The Chinese mainland's 353 universities or other educational institutes enrolled 77,715 overseas students in 2003, a decline of 9.45 percent year-on-year due to the SARS epidemic, official said here Thursday.
Zhang Xinsheng, vice-minister of Education said at a press conference held in Beijing that of those students, 6,153 had scholarships from the Chinese government and 71,562 paid the fees themselves.
Nearly half of the students were from the Republic of Korea (ROK), the following major sources were Japan and the United States.
The overseas students were mainly scattered in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.
But due to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in the early half of last year, many foreign students left or changed schedule and the self-paid students reduced by 10.3 percent year-on-year, Zhang said.
Since China started receiving foreign students in 1950, sourcesof the students have increased to 170 countries worldwide, Zhang said.
(Xinhua News Agency March 18, 2004)