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Oh, boy, do the Chinese love Harvard!

By Thorsten Pattberg Updated: 2014-07-28 20:37:34

It is no secret that the Chinese have a crush on Harvard. Naturally, high intelligence is drawn to elite universities like physical strength to top sports. Ivory towers now have come to salute outstanding Chinese applicants on a scale unprecedented in history. Harvard has de facto become a Chinese outpost.

It is not alone. Whether it is the University of California, Berkeley and Yale University in the United States, or Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, the top schools are brim full with Chinese prodigies or else engage in China-related research and cultural diplomacy. Good for China's elites, but there is a dark side to it, too - brain drain.

The latest piece of evidence comes from a $15-million donation to Harvard by billionaire couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin to establish a "Soho China Scholarship". This wasn't at all that newsworthy because Chinese donations like this to Harvard are somewhat common, but this one in particular sparked outrage (or was it a well-orchestrated publicity campaign? ) on Chinese social media.

Oh, boy, do the Chinese love Harvard!

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