When China’s overseas education system breaks down
More than 30,000 students at a Shanghai-based overseas education provider have been expelled over an alleged “illegal” enrolment of more than 50,000 Chinese nationals.
Key points:A Chinese official has expressed concerns over the number of overseas students in ChinaOne of the most popular overseas destinations in China is a major tourist destination with a booming Chinese economyStudents have been forced to live in the capital for monthsThe Education Ministry has now said it will investigate the allegations and the matter will be investigated by a Beijing-based expert group.
China’s foreign ministry said it was “aware of the matter and taking measures to investigate” the allegations, which were reported in the state-run Xinhua news agency.
A spokeswoman for the ministry said the ministry would “respond to the matter” and that the “investigation will be carried out with impartiality and fairness”.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing on Friday that “there are no cases of illegal enrolment in China”, adding: “We do not have the authority to expel foreign students.”
He said China was “always ready to work with the international community to promote international education”.
China is one of the world’s biggest education markets with about 60 million overseas students, a third of whom are from China.
Its top universities have long been one of its biggest draws for overseas students.
China has long seen itself as a model for international education and it has been a key player in hosting world conferences such as the International Olympic Games.
The country hosts more than 20 major international conferences each year and has a reputation as a magnet for international talent.
Its foreign ministry has often said it is keen to host high-profile international conferences but it has not yet managed to secure funding.
The issue of overseas education in China has been the subject of some debate and controversy over the past year.
In October, a Chinese government official called for a halt to overseas education programmes in China, saying they had created a “dangerous situation” in which students “could become slaves to their own education”.
Last week, an official from the Beijing Foreign Ministry said overseas education was an “urgent issue” for China and was a “serious matter” for the country.
In a separate incident in January, Beijing expelled an American student after he had spent more than a year in detention for trying to study abroad in Hong Kong.
In that case, the US student had also been expelled for a second time after spending about two years in detention.