Some time ago, AsiaWeek reported that a joint report by Harvard University, Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) showed that 1,400 Chinese scientists have returned to China. Many Chinese cheered at this news, but in fact, the opposite is true. China has lost far more top talent to the United States than back to China.
First of all, the definition of the so-called "Chinese scientist" above is uncertain. Chinese people are easy to understand, but what is a "scientist"? In the U.S., are middle - and high-end professionals who work in liberal arts such as finance, securities, and international politics considered as "scientists" just like those who work in science and engineering?
Secondly, according to the above statistics, "1,400 Chinese scientists have returned to China to develop themselves", but the number of middle and high-end Chinese talents going abroad is dozens or even hundreds of times that of returning to China.
Incomplete statistics show that there are at least 200,000 graduates from 39 985 universities in China, and most of them are science and engineering majors. Although few of them can become senior executives (CXO, VP, Owner and Partner) or well-known professors in universities, most of them are ordinary American engineers, even if they graduate from Tsinghua University and Peking University. But they still choose to stay in the United States as long as they can after graduation.
For example, statistics show that among Chinese AI researchers with doctorates in the US, 88 percent choose to stay and work in the US, while only 10 percent will return to China.
The most regrettable is of course the graduates of Tsinghua University. Tsinghua University was once known as the "American preparatory class". From 2013 to 2019, the number of graduates of Tsinghua University going abroad for further study fluctuated between 1000 and 1200 each year, and the number of graduates in 2013 was the largest at 1162.
In 2017, Shi Yigong, then president of Tsinghua University, lamented in a CCTV program, "It took me 12 years to train my first doctoral student. Now there are 2,251 undergraduates in this class, but 1,670 of them chose to go to the United States, and very few of them can excel."
This means that 74% of the graduates of that year's Tsinghua University chose to study in the United States, and most of them did not return home even if they did not do well in the United States.
So, the relevant US agencies make a fuss about just 1,400 Chinese scientists returning to China, but do not mention sending hundreds of thousands of graduates from China's best universities to the US, as if China should send high-end talents to the US.
In fact, the idolatry of the US among Chinese college graduates should stop.
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