Foreign Policy: Cheng Li, Charlotte Yang on international students in the US and China

“As foreign students pick Chinese campuses over US ones, a critical element of America’s soft power is in danger of being eroded.”

So writes Cheng Li—Director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution (and former ICWA fellow in China, 1993-1995) and Charlotte Yang in a report on recent changes in international students’ university choices. China’s outreach to students from African and Asian countries, especially in developing regions, has been highly successful in the past couple years. At the same time, the United States has been slashing funding for the Fulbright and other programs, raising tuition prices and implementing isolationist policies that discourage international students from considering study in the country. That is enabling China to step up its cultural diplomacy. “Chinese policymakers are optimistic about the role education can play in promoting foreign relations,” they write.

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