behind. We just have not admitted it to ourselves yet.
I work for a US high tech company. We have weekly meetings. At some of them there is *no one* at the meeting who was born in the US. At some of them there are a few US born engineers left, and the median age of US born engineers where I work is more than 50. US born engineers are a dying breed, or at least a retiring breed.
There are very good reasons for this. One issue is that the US education system is quite bad when it comes to teaching math to young kids. If you get to middle school without being good at math, it is too late. You are never going to work as an engineer in high tech. You might be able to work in high tech, but in sales or some other role.


Foreign born engineers are catching on to something: If you accept permanent resident status in the US, you will be taxed by the US forever, even after you return home. You must never take on US permanent residence or citizenship unless you are *certain* that you will live the rest of your life in the US. However, the US high tech industry is old. It is going to be replaced. Therefore, you do not want to make this commitment. How do you avoid the “US tax authorities follow you to your death” trap? Very easy, you return home right after you graduate from university. For tax reasons, the US is no longer the place that smart people from other countries want to move to.
There is another advantage of returning home: In India and China the pretty girls marry engineers. Part of this is that in India and China the engineers are paid better than the lawyers. This is very, very different from the US.


Sam Arora Life long student of Chinese history, culture, food, arts
I have visited China six times and have worked all my life with the Canadian Chinese in one form or the other.
Chinese are the most hard-working race in the world, they are very focused committed and their culture or way of thinking is based on Taoism and Buddhism.
The young generation may not know it, but as an outsider, I know and felt that they all believe in good Karma. I found the will be excel in everything they do is the common thread, from a shoemaker to the brain surgeon.
Are they smarter than other people? no sure. Are they hardworking? You bet they are very hardworking. And that is the secret of China.
Well, unless you visit China, all these things may sound like pie in the sky.
Chinese Canadian ruling the Toronto schools too, very strong family structure, education no. 1 and super hard work, almost zero alcohol, zero drugs, and almost zero parties,
The USA has lagged behind in education for several decades and it is losing its edge, due to very poor work ethics, dirty politics, useless wars, and a totally wrong mindset.


Yevgeniy Leto
Opportunities and life qualities. The West, especially the US, is in an anti-China mode and Chinese are having a difficult time finding jobs in the West. A substantial number of people are hostile to China and Chinese nationals. It is not comfortable living there. The culture and language are already difficult enough to adopt and assimilate.
Meanwhile, China is getting richer and living standards are going up. The coastal cities are saturated and very expensive, but if you just move into the interior a bit, things are affordable and there is plenty of opportunity to make it big. They speak the same language, look the same and nobody is looking at them funny. They are home.
I think this is all obvious.


Lance Crayon
A substantial number of Americans aren’t hostile to Chinese in the US. I live in the middle of the largest Chinese community on foreign soil and the general atmosphere has been fine. Non-Asians and rednecks alike aren’t driving their trucks into Alhambra and hurting Chinese residents. There have been many incidents of Chinese hurting Chinese, or Vietnamese hurting Vietnamese, but it’s always been that way.


Yevgeniy Leto
I agree. A substantial number of Americans aren’t hostile to Chinese in US. However a substantial number of Americans are and they are not all rednecks. Many blacks are very hostile to Chinese, just for some reality checks. Often being in proximity breeds hostility rather than understanding when it comes to culture differences.
The general atmosphere is hostile to Chinese—be they Democrats or Republicans.


Lance Crayon
Do you live in the US? Have you witnessed this hostility?

【回复】你住在美国吗? 你亲眼见过这种敌意吗?

Yevgeniy Leto
Let’s just say that I have plenty American friends, Chinese friends and Chinese American friends. I talk to them in both English and Chinese. Some of my American friends aren’t very friendly to Chinese friends in private. A Chinese American friend once told me that he was surprised that a Jewish American friend of his told a mutual Iranian American friend that he (the Jewish American) did not think Chinese Americans were real Americans.
These people all live in cities and suburbs and are cosmopolitan.


Lance Crayon


Alex Wong Jian
1000 great encounters will not compensate 1 tragic attack. So why bother? The Chinese go home to their own people and build their country. It satisfies higher order of Maslow hierarchy - self actualization.


Ridzwan Abdul Rahman Self employed (2000-present)
This shows the difference between Indian and Chinese graduates.
Many Indian graduates seek employment in the US and hold high positions in US companies, while Chinese graduates return to China to participate in building up their own country. This has been going on for many years and this is partly the reason for China’s massive growth over the years.
Indian graduates need to be more nationalistic and return to India to help build their own country up.
EDIT 11 Jan 2021
China providing job opportunities as a reason for the graduates returning to China. I agree that this is true based on my own experience in the IT industry in Malaysia.
Ever since the 1990s (could have been earlier) until about 2010, we regularly received calls from IT companies in India asking us to outsource application development to them because they are cheaper. And many programmers from India came to Malaysia to work on projects. I believe Malaysia is just one of many countries that the Indians approach. This indicates a lack of jobs in India.
But there is another difference between India and China. While China is internationally well known for Alibaba, Weibo, Wechat, Tencent, etc, India is not known for similar things. Somehow, I get the impression that Indians choose to work for others instead of developing something for themselves. And the US provides many opportunities to work for others. Some Chinese graduates, on the other hand, prefer to create something for themselves.

自上世纪90年代(可能更早)到2010年前后,我们经常接到印度 IT 公司的电话,要求我们将应用程序开发外包给它们,因为它们更便宜。许多程序员从印度来到马来西亚从事项目工作。我相信马来西亚只是印度人接触的众多国家之一。这表明印度缺乏就业机会。

Alex Wong Jian
A country needs to make itself an attractive place for talents to go to. In the movie “Field of Dreams”, Kevin Costner said: If you build it, they will come.
China did that. Build infrastructure, improve business environment, invest in education, open industrial parks, providing incentives for relocations…too many to list them all, over 40 years persistently.
In the process when things went astray the government quickly took corrective actions decisively.
Nationalism alone can't make things click. You need actions and determination and long-term planning.
India is not in the same league. Indian elites know.

中国这样做了。建设基础设施,改善商业环境,投资教育,开放工业园区,为搬迁提供激励措施等等... 太多了,无法一一列举,坚持了40多年。

Hong Yinpui
Looking at the angle assuming human are selfish.
Indian although is democratic, India is not attractive to Indians. It is like last decades, 9 over 10 China graduate prefer not to return to China.
Normal people do not care much about the NAME of the political system.
Normal people only interested whether home soil is fertile or not for a secured living.
Let's put the blame on India for not providing secured and fertile soil for their graduates.


Louie Lee
Chinese with US degrees and experience can easily fine jobs in China and get similar salaries and benifets. As well there is now lot more R&D position. US companies also have R&D centers in India but salaries are less and more limited opportunities. Lot of them with experience or US education get work visas but that is more limited after Trump clamp down.


Paul Hywel-Evans Ph.D.(chem),
Why are more Chinese graduate and doctoral students returning to China after they graduate?
Chinese students are used as academic knowledge harvesters so that the information flow into China bolsters their country. If you have ever been in industry you will know that several years ago it was the fashion to use the sweet enticements offered by China to move the corporate R&D to there.
Industry stopped doing their research there, so how do you get info on current thinking? Hire non Chinese senior professors for LOTS of dosh or send students? They do both!
Keeping the economic edge is vitally important in any society, chaotic or planned.


Lance Crayon
I never though of that and thank you for answering. When were foreign companies setting up R&D centers in China?


Paul Hywel-Evans
Oh about 20 years ago. All was fine because China offered lots of well qualified researches with low salaries and running costs. But then they tried to get info out from the R&D centers and found they could not. That was a classic moment of truth for the corporate bodies, “Oh gosh we gave it all away and never got anything back”. A friend of mine said confidentially to me one day, “What a f#$K up that was!”


Paul Lee Managing Partner (2002-present)
It’s a good and valid observation as both the current political climate and economic conditions are not favorable to Chinese graduates and PhDs. At the same time, China is embarking on a strategic catch-up with the US and EU through technological advancements. Thus, there are more opportunities there.
The key to ensuring our national security is not to target all Chinese students in America but to become much more effective in identifying, isolating and eliminating those who are prone to steal IPs and technologies. To that aim, FBI must beef-up its human counter-intelligence capabilities and recruit highly-skilled and attuned agents to lead that effort. From my limited experience with FBI directors and officers, I find most of them to be of the same background and mindset, dedicated to investigating old Mafia bosses or American gangsters but ill-fitted against China operatives and their enablers. Again, it’s the same White man’s hubris permeating across much of US law enforcement and Justice Department, started long-before Trump but only intensified over the last 4 years. So what can you do?

确保我们国家(美国)安全的关键不是针对所有在美国的中国学生,而是更有效地识别、隔离和消除那些有窃取 知识产权和技术倾向的人。为了实现这一目的,联邦调查局必须增强其反情报能力,并招募技能高超、训练有素的特工来领导这项工作。从我与联邦调查局局长和官员打交道的有限经验来看,我发现他们中的大多数人都有着相同的背景和心态,致力于调查老黑手党头目或美国黑帮,但却不够适合中国特工及其推动者。早在特朗普上任之前,白人的傲慢就已经渗透到美国很多执法部门和司法部,又一次发生了,但在过去四年里加剧了。所以,你能怎么做呢?

Jimmy Wang works at Casino Arizona
If you can afford to get an education abroad, you got family obligations at home and there will be family business that needed to be run. Here is what they don’t teach you in any business school it is that your roots must be established in order to have your initial investment made. After you obtain your advanced degree, many are not guarantee a job with a decent salary after graduation so we weight in what would be our own best interest our next chapter in life. Often time, it is back home in China since there are much more opportunities there than here. By working for western firms, there will be bamboo ceiling in most private and public sectors.


Jonathan Dough
Why are more Chinese graduate and doctoral students returning to China after they graduate? Simple, economic opportunities have improved in China. People go where the jobs are, and China is the biggest economy now.
In the past, there was less opportunity for the Chinese graduate skills in China, but now the economic opportunities in China are better. And instead of being far away on another continent from family and relatives you can be much closer. Even if they are in the opposite side of China, that is still closer than in the US.


Qi Chen Electrical Engineer (2017-present)
Question: Why are more Chinese graduate and doctoral students returning to China after they graduate?
Economic opportunities.
For vast majority of the Chinese, economic opportunities, such as job determines where they go. So when they leave China in 1980s, it isn’t because “democracy” and when they return China, it isn’t because of “communism”. It is all about jobs and how much they get paid and how expensive stuff are. In recent years, China has a flourishing economic, so more Chinese graduates are returning to China.


Long Yu Chinese live and work in US
The most significant reason is that they are more students studying in US…
But the experience in US is usually not that good…the cities smell like piss, the infrastructure is third class…local people are…American…
The pay in US is not really good either…compared to Chinese companies today…
There is simply not a lot of reason to stay in US even though visa is not really a problem for graduate students…
There is indeed one reason…the work is much less intense in US…but that may not be a good thing for young people playing the long game…

但是在美国的体验通常不是很好... 城市闻起来一股尿骚味,基础设施是三流的... 当地人是... 美国人..

Lance Crayon
Which cities smell like piss? Salaries hinge on what you know how to do, similar to China. The work is intense, according to your profession, just like China. Yes, US infrastructure is crumbling and will only get worse.


Ralph Pifer former Retired Professor of Psychology and Social Science (1981-2011)
* Our country is very hostile to them at the present moment;
* They cannot get citizenship or documentation to allow them to stay in the country for a prolonged time;
* Given the developing negative bias in this country, Chinese students cannot get the kind of research grants they need to carryout their work;
Stay well. Stay safe.

* 我国(美国)目前对他们非常敌视;
* 他们不能获得公民身份或证件,以便长期留在美国;
* 由于对中国的负面偏见日益严重,中国学生无法获得进行研究所需的研究经费;

Ruby Mens
It depends on their field. If there are no jobs for them in the USA, they return to China. If there are jobs for them in the USA, they leave China for the USA or remain in the USA after graduation.
There's demand for AI researchers; the USA has been attracting Chinese graduates. Chinese graduates are making the USA great. It's too bad that the USA regime constantly accuses them of spying. Hopefully, the USA regime bans them so that they can work in China instead and help make China great.


Yibing Lau
As a Doctoral student … I would say if one day I go back to China it’s because my parents, because I’m the only kid in the family, or maybe because I can find a job that offer me enough money and benefit more than the one I can find in UK, or maybe because I really don’t think UK’s system really doesn’t fit me anymore. Chinese are very benefit effected or family effected, so this two factors are really top two in this issue.

作为一个博士生... 我会说,如果有一天我回到中国,那是因为我的父母,因为我是家里唯一的孩子,或者可能因为我可以找到一份工作,比我在英国找到的工作有更好的工资和福利,或者可能因为我觉得英国的制度真的不再适合我了。中国人很受利益或家庭的影响,所以这两个因素确实是这个问题的两个首要因素。

Xiaodong Peng Scientist, Data professional (1998-present)
In countries Chinese students study (mainly US), there is more and more pressure for policy makers to keep the job opportunities to their fellow citizens because high pay positions are more and more scarce, although the academic degree for domestic students may not be as high as international. In other words, Chinese students are harder and harder to find a job after graduation. They have no choice but to go back. If granted jobs easily, they intent to stay.

在中国学生留学的国家(主要是美国) ,政策制定者面临着越来越大的压力,因为高薪职位越来越稀缺,要求他们把工作机会留给自己的同胞,尽管(美国)国内学生的学位可能没有国际学生高。换句话说,中国学生毕业后找工作越来越难了。他们别无选择,只能回去。如果能轻易得到工作,他们就会打算留下来。

Robin Matthews lives in China (2005-present)
The general trend since about 2010 has been for Chinese grads / post-grads to head home post degree as the rich world has largely shut foreign grads out of their local employment markets.


James Otter BA (Social Science), MPhil (Applied Ethics), PhD
It would seem to indicate that the Chinese educational system is unable to meet their demands and they go elsewhere to qualify and return to China to exploit their skills.


Ivan Sabev, former Sr Project Coordinator
My guess is because there are more and higher paying opportunities in China.
Also because it’s more difficult for them to find work in the West due to work visa restrictions.


Vincent Chu former Physician
They are not American Born Chinese. They tend to go back to where they were born, and grew up. Hard to forget your own hometown.


James Peck, Automotive Technology
They are getting more opportunity there.


Wayne Yu Art of Med/Surgical Healing, Tech Innovator, Dad
Wide eyed graduates will go where the best opportunities are, especially after seeing the political chaos and discrimination against China and Chinese in their countries. With China ready to take over the country with the largest GDP and every growing global economic environment, returning to their home country is but a no-brainer. Even for the non-business graduates, elite Chinese universities are well funded with research dollars and spanking new equipments, they are perfect for career growths of those with the best abilities.