Top 10 overseas study waves in Chinese history

By Zhang Junmian
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 24, 2011
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   Tenth Wave (1978-present) 第十次留学热


 Key Words: 1978, Reform and Opening-up, largest-scale study-abroad movement

Major Destinations: More than 100 countries and regions, including the U.S., Japan, Canada, the U.K., Germany, Australia, France and Russia.

During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), study abroad programs essentially came to a halt. After the end of this turbulent period, in 1978, Deng Xiaoping, the father of China's ongoing reform and opening-up, made the important decision to send a great number of Chinese students and scholars to study abroad. This ushered in the largest-scale study-abroad movement in China in history, which has continued to the present day.

The total number of Chinese nationals studying overseas surged from only 130,000 between 1872 and 1978 to about 1.9 million between 1978 and 2010. Since 1978, more than 632,000 have returned home to aid the country's development. In 2010, more than 284,000 pupils left China for further studies, and about 135,000 came home. Since 2002, China's rapid development has attracted an increasingly large number of elite talents back home. With the ideas, knowledge and expertise they brought home, the Chinese returnees have played a leading role in various important fields such as science and technology innovation, university administration, international trade, banking and finance.

These Chinese returnees include many entrepreneurial and business elites, such as Robin Li, co-founder of China's most popular search engine Baidu; Wang Zhidong, Sina's founder, former CEO and president; Charles Zhang, chairman and current CEO of; Deng Zhonghan, co-founder of China's largest multimedia semiconductor technology company-Vimicro Corporation; and Zhou Yunfan, co-founder of China's largest online alumni club ChinaRen. 

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