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International Students in China

Foreign students studying or intending to study in China can hope to enjoy a better campus environment, as the nation has pledged to further improve teaching and living conditions, sources from the Ministry of Education said Thursday.

The 356 colleges and universities that have been approved to take overseas students, will be given more freedom to recruit foreign students, according to the ministry's Department for International Cooperation.

Colleges and universities with adequate teaching conditions may teach students in both Chinese and the students' mother tongues. They can also cooperate with overseas education institutions to develop learning programmes for foreign students, said a representative of the department, who declined to be named.

Colleges and universities have been called on to improve their accommodation and other services for foreign students, said the representative.

The department unveiled the plan at an evening party hosted by foreign students, to embrace the new century last night.

The party, sponsored by the ministry and the Beijing Municipal Government in the Beijing Century Theatre, attracted 1,400 foreign students and 180 foreign diplomats.

Some 200 foreign students from 60 countries presented folk dances and songs in Chinese.

Since receiving its first group of 33 foreign students from Eastern Europe in 1950, China has accepted 350,000 students from 160 countries over the past 50 years.

Among those 350,000 students, more than 80,000 enjoy Chinese Government scholarships, while the remaining 270,000 are self-supported, the ministry's statistics indicated.

In recent years, the number of foreign students coming to China increased at an average rate of 30 percent a year.

Subjects chosen by foreign students have also diversified from the previous traditional Chinese culture to Friday's medicine, engineering, the sciences and agriculture.

More and more foreign students are studying here for higher-level academic degrees, such as doctorates and masters, instead of just short-term special training as in the past.

The ministry attributed the rise to China's rapid economic development over the past 20 years of reform and opening-up practices.

(China Daily 12/08/2000)

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