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China Luring Scientists Back Home

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the ooo-a-piece-of-candy dept.

Education 292

blee37 writes "The NY Times reports that China is increasing incentives for Chinese students earning PhDs in the US to return home. One example is a prestigious Princeton microbiologist who returned to become a dean at Tsinghua, the Chinese MIT. In my experience as a grad student, Chinese students were often torn about returning home. The best science and the most intellectually stimulating jobs are in the US. Yet, surely they miss their families and their hometown. As alluded in the article, Chinese science remains far behind, especially because of rampant cronyism in academia as well as government. But, if more Chinese students go back, it could damage the US's technology lead. A large percentage of PhD students in the US are from China. Also, the typical PhD student has their tuition paid for and receives a salary. Does it make sense to invest in their training if they will do their major work elsewhere?"

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292 comments

probably still makes sense (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705356)

Especially in the lab sciences, you're not paying that PhD student's meagre stipend out of altruism, hoping that they'll one day blossom into a lovely scientist. You're paying it because you need people to do the research: the professor is more of a manager of a large-ish lab so unable to do it him/herself, and hiring actual research scientists on the open market would cost a lot more than $20-25k, and they would expect more reasonable working hours. Considering the proportion of the work that actually gets done by grad students, it's a bargain.

Re:probably still makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705386)

but the assumption is usually that they stick around for a while. brain drain sucks.

Re:probably still makes sense (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705674)

chinks, come back home we got some sushi for you, you slant eyed motherfuckers!

nigger jokes are so much easier. it's hard to make fun of a group that believes in education, has discipline, values hard work, and generally doesn't cause trouble or bother anybody. sorry, chink and slant eyed is the best i could do. now if asians suddenly started having a bunch of bastard kids, stopped trying to speak good english, and taught their youth that being a thug is a worthy goal in life, then they'd be easy to laugh at.

Re:probably still makes sense (5, Insightful)

Tycho (11893) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705914)

Brain drain sucks even worse for the people who live in the country the person receiving a PhD emigrated from. For instance, there are more doctors in the born in Ethiopia living in just the Washington, DC area than there are doctors in the entire country of Ethiopia. How does a country recover from such a tremendous brain drain and address major social ills like rampant poverty, famine, and endemic corruption when the very people who might be best able to assist with their own experience and knowledge do not return to their native country because there is nothing to return to and no reasonable job prospects? Why must the US retain as many of their foreign born individuals who received their PhD in the US, when under the right conditions these PhD holders could help their own country far more than any kind of work they do in the US? I'm not suggesting we force these people to return or even expect them to return, especially when there is nothing to return to. But then again I see nothing wrong with ti US offering grants and other forms of aid to underdeveloped countries so that they can improve their situation with respect to development and improve the local economy. This would come with the explicit expectation that these governments spend the money wisely, and steps are taken so that as little money as possible is wasted by corruption.

Re:probably still makes sense (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30706010)

> How does a country recover from such a tremendous brain drain

It's not correct to call that a brain drain from Ethiopia if that country doesn't build any brains itself. These brains are build by the US in the US. They are drained from nowhere.

If certain countries, especially muslim one's, would leave behind their cultural backwardness (trying to violently live Qur'an like 1400 years ago - stupid backwardness !) instead of killing christians or other other-faith-people, students would have real incentives to return to such countries.
So these countries get what they act.

Re:probably still makes sense (5, Insightful)

rve (4436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706020)

> How does a country recover from such a tremendous brain drain

It's not correct to call that a brain drain from Ethiopia if that country doesn't build any brains itself. These brains are build by the US in the US. They are drained from nowhere.

If certain countries, especially muslim one's, would leave behind their cultural backwardness (trying to violently live Qur'an like 1400 years ago - stupid backwardness !) instead of killing christians or other other-faith-people, students would have real incentives to return to such countries.
So these countries get what they act.

Ethiopia is a mostly christian country though

Re:probably still makes sense (1)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706130)

This would come with the explicit expectation that these governments spend the money wisely, and steps are taken so that as little money as possible is wasted by corruption.

Good luck with that.

Re:probably still makes sense (1)

ShiftyOne (1594705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705444)

This is pretty accurate. Grad students in the sciences aren't making lavish salaries, they are making stipends to pay for their schooling and living expensive. They do most of the work while the professors gives advice and manages. You can pay around eight graduate students for the salary of one professor, which is not bad at all.

Re:probably still makes sense (1)

minorproblem (891991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705452)

Agreed, PdD students are not paid it is not an investment. They basically work for free and are given a small weekly allowance so that they can afford coffee, carbs and accommodation... Think how much money American universities have made off the research of their PhD students.

Re:probably still makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705864)

Coffee, carbs and 'commodation

Re:probably still makes sense (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705544)

This is true from the professors' and universities' POV, but not necessarily from the US government's. Grad student stipends in the sciences are often tied to grants from the NIH, NSF, etc., and that is very definitely seen as an investment: training the next generation of American scientists and engineers. If the government thinks it's not going to see some ROI, this may change, and the fallout could affect students from the US as well.

Re:probably still makes sense (1)

ShiftyOne (1594705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705608)

Lets be honest, the people receiving these stipends are making at most $40,000 a year. If they were to go out and get a job, their starting salaries would be $60,000 or if they already have a masters, upwards of $100,000. They also have to produce results are they can get their money taken away or not get their degree. At best I would call this cheap labor. Also, I know DoD grants have required service at a lab after they graduate, that could become the norm for other grants as well.

Re:probably still makes sense (5, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705724)

If the US as a whole isn't providing a sufficient incentive for these students to remain here and China is, then I'd say that the problem is mostly our doing. Give them a good reason to stay and they most likely will, treat them like crap and they'll leave.

Re:probably still makes sense (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705736)

They get a lot of their ROI in direct research, though, not just in the nebulous future-production-of-engineers. If an NSF grant spends $200,000 paying the stipends+tuition of 5 students, and those 5 students end up producing a few journal articles, and once in a while those sets of journal articles include important results, he NSF's gotten its $200,000 worth.

Re:probably still makes sense (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706074)

Do they publish though? One of the endemic problems with Chinese students is that many of them can't communicate in English worth a damn, to the extent that they pay people to sit communication entrance exams for them.

Re:probably still makes sense (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30706116)

The best science and the most intellectually stimulating jobs are in the US

The US is in terminal decline, bankrupt at the whim of China. In the near future, the best science will be in China, as that is where the real money is.

Unsuitable for Socialists (0, Troll)

Sigvatr (1207234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705358)

This topic has been censored by the Chinese Communist Party.

Simple question...simple answer. (5, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705368)

> "Does it make sense to invest in their training if they will do their major work elsewhere?"

What goes around comes around.

Grad students don't have to reside in North America to do good....get over it.

Re:Simple question...simple answer. (1)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705390)

given the less-than-open nature of.... well, everything in china, it isn't as simple as that.

Re:Simple question...simple answer. (4, Insightful)

HybridJeff (717521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705622)

On the other hand, sending back western educated scientists and engineers to China can't help but better relations between the east and the west. People accustomed to western culture who have move back to China to fill high paying positions in Chinese academia and industry are much more likely to think well of the west than those who were fully brought up, raised, and educated under the Communist Party of China. (Not to say that relations between China and the west are bad at the moment, they're probably near as good as they ever have been at the moment).

Re:Simple question...simple answer. (1)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705656)

true, but still leaves the problem of brain drain. what do you we do about the immediate issue of spending resources on people and not recouping them except in long-term political/social ways.

Re:Simple question...simple answer. (3, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705814)

Simple. Give them a good reason to stay. The fact that so many are choosing to return to China is strongly indicative that the US has done something very very wrong in terms of making these students want to remain here. If we want to stay in the lead in terms of scientific research we'd better find a way to up the Chinese government's ante or else we risk getting pwned.

Re:Simple question...simple answer. (2, Insightful)

slawekk (919270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705946)

It's not necessarily something "very wrong" that USA did, it's just that China is catching up and the reasons for leaving the family, adjusting to a different culture and starting from close to zero in America are disappearing. This will accelerate in the future, especially when the realization that the US is a bankrupt country sinks in (heard that laughter when Geithner told Chinese students that dollar assets are safe?).

Re:Simple question...simple answer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30706072)

Right, because Western educated Muslims never go back to their countries resenting America or Britain!

Re:Simple question...simple answer. (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705648)

When the scientists publish their results, those results will be out there just as much as if the scientists had stayed here.

Re:Simple question...simple answer. (3, Informative)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705812)

Grad students don't have to reside in North America to do good....get over it.

It has nothing to do with their education and everything to do with taxpayers money being used (in the form of grants) to pay for that education. But apparently you're just one of the many billions who think that the US exists solely to be the global sugar daddy.

Re:Simple question...simple answer. (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705976)

the US exists solely to be the global sugar daddy.

It's kinda implied by the US itself, with the amount of influence it wants to have in the world.

Re:Simple question...simple answer. (4, Insightful)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706088)

I agree. The original poster expresses bad-manager sentiment; if I train my employees, they might get so good that they'll leave for greener pastures. If the work is good and the work environment friendly, people are more likely to stick around. If you make them feel like their own boss is their worst enemy, then don't be too surprised if your employees start leaving in droves. Train the people you hire; nobody said life had any guarantees, and the best-case scenario is that your own employees learn more and perform better.

Fixed the story for you (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705408)

The NY Times reports that China is increasing incentives for Chinese students earning PhDs in the US to return home along with all of the technology they acquired at working at American companies.

Re:Fixed the story for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705706)

first, not technology acquired but experience gained, which is much more important
second, they are totally in their right in doing so

what you gonna do without chineese brains to work on various problems, yankee? cry? ^_^

Re:Fixed the story for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705870)

"first, not technology acquired"

The frequent cases of chinese interns stealing technology and conducting industrial espionage beg to differ.

Not that the US would be much better morality-wise, they are just more high-tech in that field. Peoples' reactions differ though. If the US does it, it's "Yea yea old news, everybody knows.". If the Chinese do it, the PC folks and pro-China groups start crying "Oh noez, it's teh discrimination!".

Re:Fixed the story for you (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705764)

So...once someone works for an American company, it becomes unethical for them to work in any other country is it? Self pity much?

Re:Fixed the story for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705990)

There are two assumptions in your sentence that could be discussed:
- American companies => Given than executives in major companies are more that often not Wasp but global leaders with often parents with cultural background in other countries than US, I wonder what is an American company.
- Second: If US have enough American PhD why does America lures Chinese students to study home?

I think it would have more economic sense to ask for local education and local employment. But no high profile student is supposed to live its life in the same community where he was student. Part of high education is to understand the complexity of our world and accept to be challenged.

Same questions are being asked in Sweden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705428)

But what is the alternative? Leave PhD positions unfilled? Not enough native Swedes are interested in a PhD anyway. And when someone does stay, you win: no costs for moving that person from kindergarten to an MSc.

I think the worse problem is the other way around (5, Insightful)

clong83 (1468431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705440)

I've always thought that if they want to go home afterwards, let them. If it becomes a large scale trend that nobody Chinese (or any other particular nationality) wants to stay afterwards, then people may just stop hiring as many. In general until that point, it's still worth it to fund their education just for the work they do as a grad student, and the likely work they will do in the US afterwards, even if a few end up going home and working and contributing heavily in another economy.

Here's where I think the main problem actually is: We actually send home some who do want to stay. And that is a true wasted opportunity. I've met a couple of very smart people in my days as a grad student that were sent home even though they wanted to stay. Visa expired, couldn't find a job in time or some other such nonsense. If you have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, you are not likely to be a drag on society, even if you don't wind up employed in your first six months out. And now they are in China, Germany, India, or Mexico, working and contributing in those economies and using all the tools and education they got courtesy of Uncle Sam.

We should make it easier for them. And yes, I have real people in mind that I am typing about.

Re:I think the worse problem is the other way arou (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705598)

How many people who want to stay does China send home every year? There were a lot of longtime expats kicked out due to the visa tightening following the Olympics. And yes, I have real people in mind that I am typing about.

Does the USA really need more overly educated unemployed hanging around waiting tables?

Re:I think the worse problem is the other way arou (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705650)

Here's where I think the main problem actually is: We actually send home some who do want to stay.

I absolutely agree. The NSF, DARPA, NIH, etc.. have paid for the education of many a foreign grad student, only to have them booted out of the country after they finish their degree. (A lot of them end up moving to Canada.)

Some of the grad students I knew had to do some crazy things like leave the country periodically, and then apply to get let back in, just because that's what the bureaucracy required.

The F-1 Process Explained [phdcomics.com]

Re:I think the worse problem is the other way arou (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705722)

In general until that point, it's still worth it to fund their education just for the work they do as a grad student, and the likely work they will do in the US afterwards, even if a few end up going home and working and contributing heavily in another economy.

Speaking as a grad student, it's not like we're paid that much, less than unemployment on average apparently. [phdcomics.com] Cheaper in many cases than hiring a non-grad student to do the same work. The lab gets cheap labor, and the student gets an education. Even if those students don't stay, I expect it adds up to a net benefit for us.

Re:I think the worse problem is the other way arou (3, Interesting)

Raisey-raison (850922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705770)

I think the whole situation is ironic. Quite often when I hear stories about immigrants with degrees getting jobs in the USA, people go ballistic about how they are stealing Americans' jobs and depressing wages.

When they go back to their home country, people then complain about a brain drain and about how they should make a 'contribution' to the country that educated them (never mind that they paid highly inflated tuition and quite often even their graduate education was paid for by moneys outside of the USA + grad students essentially work for $10 an hour - slave wages).

So they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Re:I think the worse problem is the other way arou (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705908)

Yes, there's a simple, simple way to address this problem. If a foreigner PhD recipient wants to stay in the US and find a job, then for heaven's sake let them. They're not going to end up competing with any jobs average Americans are interested in anyway. What's the use of making them leave and then contemplating the consequences of a brain drain?

Re:I think the worse problem is the other way arou (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705956)

Yeah, most people that I know from China stay to get a Ph.D. because they don't want to go back home... but at the same time they can't get a visa/green card to stay here.

The Worm Turns (4, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705446)

The US has been profiting from the "Brain Drain" for the best part of a hundred years. Now, finally, the countries from whom they've been recruiting the best and brightest have some solid reasons to go home after enjoying the benefits of a US postgraduate education (which often was paid for by the other country at a rate two or three times that charged to US students). Meanwhile, undergraduate, secondary and primary education in the US has been degraded by underfunding to the point where fewer and fewer Americans are able to take advantage of the superb post-grad opportunities.

Re:The Worm Turns (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705508)

When I was in college most American kids were having the time of their lives. Parties, sex, drugs, frats. All the foreign or new citizen kids were in the library and filling the halls of the engineering / computer science dept. Years of that are catching up and all most Americans can do is blame everything on money or not enough government services. How do you think that Vietnamese kid whose family immigrated to the US was able to afford his Master/PHD. He actually worked for it.

Re:The Worm Turns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705588)

The Vietnamese kid is an American too.

Re:The Worm Turns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705624)

A US passport holder is not necessarily culturally American. You're confusing with nationality. Nationality is nothing more than a passport. A lot of elite, educated people these days look down on nationalism and refer to their birth nation as "my passport country". They are citizens of the world. The Vietnamese kid might have a US passport but he's only American if he considers himself so.

Re:The Worm Turns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705982)

What is culturally American?

Re:The Worm Turns (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705646)

The US has been profiting from the "Brain Drain" for the best part of a hundred years. Now, finally, the countries from whom they've been recruiting the best and brightest have some solid reasons to go home after enjoying the benefits of a US postgraduate education (which often was paid for by the other country at a rate two or three times that charged to US students).

My thoughts exactly.

Hell, in Russia, degree and beyond is actually free (if you're good enough, anyway), and then people turn around and immigrate... a lot of folk are quite bitter about it all.

And in this case, those Chinese students have likely paid a lot of money (more than an American would) to study in U.S., and not all of them go for post-grad. I would be very much surprised if it's a net loss even if all post-grads leave.

Re:The Worm Turns (3, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705682)

I'm really getting tired of the "underfunded" argument as to why schools are failing in the US. Seriously?

Public funding has increased steadily, at a rate faster than inflation. This is not just nationally, but also at the local level through property taxes.

Also, the funding argument is easily dissuaded simply by pointing out counter-examples: there are many, many private schools which are able to educate students to superior levels in all of the basics. We're talking half as much funding and less.

The cause for government school failure in the US is not due to a lack of funding. That's an excuse, and pushes the blame from the cause. The cause is that they're government schools, with strict top-down models they must adhere to, and do not take the individual student in mind. Schools have to do well on standardized tests, yadda yadda. It's all a huge drain to actual education, and has been so, progressively for over 60 years now.

Re:The Worm Turns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705926)

Not that the top-down model is that great, but spending per student numbers are hugely skewed upward in recent years by special ed, which private schools simply don't have to deal with. A complete individual lesson plan, a full-time medically or psychologically qualified minder, and (often) lessons in a class size of five or six can easily make 10% sped students in an average grade cost just as much as the 90% "normal" peers--and it's far easier to have 90% of the books or drop 1 out of 10 arts than it is to have someone flinging their poo or in imminent danger of choking on their tongue forty minutes of every school day.

Re:The Worm Turns (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706042)

Those school systems which are functioning good throughout the world are very much "government" ones too, so you might let go that socialism phobia. Something went a bit more wrong with your implementation along the way.

One could even argue that what you're describing is, essentially, applying corporate ethics to the way education is performed ;p

Re:The Worm Turns (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706056)

Yup. It's a shame we ran out of Nazis to help with the space program though.

I predict a boom in Chinese research. (3, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705472)

From what I have observed in the field that I study (quantum optics), there has been a rapid increase in the number and quality of publications from Chinese institutes. For the moment, they tend to lag behind the labs in more developed economies, filling out the body of information in the field rather than pioneering new techniques. Nonetheless, the research is usually very sound and many institutes are catching up very quickly.

The students from China tend to be very talented and are willing to work extremely hard. As the quality of equipment and infrastructure improves in the Chinese labs and the opportunities there rival the more mature labs the Chinese students will have no problem returning or staying to do doctoral work. I imagine that the situation is similar in other fields and I'm sure that there will soon be an explosion of quality research coming from China.

Re:I predict a boom in Chinese research. (2, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705516)

the chinese don't tend to be terribly inventive is their problem. from what i've seen, they tend to suffer a cultural thing "it's been done this way for 1000 years, it's how we will continue". what they are good at is taking an idea and doing it for 1/10th the price and in 1/2 the time.

as their exposure to the west increases this will change i'm sure, but for now most of the innovatino is still going to come from the USA and other western countries.

Re:I predict a boom in Chinese research. (3, Insightful)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705652)

The thing that concerns me is that "but for now" part.

If the U.S. doesn't get its collective head out of its ass and start not only teaching math and science again, but actually respecting (and even honoring) the fields, then we're going to be the world's foremost service people. We've got too many kids going to college just for the "piece of paper" that valuable resources are being wasted. It's well past time for parents to accept that a college degree isn't an automatic job guarantee, and start directing their kids into some trade schools. A journeyman plumber takes more money home than a Liberal Arts grad flipping burgers.

Re:I predict a boom in Chinese research. (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705964)

There is something positive to be said for a well educated populace mind you...

Re:I predict a boom in Chinese research. (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705676)

Ah - you mean, like the Japanese from the 60s and 70s? By that logic, we should see a CNOOC sign on top of Rockefeller Plaza by 2020.

Re:I predict a boom in Chinese research. (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706062)

Large part of our world is built on Chinese ingenuity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_inventions [wikipedia.org]

So I'm not sure what you are saying. The period of stagnation China had for some time relatively recently was an exception in their history. Not without destructive influence of the West, too.

Re:I predict a boom in Chinese research. (5, Interesting)

15Bit (940730) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705550)

My experience echoes this - i review for a number of materials science journals and i've noticed a steady increase in the quality of work coming from the chinese universities. Its becoming well written (in english, which is not easy for them i think) and increasingly relevant. I would predict that before long they will need us less than we need them. The only case of blatant cheating (copying and pasting "nano particles" all over a SEM picture) came from india, not china.

still some issues for china's progress (5, Interesting)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705476)

I lived in China for one year teaching high school students and one thing I noticed in general while students were brilliant at chemistry, maths, physics, etc. when solving text book problems, many seemed to be struggling with coming up with new concepts, and in some cases applying what they learnt into new areas. Many struggled when told 'I want x as the end result' without any explanation of the process to achieve the end result. It seems most of the science study was just pure memorizing of facts and figures. I found the same later on when managing some staff from Asia, although very dedicated and hard working they required additional guidance on what processes to use to achieve a goal. There seemed to be a strong sense of 'copy wherever possible' (why re-create it, if somebody already has?) My students had to do 'school', 'city', and 'provincial exams' The complained the provincial exams 'didn't allow copying' Another instance of this was when a foreign professor in Chinese university was fired when failing students for work that had obviously been copied from another source. I think US / Europe still had lead on creativity which can be an important factor when coming up with new solutions / ideas. Not to say the Chinese can't, and it will be interesting to see how they go, but I don't think the number of PhD's alone will decide whether US or China has technology lead. It will also depend on how much further China restricts internet access as the number of internet sites being blocked continues to increase, it certainly frustrates me that even though I have a large network of friends in China working in technology social networking / YouTube continues to be blocked there, and alternatives to access these sites such as proxies / VPN are illegal - and often if detected are blocked. For my friends in China who have studied overseas and since moved back to China they are constantly complaining about fact sites like facebook,twitter, youtube no longer work.

Re:still some issues for china's progress (2, Insightful)

plasticsquirrel (637166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705658)

This is very common in other countries as well. I'd venture to guess that it is the most common method in developing countries. I discussed this once with Uzbek and Nepalese students who couldn't understand why other students were bothered when they wanted to copy answers from them. I mentioned that the other person had to do work to study the material and learn it, but they wouldn't have any of that. I was really taken aback by the attitude and by the lack of basic educational spirit reflected in it. "Why learn anything, when you can just copy from someone else?"

In China, I also see that many students just memorize English sentences and regurgitate them like robots to get a good grade. This is not just a bad teaching habit here, but rather the standard way of teaching. Give students a dialogue and then have them regurgitate it later. "If they can pronounce everything correctly, they must know what it all means."

The U.S. has many problems, but I think two good things we have are a sense of educational honesty, and good sensibilities about fairness and loyalty. I still believe we are generally good-natured and honest people, but our culture is often naive, and this hurts us (and others) in many ways.

Re:still some issues for china's progress (2, Interesting)

Krahar (1655029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705710)

I've been noticing this reliance on rote memorization in everything I've done that comes from Asia. E.g., if you read a Chess book, you will be given examples with explanations and a lot of text. If you read a Go book (a game from China), you will be given absolutely no explanation of any kind, and you are expected to pick up the concepts yourself from being presented with a large amount of examples that aren't explained - the concepts aren't even named. These books literally have no text in them, just images of Go boards. This is the wax-on-wax-off philosophy at work - do not question why you are being set a task, simply do it and trust that your better's have a good reason for having you do it. I saw a documentary where Chinese people were expected to learn English by repeating given sentences over and over until they could do so extremely quickly. Then they had to keep at it until they could say them backwards!

Re:still some issues for china's progress (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705740)

It's not just in China. It's in our classrooms. I recently went back to school for a degree in CS and--I know this is going to sound a little bad--but a certain foreign students would ask me to just send them the code for a certain problem we were all working on.

And if you frequent places like the OpenCV forum it is very common to see a post that says words to the effect of "I'm trying to do X. Send me some code." It's definitely off-putting. I love collaboration and discussion, but just being somebody's homework lackey doesn't do it for me.

Re:still some issues for china's progress (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706086)

...I don't think the number of PhD's alone will decide whether US or China has technology lead...

It will certainly help Chinese if PhD's brought up in place targeting creativity will start to shape their educational system.

intellagence gathering.. (1)

iccaros (811041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705524)

Plan, Send out students to US, or allies. students go to schools that have large DoD funding for projects. Score students who learn, are smart and know what the DoD is researching.

Re:intellagence gathering.. (2, Informative)

ShiftyOne (1594705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705632)

Good idea, but the DoD realizes this. They don't allow foreign nationals clearance to work on their top secret projects.

Re:intellagence gathering.. (2)

iccaros (811041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705804)

a lot of top secret projects are not so until they go from research to production. sounds stupid but I know of a few, the people working on them do not know they are for a DoD customer. But if you really look at what they are doing.. While the US does have policy not allowing foreign nationals to work on SCI projects.. TS, no problem. just have to have a clean nose. Let alone secret or unclass but sensitive. http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20050519_1.htm [zonaeuropa.com]

Threats? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705552)

I've heard that it's less about wanting to stay in the US, and more about the Chinese government threatening the families of the scientists if they don't come back.

Re:Threats? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705582)

Did you hear this from Glenn Beck?

Re:Threats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705612)

Oh you've "heard", have you? Well, that's good enough for me! Send in the peacekeepers, launch the missiles!

Seriously though, don't be an ass. They may well be threatening scientists' families, but until we have conclusive proof one way or another, saying that "you've heard" is ill-considered rumour-milling at best and deliberate manipulation at worst. The moderator who gave you +1 Interesting is either a complete idiot, or far more likely, a bastard with an axe to grind.

What inducement would it take? (2, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705558)

What incentive could they offer for scientists who crave discovery and publication to go and live behind the Great Firewall? They must be sellng it hard.

Re:What inducement would it take? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705586)

I don't know what they're offering, but they certainly have plenty of things they can offer. Cash usually works wonders. I'd be willing to go live in China, by their rules, for double my US market value.

Re:What inducement would it take? (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706008)

Oh, a chinese colleague of mine told me that the one thing he misses most from China is the food! So keep the "chinese" food in foreign countries at a shitty level, and they'll be sure to return one day..

Nothing's gonna change ... for a long while (1)

who could (1716950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705584)

The moment you say research is underfunded, you imply that there are more applicants than positions. This means that if some of the positions are vacated, they will surely be filled before long. There are other reasons why nothing will change for a while. 1. The repatriates will raise the global bar of education quality 2. vacant research positions will drive other deserving students to fill them, i.e. people who just barely lost the admission will get a chance 3. there are countries other than China and India that have potential students In fact, US has the least of worries. Australia is facing the real shit, what with Indian students shunning the outback option because of the recent racist attacks.

We are asking the same in India (2, Insightful)

Rsriram (51832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705594)

India invests a lot of money in training grad students in the prestigious IITs (premier engineering colleges in India). 50% plus students travel to US, do their MS/PhD and work in the US and become US citizens eventually. We call this "brain drain" in India. We will be glad if the "reverse brain drain" helps us regain some of the losses.

As a leader, it is the responsibility of a country like US to help everyone grow. If the US does not demonstrate leadership traits, someone else will. Leadership is not simply about more money/resources/power. It is about being a "leader" and behaving like one.

Re:We are asking the same in India (5, Insightful)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705670)

Better than fussing at the U.S. that these students are choosing to stay here, better you should be asking why they don't want to go back. Caste system? Social stratification? Old-boy network? Nepotism? What does the U.S. do/have that India doesn't?

Re:We are asking the same in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30706066)

US has space. The population density of India is more than 10 times greater than the US.

Re:We are asking the same in India (4, Insightful)

AardvarkCelery (600124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705738)

As a leader, it is the responsibility of a country like US to help everyone grow. If the US does not demonstrate leadership traits, someone else will. Leadership is not simply about more money/resources/power. It is about being a "leader" and behaving like one.

Hogwash. China and India are directly competing with the United States on several levels. China builds weapons specifically targeted at the United States. Frequently, the weapons are based on stolen US technology.

What logic says we have to help our competitors grow???

(Granted, our relationship with India is far simpler and more cordial than our awkward tie-up with China, but there's still enough competition in some areas to take notice.)

Re:We are asking the same in India (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706100)

Interesting how you portrait it as competition...which kinda implies you're not completely looking at yourself as the position of leadership.

Anyway, look up list of Chinese inventions on Wikipedia. We stole quite a bit from them, too.

Re:We are asking the same in India (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30706108)

As a leader, it is the responsibility of a country like US to help everyone grow. If the US does not demonstrate leadership traits, someone else will.

Right, because if anything, history is flush with leading powers failing due to their refusal to help their rivals!

Get out of the clouds and pick up a history book- global politics and commerce were never driven by The Golden Rule. It's as ruthless a race as any.

summary is economically confused (5, Insightful)

philgross (23409) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705606)

The summary makes it sounds like the US is doing a favor and donating generously to the rest of the world by funding foreign PhDs. A more accurate description would be that we taking the extreme cream of the crop, educated at great expense in other countries, and then luring them to the United States, where they further strengthen our already best-in-the-world universities, and the great majority stay permanently. The article describes a slight moderation in this trend, with a few more scholars choosing to return (although also describing the obstacles they face when they do).

The overall benefits of this system continue to be overwhelmingly in the favor of the United States. Even those who do return to their home countries go back with a much deeper understanding of the US, not to mention greater English fluency.

The restrictions on foreign students in the aftermath of 9/11 stood out among the other security-theater policies for their active harmfulness.

they go home - Because there is no Visas to stay (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705614)

I know from personal experience that it has become increasingly difficult to stay in the US (or Immigrate) since the late 90es.

At this time, even highly skilled individuals with several post graduate degrees have no chance to get a Visa and move to the US.

Unless a student was lucky and managed to marry a US citizen during their school time, they have NO OTHER CHOICE than to leave the US once their student visa expires, and they cannot get a work (H1) visa in time.

Supposedly this is all for your own good, to protect the country and the domestic job market.

well, duh (0, Flamebait)

inflamed (1156277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705626)

It's a big temptation to go back to China because job opportunities for PhDs are few and far between - and it's getting worse. On the other hand, the standard of living in China is always rising and they ALWAYS employ their best and brightest with good jobs. Meritocracy vs Plutocracy Diggit?

yes it does make sens to pay for others' education (1, Troll)

LosManos (538072) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705660)

Yes it does make sense to pay for others' education. I would go so far as to say it is our duty, where "our" is us in the rich countries, to help the world.

- or if you are cheaper think of it like this -

Say someone gets educated in a country and learns a bit about the language and culture and gets some friends. Then this said person returns to country of birth and starts a business with some international connections. It is then plausible that the place of known culture and language and where friends reside is a more likely country to trade and work with.

It doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705662)

There are way more Phds than jobs for them in this country.

Green card (5, Insightful)

seifried (12921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705696)

Seriously. Anyone earning a bachelors (let alone a masters or a PhD) in a "hard" science or a list of accepted majors (CS, EE/ME/etc.) should have a green card stapled to their diploma at their commencement ceremony. Perhaps for Masters you get to bring your significant other over and for a PhD you get up to 5 additional family members (mom+dad and any siblings/brother/sister in law with no criminal record), whatever, if you're going to lure the best and brightest, train them, etc, you should bloody well hang on to them (it's just common sense!). This from a Canadian no less (personally I think we should give automatic landed immigrant status to anyone that speaks English or French, has no criminal record and has a 4 year degree in anything remotely useful). Our countries are founded on immigration, this seems like a no-brainer to me!

Re:Green card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705854)

+1 could not agree more.

The post 9/11 US immigration policy is partly to blame for the lack of innovation in their country.

At this point, when it takes 8+yrs of humiliation to even get a "temporary" "permanent" residency visa - many people just say "no, thanks".

Re:Green card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30706076)

I second "couldn't agree more". It took me 14 years to get my green card. Then I looked at it and asked myself - do I really want to get old in the US? I live in my passport country now and my only regret is that I didn't say "no, thanks" earlier. If the US wants to delay the reverse brain drain (which is inevitable in long term) it should stop sending home people who do want to stay. Or making them jump through hoops and wait until they don't care.

Re:Green card (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706028)

"This from a Canadian no less (personally I think we should give automatic landed immigrant status to anyone that speaks English or French, has no criminal record and has a 4 year degree in anything remotely useful). Our countries are founded on immigration, this seems like a no-brainer to me!"

Canadian here as well and I 100% agree with your whole post. :D My GF is from the US has a 4 year degree from a good school, finished near the top of her class and is getting a teacher's degree. That her immigration status is questionable is quite ridiculous. She also learned some basic french and took Canadian history... Essentially the way it is set up is that you can't move here until you get offered a job... And the employer must state that no suitable Canadian could be found, and they must promise to keep you for a certain time period. Getting that in today's economy is nigh impossible.

It's the economics...dude (1)

GSGKT (1140125) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705718)

Smart and motivated people is in limited supply, so nations would complete for them. No graduate students, or postdocs, have ever got rich from their stipends while perform research in the US. Otherwise more American youth would want to work in university laboratories instead of the Wall Street. China is doing everything to bring their best talents home, because they also have invested a lot of resources on them. It still a sound investment for the US to attract the best talents from anywhere in the world to be educated and perform research here. If just the top 10% of these people decide to stay in this country, then everyone benefits from that. Furthermore, it is easier to find and recruit the best talents and for them want to stay, if they are educated here...most be the koolaid you find in the cafeteria.

Re:It's the economics...dude (1)

seifried (12921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705852)

"Smart and motivated people is in limited supply, so nations would complete for them." Apparently English majors are not in demand.

Re:It's the economics...dude (1)

GSGKT (1140125) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705888)

Sorry, I mean to "compete".

(+) infuluence of USA students on China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705750)

Why dont any of you think like this?

Educated Chinesee people who spent their youth in USA can make a positive difference from POV of USA in China. I mean those phd guys can become good infuluences on China regarding USA~China relations. Next time someone calls "capitilist pig", they may say "no, you are wrong. I was there"

Re:(+) infuluence of USA students on China (2, Insightful)

slawekk (919270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706110)

I don't think you ever met personally any people who returned to their home country from the USA. I have met a couple of them (and I am one myself) and the tendency among them is rather to dislike America. I call it a "Pol Pot syndrome".

Yet another article (4, Insightful)

dorpus (636554) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705860)

Every year, the US media feels obliged to panic about some high-profile scientist that returns to China/India. In most cases, the same scientist will come back to the USA after 1-2 years, because they grew frustrated with the backwardness, lack of freedoms in their home country. These guys gave up promising jobs in the USA, so they have to go to some much less prestigious job in the US.

Don't believe me? Here's one example. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/28/business/global/28return.html?_r=1&ref=global-home [nytimes.com]

In the same vein, US universities like to loudly proclaim the opening of campuses in Asia, such as in Singapore, Dubai, or South Korea. Most of the campuses end up being shut down after about 3 years, because they couldn't get enough students, and the students they could get were of very low caliber. In the meanwhile, student tuition experiences huge hikes to pay for the millions of dollars to open new campuses, university administrators pat themselves on the back and give themselves huge bonuses, then when they shut the campuses down, they give themselves bonuses again for "cutting costs".

I'm definitely keen that China doing that (2, Insightful)

Haitian (1714428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705878)

I think if every country was smart as China, they would have done the same things.. Trying to get their good ones back to their country. I do not think a country with better pay job is that matter than how someone can feel when he/ she working in his/ her own country.

USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705904)

SEND 'EM BACK!

Grapes turned sour? (5, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705942)

As alluded in the article, Chinese science remains far behind, especially because of rampant cronyism in academia as well as government

This article from New Scientist:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527426.900-get-ready-for-chinas-domination-of-science.html [newscientist.com]

doesn't agree. Chinese science is in fact well up there with the rest of the world, and will overtake us soon. There is nothing strange in this - while we in the West have grown rather complacent about education, which is necessary for science, the Chinese have been ramping up their investments in education and science. This, by the way, is something their government have decided, so this jibe about ".. as well as government" seems particularly misplaced in this context.

When China was a closed country not long ago, you Americans couldn't shut up about how everything would be so much better if China would open up and become part of the global world. Now they have done that, and you whine because they turned out to be bloody clever; and all you have left is yesterday's cold-war rhetoric. The competition from China is good for us - it will make realise that we have to get our act together and sharpen up.

zquad (4, Interesting)

ackim (1265776) | more than 4 years ago | (#30706148)

As an international student who had four of my friends having to leave the US for China in 2009 and one a few weeks ago, I have to say that the US does not give graduate-degree carrying international students many options. In the US, my friend was forced to work as a web developer soliciting jobs on craigslist; however, back in China he began an IT consulting company and is currently on his way to doing $100,000+ is revenue at the end of the second quarter. Not bad for a guy that was denied work authorization in the country that trained him and paid him ~25k/yr to work at the prestigious college. It was pretty depressing when we spoke about his options and he is far from alone. I hear stories of masters technology students forced to return home and go into high school education and local banking. In my opinion, this country's policy on work authorization for well-experienced and well educated students – THAT THEY THEMSELVES TRAINED - is the reason for the drain. Not only do I see it as anti-capitalist to not compete for graduate talent regardless of status, but the current policy to prefer, on occasions, less educated and less skilled (but national) sounds more like a social program. Consider that in a world where competition is no longer national, but global. So NO, it makes sense to invest in their training if they will do their major work elsewhere but the US is not allowing them to do their major work within its borders.
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