China / Politics

Xi writes to Chinese in German colleges

By He Dan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-20 01:27

President urges them to study hard, contribute on return to homeland

President Xi Jinping has written a letter to all Chinese students in Germany, asking them to study hard and contribute to their motherland and fellow citizens in the future.

Analysts said the top leader sent a positive signal to attract more overseas-educated talent back home but urged the government to upgrade talent management policies to help those who return gain employment.

Xi said he was delighted when Chinese students in Germany wrote to him, saying they pay close attention to developments in China.

Xi urged all Chinese students in Germany to put their beliefs in patriotism, hard work and innovation into practice and return to their homeland with their knowledge and skills.

In 2011, 22,800 Chinese students were enrolled in German universities, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the country’s international students, according to the latest statistics from the German Academic Exchange Service, a joint organization of German institutions of higher education.

In his 300-word letter, Xi also extended his greetings and best wishes to all Chinese students overseas and their families as Spring Festival, or Lunar New Year, approaches. The letter was released by the Chinese embassy to Germany on its website over the weekend.

Xinhua News Agency reported that Xi wrote the letter in replay to an earlier letter written by some Chinese students in Germany who read about the president’s remarks encouraging overseas-educated experts and professionals to contribute to realizing the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. Xi made the remarks in a keynote speech to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Western Returned Scholars Association, an organization formed by Chinese returnees from abroad in late October.

“Xi has now talked about people educated overseas twice in three months, which is extraordinary and shows the top leadership has attached great importance to this growing group,” said Wang Huiyao, director of the Center for China and Globalization, a think tank in Beijing.

The Chinese government sponsored 2.64 million students to study overseas from 1978 to 2012, but only about 40 percent returned home after graduating, according to the 2013 annual report on the development of Chinese students studying abroad.

However, in recent years, Chinese people educated overseas have increasingly returned to their homeland after graduation because of sluggish economies in Western countries, the most popular education destinations for Chinese students, the report said.

Governmental departments and State-run companies have failed to attract skilled people who were educated overseas due to outdated management policies, Wang said.

One woman, who asked to be referred to under the alias Li Mei, said the unsound management system for returned students caused her serious trouble.

Li, an editor for a State-run media organization, said her application for an intermediate professional certificate was delayed about one and a half years due to difficulties in verifying her master’s degree, which she obtained from a US university.

Grading for professionals in China is an important factor for employers to decide whether an employee can be promoted or given a pay raise.

“Most public institutions and State-run companies have a rigid personnel management system and lack tailored policies for people who studied abroad,” said the 27-year-old. “It is really annoying.”

Yan Weilin, an English teacher at a university in Yunnan province who studied in Britain for seven years, suggested the government digitize the personal education and work records of overseas-educated individuals.

Yan said her high school lost her records after she went abroad, which affected her job-hunting efforts when she returned in 2012.

“My employer complained about it over and over for a mistake I did not make,” she said, adding her employer finally managed to get a copy issued.


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