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China in the World
China’s Rich Kids Want to Stay in America

This week’s New Yorker has an in-depth article about the habits and preferences of wealthy Chinese students who have come to the West for school. The article explains how many young well-heeled Chinese no longer see the United States and Canada as merely places to spend a few years and study; many of them expect to stay and raise their children. Why don’t they want to go home?

Moneyed people leave China for various reasons. Some are worried about pollution. Others want to secure a good education for their children. Zhou Xueguang, a sociology professor at Stanford who received his bachelor’s degree in China, told me, “The competition in the Chinese school system is known to be brutal.” He went on, “There are only so many slots in good schools, and, at a certain level, it doesn’t matter how much money you have—you won’t be able to get in.” But, for affluent Chinese, the most basic reason to move abroad is that fortunes in China are precarious. The concerns go deeper than anxiety about the country’s slowing growth and turbulent stock market; it is very difficult to progress above a certain level in business without cultivating, and sometimes buying, the support of government officials, who are often ousted in anti-corruption sweeps instigated by rivals.

If those Chinese who have the means to choose where they live are deciding not to go back to China, that tells you something, not positive, about how appealing China is as a place to be right now. And wealthy Chinese expatriates aren’t just a bellwether for the present; they could spell trouble for the future as well. If China’s privileged young people don’t return to invest in their homeland, that won’t be good for country’s future, raising the specter of a downward spiral.

We’ve noted before that the Chinese government seems to worried about the loyalty of its citizens. Trends like this certainly won’t reassure the government. Read the whole thing.

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  • Blackbeard

    This has always been the killer app for the US: We accept and assimilate immigrants better than anyone and, as a result, the world’s best and brightest, or at least many of them, come here. Regrettably we risk losing this in the current wave of anti-immigrant hysteria. Trump is an obvious villain here but the left deserves blame too. By refusing to take illegal immigration seriously they too fueled the fire.

    • Pete

      What is coming in from Mexico and Syria is not the best-and-the-brightest.

      • Blackbeard

        Agreed, and that’s why I mentioned illegal immigration. But we shouldn’t let that problem blind us to the benefits of immigration overall.

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    • GS

      The Einsteins of this world are always welcome here. But Trump is not about the Einsteins, Blackbeard. And by the way, “China rich kids” are not Einsteins, either. If one is to judge by the civilizational compatibility, then I would take the Tiananmen tank man over any two hundred of them.

      • f1b0nacc1

        As I have a bit of direct personal experience with these ‘little princelings’, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • Jacksonian_Libertarian

      You are mistaking the desirability of becoming an American with the Undesirability of being a Chinese citizen. The Chinese aren’t just leaving China for America, but for anywhere “Not China”, and while they would prefer to be in the “Best of the West” America, the over ridding consideration for them is to Not be in China.
      China will never be competitive with the West, until it adopts those cultural ideals from the enlightenment that have given the West such an advantage. I’m speaking of Reason, Democracy, Truth, the Scientific Method, and above all the “Rule of Law” which protects the Life, Liberty, and Private Property which are necessary for the functioning of the Free Enterprise System. With the Free Enterprise System comes the “Feedback of Competition” which provides both the Information and Motivation that forces continuous improvements in Quality, Service, and Price in free markets.
      At the present time, China is hitting the wall as the foreign investors that uplifted China by building state of the art factories in China to take advantage of Cheap Chinese labor and potential 1 billion consumers, are desperately seeking an exit, as the $1+ Trillion loss of foreign currency from China in the last year demonstrates.
      Without Democracy’s limited “Feedback of Competition” (competition only for elected offices, not the bureaucracy) to put a lid on corruption, corruption in China is at least 100 times worse than that in America (The top 70 Chinese Officials have a networth of $100+ Billion, while the top 538 American Officials have a networth of <$3 Billion). And considering that American's consider the level of corruption in American Government to be appalling, that's really saying something about the level corruption in China.
      This of course was America's Strategy all along in opening up China, and luring them into the American Global Trading System. The pressure to get rid of the Communists and adopt Western Culture will now build to explosive levels. There is likely to be War and Revolution in China in the near future. And with China's history of bloody revolution, the members of the Communist Party are justly worried that they will all be hung from the lampposts.

      • Blackbeard

        With a Trump vs Sanders election potentially looming are you so certain our system is better?

        • GS

          If Trump wins, then yes.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I don’t care for Trump at all, but I would concede that a Trump victory (while undesirable for a whole host of reasons) certainly would indicate that America had not (yet) fallen completely to the vagaries of the political class….

  • Fat_Man

    The article was about Chinese kids in Canada, but the headline is good enough for government work.

  • Jim__L

    Whereas in this country, if you buy Hillary Clinton, you know she’ll stay bought!

    On the other hand, the probability that she’ll do something that could land her in prison is very high. And the probability that she’s already done so is very close to 1 in 1.

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