VIVIAN Liu, 24, an undergraduate student in Beijing, was standing in a long queue outside the US embassy in Beijing Friday to obtain a US visa in the hopes of attending Columbia University on a master’s degree program.
Liu is among the hundreds of Chinese people who queue outside the US embassy every working day, applying for a visa that will allow them a chance to go to the US. The goings and comings between China and the US has been increasing year on year. It is reported that, every day, there are on average 14,000 people traveling between the two nations.
As a matter of fact, the US remains one of the most favored destinations for immigration, travel or study among Chinese people. However, following Donald Trump’s election, US immigration policy has become stricter, not easier. More young Chinese students in the US are also the victims of a rising tide of hate crimes.
On the other hand, the change in the balance of power between the two countries is altering Chinese people’s attitudes about the American Dream. Unlike their predecessors, more Chinese students are now choosing to go back to China after their studies abroad; they no longer regard staying in the US as their ultimate goal.
A more attractive China
Over 50 percent of all Chinese students who plan to study abroad tend to choose US schools, according to the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE), an organization under the Ministry of Education.
“Trump’s strict policy will directly affect illegal immigrants. He wants to safeguard job opportunities for Americans, but it has nothing to do with me, because all I want is to study in the US then return home, rather than stay there forever,” Liu told the Global Times while waiting in line.
“Students of our generation are not like our parents’ generation,” said another student applicant surnamed Wang. “Between the 1980s and 1990s, many Chinese who had an opportunity to study in the US wanted to stay there, as China was still undeveloped then. But now, apart from advantages in higher education and technology, I don’t think the US has many reasons to attract Chinese youth to immigrate.”
According to data released by CSCSE and New Oriental Education & Technology Group, in 2017, 73 percent of all overseas Chinese students tended to go back to China to start careers. Many American Chinese are also deciding to return to China f or new careers in this new era.
Jeremy Dai, 23, an MBA student from the School of Economic Management (SEM) at Tsinghua University and also a third-generation Chinese immigrant in the US, told the Global Times that at his school, more than one-third of all international students are Chinese with a “foreign nationality,” primarily Chinese Americans.
Boosting bilateral trade
In this new era, trade ties between China and the US are also smoother and more interdependent, as China is becoming increasingly important to the US.
The US, however, tends to constantly express its unhappiness about “unbalanced” trade ties with China. Before Trump’s recent visit, trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies began to heat up, with Trump calling the US trade deficit with China “embarrassing” and “horrible” on Wednesday, US financial broadcaster CNBC reported on Thursday.
“China is the biggest source of America’s merchandise trade deficit, though the US enjoys a surplus in service trade to China,” observed An Gang, a member of the academic committee at Pangoal Institution, a Beijing-based think tank, told the Global Times.
“Another reason for the imbalance is that the US restricts the export of high-tech products to China, and Trump’s attitude to the negotiation on the bilateral investment treaty, which can ease the limitation on US technological exports to China, was not very positive,” An said.
“China and the US still need time to make trade ties more balanced. It requires a joint effort. A balanced trade relationship between China and the US will also benefit the world economy, and Trump’s visit in November could be a good opportunity to achieve breakthroughs for a win-win result,” he added.
Friction and interdependency
A more intertwined relationship between China and the US also means more friction. Chu Yin, an associate professor at the University of International Relations, pointed out that, “an increase in friction between China and the US, be it economic or security, is normal, but it’s not always bad for the both sides.”
“With joint efforts, a community with a shared future between China and the US can also be built,” Chu said. “After the US complained about market access, China made more efforts. The best example is Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s idea of cross-border electronic commerce. With the assistance of Chinese enterprises like Alibaba, millions of small and medium-sized US companies will have an opportunity to access China’s markets.”
On June 20, Chinese online sales giant Alibaba held a summit in Detroit, Michigan. The summit was designed to educate US small- and medium-sized enterprises on the market and consumer demands within China, and to convince small American businesses that Alibaba can help them sell to China while also creating one million jobs in the US over the next five years.
Apart from economic and trade issues, the US also has high expectations for China to solve its security problems, especially the Korean Peninsula nuclear crisis, CNBC reported.
Song Zhongping, a military expert and Phoenix TV commentator, said that, “Apart from North Korea, the US also has friction with us in many other issues, like the South China Sea issue and the Taiwan question, and it demonizes China’s overseas military presence, such as China’s first overseas logistic base in Djibouti.”
Song said the US should realize that China’s increasing military presence overseas is for safeguarding China’s interests, not to harm the US and any other country’s interests, which will contribute to global security. “In the US, there are voices suggesting deeper Sino-US security cooperation, rather than confrontation, and we hope they can become the mainstream.”
“The Trump administration is extremely pragmatic, which makes us easier to reach an agreement. In the history of Sino-US relations, China’s relationship with a pragmatic Republican government is better than at other times,” said Chu.