A U.S. based blog site – weiquanwang (rights protection site) – recently published an open letter to the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and requested that China stop providing blanket massive subsidies to foreign students in China. The letter stated that millions of ordinary Chinese people have to tighten their belts for their children’s education, while the government hands out disproportionate subsidies to thousands of international students in China.
As of July 31, 2018, 295 people had signed the letter, which was titled, “Citizens’ Opinion on Requesting an End to the “Universal” Fiscal Subsidies to Foreign Students.” Among them were 49 lawyers (not including one lawyer who withdrew under pressure), six journalists, and 240 doctors, professors, teachers, and other activists.
The author Liu Shuqing, a human rights Lawyer and a lecturer from Shandong Qilu University of Technology, has already mailed it to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Chair of the National People’s Congress Li Lishu; Minister of Education Chen Baosheng, Finance Minister Liu Kun, and Director of Legal Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee Chen Chunyao.
The letter stated, “We are not a group that suffers from xenophobia. . . . We understand our government’s moderate assistance to poorer countries. We understand the practice of granting scholarships to a small number of outstanding foreign students, but the principle body of doing this should be schools and universities. . . . What we are opposed to is the ‘universal’ and high amount of fiscal subsidies to foreign students without considering our national conditions. What we oppose is the irrationality of policies and the lack of procedural justice in the process of policy making. What we value is the Chinese national’s equal rights to education and the taxpayer’s rights to have a say on fiscal expenditures.”
The letter pointed to the fact that China’s per capita income in 2017 ranked 69th in the world, a very low level. By China’s own poverty standard, 40 million people are still living in poverty. Without a system that provides the basic guarantees of education and medical care, incidents of poverty related dropouts have occurred from time to time. Chinese university students need to pay a high tuition. Scholarships, assistantships, and work-study programs cannot offset these payments. For an ordinary Chinese family, a university education is a heavy burden.
The letter criticized the handing out of 60,000 to 100,000 yuan annually to almost every foreign student, the number of which has grown dramatically. It is an immoral policy as the government is obligated to have its actions be approved by the tax payers before it makes such policies of foreign aid.
The letter said it understands that there may be strategic considerations related to the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. By increasing the proportion of foreign students in the country, the regime hopes that they will become the backbone of the local people and help to promote strategic implementation. However this way of using fiscal subsidies to attract foreign students is wrong.
Source: Radio France Internationale, August, 9, 2018