China’s unhealthy obsession with foreign education and degrees
BEIJING – The marketable and exploitable obsession of the Chinese for everything “Western” is legendary and has reached epic proportions, as everything Chinese is deemed low-quality, archaic, and not quite good enough. Whether it is Western cars, Western medicine, Western architecture, or Western education -the people are flying for it. Here’s a famous analysis from China’s cultural master JI Xianlin, dating from 1996:
“We virtually worship all that is Euro-American. Hamburgers, KFC, Pizzas, and the fabricated California Beef Noodles. Anything, if labeled with foreign words, turns glamorous and shines; and multitudes of people fall over each other to get it. Even some names take on a foreign savor, individual as well as business names. As to cosmetic products, import goods have established their authority, while goods made in China have also crowned themselves with foreign appellations, to add to them a massive consumptive luster. Not strange that very patriotic mind is stricken with pangs and shame, condemning such an adulatory fad and behavior of fawning upon things foreign.” —JI Xianlin
This Chinese worship of foreign things played into the hands of big brands and multinationals who rake in huge profits and benefits from the total Westernization of China.
All this has the inevitable consequence that Chinese products and Chinese thoughts are largely marginalized, including knowledge about China, the Chinese language, and Chinese certificates, credentials and degrees.
Since over 1 billion East Asians dream about going to the United States or Europe and work or study there, they will look with disbelief to Westerners who chose to come to China and complete their education in Chinese schools and institutes of higher education. How could anyone with a sense abandon the Western privileges and lower himself and his standards to a third world country? Letting alone getting a degree from a developing country?
In a nutshell, whereas the Europeans, Americans, and even the Japanese look at their own education as the pinnacle of achievement, tested loyalty, and secret to personal success, the Chinese are suspicious of home-grown talent and even reward those who earned foreign degrees. This is not uncommon in colonial situations and furthers ministers to Western world hegemony -but is it healthy for China?
Here’s an article entitled ‘The perils of being associated with China‘ first published in The Korea Times on May 1st, 2014, which addresses the present and future of China’s self-destructive obsession with foreign education and degrees.