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Glimmer of hope in China’s ‘brain drain’ battle FEATURE 07/21/2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Glimmer of hope in China’s ‘brain drain’ battle


BEIJING — Two years ago, molecular biologist Shi Yigong was a prize-winning Princeton University professor with annual research funding of more than $2 million and a seemingly limitless US academic career.

But Shi did exactly what China’s leadership hopes to see more of — he turned his back on all that to return to his homeland after two decades abroad.

The recent return of people like Shi, who now heads the life sciences department at Tsinghua University in Beijing, has provided a ray of hope for China in its uphill battle to reverse a long-term “brain drain” of top experts.
“China has contributed disproportionately to the advancement of science and technology in the United States, for example,” Shi said of the steady stream of China’s best and brightest who left for greener pastures in decades past.
“Behind China’s shiny glass skyscrapers, it has an extreme shortage of top talents and that is really regrettable.”
With aspirations of becoming a science and technology power, China has tried for years to halt an exodus of top minds, a lingering legacy of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution when campus upheavals closed universities for years.
The chaos severely set back Chinese science and academia. Afterwards, many of China’s best and brightest — with official encouragement — opted for study abroad, where most have stayed. Many took foreign citizenship.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100721com3.html


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