China hit by brain drain, report says

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-01 06:57

Since 1978, more than 70 percent of all the Chinese who traveled abroad to study chose not to return home, a report has said.

The Report on the Development of Chinese Talent in 2006, published yesterday by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that between 1978 and 2006, about 1.06 million Chinese went to study overseas.

Of those just 275,000 returned home during the period, the report said.

Of those who stayed overseas, more than 200,000 went on to find jobs or were granted citizenship, it said.

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About 300,000 people went abroad with the initial intention of visiting relatives, but later enroled in higher education and stayed, the report said.

Yang Xiaojing, who helped draft the report, said: "This shows that Chinese students overseas, especially those with extraordinary abilities, are a real hit in the global tug war for talent.

"While strictly controling the inflow of foreign labor to protect the interests of its domestic workforce, most developed countries spare no effort to attract the best talent from around the world," he said.

"Against the backdrop of economic globalization, an excessive brain drain will inevitably threaten the human resources security and eventually the national economic and social security of any country," he said.

The lack of first-class scientists and research pioneers is the main thing hindering China's innovation capability, the report said.

"Of the many reasons for the brain drain of Chinese students, huge social and economic gaps in terms of personal income, employment opportunities, working conditions, research facilities and living standards are the main ones," the report said.

The Ministry of Personnel has enacted a plan to lure about 150,000 to 200,000 overseas-based students back to China by 2010 by offering a series of preferential policies on income, welfare, housing and education for their children.

To solve the relentless outflow of talent, the report urged the establishment of a talent security alarm system to monitor the flow of domestic talent.

The report stressed the importance of implementing the promised preferential polices, as the main concern of many talented people was finding a good and solid home and work environment.

China's backward management and lack of supervision of personnel recruitment, which is also sometimes plagued by corruption and nepotism, were also blamed for driving away talent, the report said.

(China Daily 06/01/2007 page3)

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