A third of students want to live abroad

By Yin Ping (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-23 07:21

SHANGHAI: More than 30 percent of Shanghai's high school students want to move to another country, according to the results of a survey reported in the Shanghai-based Labour News.

According to the survey's findings, 13.1 percent of the 602 junior middle school students polled said they wanted to become citizens of the United States, while 6.8 percent of them said they wanted to become Japanese and 11.5 percent wanted to be other nationalities.

The ratio was more dramatic among the 550 senior middle school students polled 36.9 percent said they wanted to be American, while 14.9 percent said they wanted to become Japanese.

The survey, conducted by the Sociology Department of Fudan University, was designed to gauge the national sentiment of the city's high school students.

The results were not surprising, said Gu Xiaoming, a sociologist from Fudan University which is based in the city.

"The students' answers are a collective representation of society, which places too much value on foreign culture and professionals who have returned from overseas," Gu told China Daily.

Open secret

It is an open secret that many members of the country's cultural, arts and entertainment elite have gone off to live in other countries, particularly the United States and Japan, he said.

Shanghainese tend to appreciate foreign culture more than some of their compatriots, making them more open to foreign ways, the professor said.

He added that the widespread interest in foreign culture left little room for the city's own historical heritage.

Parents' encouragement

"Many parents in Shanghai send their children abroad to study, hoping they can become foreign nationals," Gu said. "Some of them even hope their children will marry foreigners."

Labour News also reported the results of a survey of the parents of high school students, which found that 33.3 percent of the parents polled said they would like to become Americans if possible.

And 37.9 percent said they would encourage their children to do so.

Gu said he was happy to see that a majority of the high school students polled said they wanted to retain their Chinese nationality.

"Shanghai's high school students have been exposed to a lot of foreign culture. They may soon go beyond the stage of worshipping other cultures and return to their own," he said.

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