Figures released by the Chinese government departments have shown that China is becoming one of the world's most popular education and employment destinations.
Statistics released by the Ministry of Education showed that in 2005, 141,000 overseas students came to China to study, up 27.28 percent from the previous year, with 86,679 studying Mandarin (Putonghua).
"The year 2005 saw China attracting the largest number of overseas students since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, thanks to the country's stable political environment, rapid economic growth and growing international influence," said Zhang Xiuqin, secretary-general of the China Scholarship Council.
Hong Changwoo, a South Korean student at the Beijing Language and Culture University, told Xinhua that a large number of young people in South Korea are keen on studying Mandarin because more and more companies require their employees to be able to speak Chinese.
Zhang said the residential environment, quality of education, and medical and social insurance provided by Chinese institutes of higher learning for overseas students were of international standards. Meanwhile, tuition fees for overseas students are much lower than in most other countries.
Statistics from the Ministry of Education showed that from 1950 to 2005, China received a total of 884,315 overseas students.
But Zhang acknowledged that problems still exist. For example, the Chinese government has approved in principle overseas students applying for part-time jobs in China but there are no regulations on how many hours an overseas student can work a day or which vocations or industries are open to overseas students.
Meanwhile, statistics from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security showed that by the end of 2005, more than 150,000 overseas employees had applied for work in China; 70 percent were employed by foreign-invested companies, and a large number of them were from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the United States and several European countries.
(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2006)