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Monday, May 25, 2009

One in seven overseas students now hail from China

Overseas universities woo Chinese students
By Tan Yingzi
Source - AsiaOne Education
Friday 22nd May 2009

The University of Melbourne is hoping to foster more exchanges and closer cooperation with Chinese students and academics, said Professor Glyn Davis, vice-chancellor of the institution, during a visit to China.

"China is the central part of our international engagement as we have over 3,000 Chinese students now on campus and tens of thousands of graduates in China," Davis said.

With one in seven overseas students throughout the world now coming from China and Chinese students making up the largest single national group of overseas students worldwide, Davis said there is plenty of interest in attracting Chinese students.

Australians, too, are looking to learn. The University of Melbourne has been providing Chinese language lessons for "more than half a century". He said Australians are becoming more interested because of the closer economic ties, cultural attractiveness and because there are an increasing number of young Australian expats in China.

In addition to student exchange programs with top Chinese universities, the University of Melbourne is exploring the possibility of joint research projects in water management, environment protection, medicine and bioscience, added Professor John Dewar, who is in charge of global relations at the university.

Both countries face similar challenges in water management. The university and Chinese Academy of Sciences set up a China-Australia Water Resources Center in Melbourne in 2006.

Nearly 80 percent of Chinese university students have considered studying abroad, according to the latest survey by China Youth Daily. Most going overseas opt to study in the US, the UK, Australia and Canada.

During the global financial crisis, more Chinese students are expected to head overseas because of the pressure to find work and the appreciation of the Chinese currency.

Overseas universities are seizing the opportunity and looking to attract more Chinese students through greater cooperation with Chinese counterparts and organizations.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chinese tell of Tibet failures

Chinese tell of Tibet failures
John Garnaut, China Correspondent, Beijing
May 22, 2009
Source - The Age

LAST year's Tibetan uprising was caused by two decades of failed development policies that marginalised Tibetans and created a "new aristocracy" of corrupt and abusive government officials, Beijing scholars say.

Their report describes how Beijing's efforts to pour rivers of money into Tibet since 1989 to ensure "stability" have been spectacularly counter-productive.

It says private-sector jobs went to Han Chinese from other provinces, and public money flowed into the pockets of a new elite that systematically portrayed community discontent as "separatism".

"They use every opportunity to play the separatism card," says Phun Tshogs Dbang Rjyal, a founder of the Communist Party in Tibet quoted in the report.

"And they will try hard to apportion responsibility on 'overseas hostile forces' because this is the way to consolidate their interests and status and eventually bring them more power and resources."

The fieldwork was conducted by four Peking University journalism students who went to Lhasa and a Tibetan region of Gansu province last July.

The report was compiled and recently published on the internet by Open Constitution Initiative, a non-government organisation run by prominent lawyers and intellectuals in Beijing.

The uprising that embroiled much of the Tibetan plateau from March 14 last year is considered one of the most serious challenges to Communist Party rule since 1949.

The report's existence defies a mammoth Government propaganda and security blitz, which Tibetan exile groups say has led to hundreds of Tibetans being killed and thousands being incarcerated.

Propaganda authorities have blamed the violence on Tibetan "criminals", "hostile foreign forces" and "the Dalai Lama clique".

Xu Zhiyong, a prominent human rights lawyer who helped prepare the report, said he hoped it would be picked up by the domestic media, but doubted it would influence government officials.

Tibetans are nevertheless heartened that a balanced account of the causes of last year's uprising can now exist in China.

"As a Tibetan I feel this report is very important," said Tsering Woeser, a prominent Tibetan poet in Beijing. "This is a rare and treasured report under the current circumstances of one-sided official propaganda."

The report details how Beijing's heavy security and propaganda response further alienated Tibetans after the uprisings.

Monks, who Tibetans saw as "the divine clergy", were subjected to "socialist patriotic education". Even card-carrying Communist Party members were treated as security threats because of their ethnicity when visiting Beijing during last year's Olympic Games.

"Just because I was a Tibetan there was no hotels allowed me in. This made me so angry," said a Tibetan woman, Baima Jizhong, when quoted in the report.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reluctant earthquake star takes centre stage

Reluctant earthquake star takes centre stage - looks like the Chinese propaganda machine has some kinks it needs to work on.
Source - The Age 120509

Source - The Age

THIS is Xiao Yawen on the plane to Beijing, where she is to star tonight on China Central Television's extravaganza to mark the anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake.

A year ago Xiao was photographed in the arms of a particularly handsome soldier, Sheng Yufeng, on the morning after the quake that destroyed her home in the mountains above Beichuan town.

The legend is that Mr Sheng reunited Xiao with her mother after they had lost each other in the exodus of earthquake refugees.

Reports said he carried the girl through Beichuan for an hour because the girl's grandmother was exhausted after holding her all night.

Xiao remained happily oblivious to the fuss she was causing in the media until a journalist from the Western China Metropolis Daily finally tracked her down last month.

Last Wednesday, CCTV flew her to Beijing and The Age happened to be seated next to her on the plane. Xiao, as feisty as she is cute, was not at all happy about having to sit for two hours on a plane in sweaty Qiang minority costume to perform for the cameras.

"It's a hassle," Xiao's mother, Yang Shengchun, said. "I refused to go many times, but they kept on asking."

Ms Yang said her daughter had no special story, nor did the soldier with the nicest smile. "We weren't injured," she said. "On May 13 soldiers were taking the healthy survivors through old Beichuan town. One of the soldiers picked her up — the photograph looked like a rescue, but it wasn't — I don't really have much to thank them for."

The People's Liberation Army has a history of legendary soldiers who fought floods, plugged oil wells with their own bodies and performed other selfless acts to protect the nation and capture the hearts of the masses. Typically these heroes, like Lei Feng in the 1960s, were created by the Communist Party's Propaganda Department.

Sheng Yufeng is different to his soldier-hero predecessors because his popularity among users of the internet appears to be genuine and spontaneous.

Nevertheless, the party and PLA propaganda machines have been working overtime in the year since the earthquake to ensure the masses know to whom they should be thankful.

On the ground in Beichuan the reality was not so glorious. Soldiers were conspicuously absent from rescue work in the early days that mattered.

On Saturday, The Age quoted a soldier who said he left a trapped survivor for dead and said his orders did not permit him to rescue her. She was subsequently rescued by local volunteers and firefighters.

That story was censored yesterday in China and The Age's computers in Beijing repeatedly crashed when trying to open it.

Beichuan town remains unoccupied, a graveyard town. Ms Yang and Xiao have been relocated to Anxian town just outside the mountains.

Friday, May 1, 2009

China & Australia Ties

Defence plan ruffles the Chinese
John Garnaut and Brendan Nicholson
May 1, 2009
Source - The Age

THE Chinese Government is bristling at reports that tomorrow's Australian Defence white paper will call for a big build-up of naval and air force power to counter the potential military threat of China.

Senior Chinese diplomats and scholars say they are confused at Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apparent hawkish stance and predict Beijing will formally raise concerns.

"For us this is confusing," a Chinese diplomatic source told The Age. "Kevin Rudd was supposed to be the Chinese-speaking Prime Minister who would provide a bridge between China and America. "But now it looks like he wants to be act on behalf of America against China. This is going to be hard to explain to the Chinese people."

He emphasised, however, that the relationship was probably strong enough to withstand tension over defence policy. "The momentum in the relationship is unstoppable."

Chinese concerns may have been heightened by a briefing given in Beijing by the white paper's authors on deadly new capabilities for Australian forces that will include an estimated 12 new long-range submarines equipped with cruise missiles.

"China definitely will not accept Australia adopting the so-called China threat thesis," said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at the People's University. He said Beijing would raise "serious questions" with Australia...

Click here to read full article.