February 14, 2007

CIRCLING THE DRAIN (via Ali Choudhury):

China plans to take action on brain drain (Sydney Morning Herald, February 14, 2007)

The number of well-educated Chinese leaving to work abroad is growing, and many who go overseas to study do not return home, state media say.

Of the 1 million Chinese people who have studied abroad since the 1980s, two-thirds have not come back, a Chinese think tank has reported.

"It has been a great loss for China - which is now in dire need of people of expertise - to see well-educated professionals leave after the country has invested a lot in them," the official newspaper China Daily quoted one of the report's authors, Li Xiaoli, as saying. [...]

The newspaper said in an editorial that the Government should do more to encourage these people to come home.

Like hop in the wayback machine and help Chiang win instead of Mao?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 14, 2007 8:00 AM

Post-9/11 INS immigration rules prevent the world's brightest students from staying in the US after they complete their education, so they go elsewhere.

Posted by: Gideon at February 14, 2007 9:14 AM

And how many of these brain-drain fellows are actually spies working for the People's Republic of China???

Posted by: obc at February 14, 2007 10:52 AM

Chiang was corrupt and incompetent. He exceled in infighting and nothing else. Mao exceled in propaganda. Like the Vietcongs, he turned defeat into "victory" using propaganda. That is, his loss was billed as victory, and Chiang's victory was recasted as oppressions. Chiang did not kill indiscriminately, but Mao did, he erased villages to get rid of eyewitnesses. In a hot war, the ruthless one always wins. The rest is history. The only remedy is a federal system with elections, not Chiang, the warlord.

"Post-9/11 INS immigration rules prevent the world's brightest students from staying in the US..." Not true. The brightest can always stay. Those who are bright enough to gain employment always have ways to apply for work visas and stay. The employers are their lobbyists. It has been that way since at least the '60s. Nothing much changed. Those who were forced to leave were those who couldn't get a job in their own fields. Pre-911, they could stay on as illegals doing odd jobs, such as waiters. Post-911, they have to leave. As a matter of fact, it is better for them to leave because once they have worked illegally, they would be unable to get a legal job requiring their expertise. In the US economy, once you can't get a job the first year after you've obtained your degree, legal or not, you'll have a hard time getting a job later without relevant work experience.

Posted by: ic at February 14, 2007 1:16 PM

Chiangistan is one of the most successful nations in the world.

Posted by: oj at February 14, 2007 1:36 PM

Gideon: What are you talking about? I know bunches of foreign citizens who have seamlessly transitioned from student visas to full employment since 9/11.

Posted by: b at February 14, 2007 3:16 PM

Wait, let me guess, China will place travel restrictions on it's people soon and only the Chicoms will be free to travel, but they'll defect anyway. I think I saw this movie before, but I remember the Wall was alot smaller than this new version.

Posted by: KRS at February 14, 2007 5:27 PM

ic, about half a year ago on this blog, you basically made the same simplistic and historically inaccurate accusations about Chiang Kai-shek being incompetent and added that he had been a fascist to boot. I will repost my response from back then:

Unfortunately, sometimes, history isn't that simple. Chiang Kai-shek was a complex man. He wasn't all angel, and he wasn't all devil.

He was a military dictator, but he was also seen by many Chinese, including Sun Yat-sen, as indispensible because of his undeniable warmaking skills at a time when it was military power that would determine who ruled China.

During the 1930s, some of Chiang's political supporters, most infamously the Blue Shirt movement, believed that fascism, with its reputation then for instilling in youth a strong discipline and a vibrant love of nation, was just what a badly divided China needed, but he himself was a traditional Confucianist and was not a fascist.

During Chiang's fight from the 20s to 1949 for political ascendacy on the Chinese mainland, he did not enjoy undisputed power. He faced active and powerful opposition from local warlords who had their own independent armies, Kuomintang dissidents who enjoyed greater political support in the party rank and file, and the Communists who controlled their own political, government, and military forces. In a very real sense, he was first among equals, but he did not and could not wield absolute power in the way that Stalin and Hitler did and that Mao later would. He had to grapple with many competing political interests in China, something that Truman, Marshall, and Stillwell never understood since they simplistically thought of him as a pure dictator.

Many of his own family were corrupt, but he himself was not corrupt.

Because he ultimately lost the Chinese mainland to the Communists, Chiang was seen as weak and indecisive, but by the beginning of the 1930s he had come close to bringing in almost all of China proper under the Kuomintang government's nominal rule. Within China, only the Communists remained as a significant opposition, and they were on the verge of extinction when the Japanese invaded and destroyed Chiang's political achievements. This was something Mao himself acknowledged after the Communist had won in 1949 and a Japanese delegation apologized to him for having invaded China. Mao replied they had nothing to apologize for. If Japan hadn't invaded China, he said, the Communists would've been wiped out by Chiang's armies and Chiang would've won.

During the war years, Chiang was criticized by the Chinese anti-government press and by key State Department officials for oppressive rule, but his Kuomintang ran a government where public criticism could exist in contrast to the press in Communist-controlled areas which was a creature of the Communist Party and which tolerated only the Party line.

In Taiwan, he carried out a little-known, but bloodless land reform that was one of the foundations of the island's subsequent economic takeoff, while his Communist rivals carried out a land reform that was highly praised, but cost the lives of millions of Chinese in the short run and ended up in a utopian fantasy costing the lives of tens of millions more in the long run.

During the late 1940s, in Taiwan, while fighting a massive civil war with the Communists on the mainland, Chiang's government killed tens of thousands of native Taiwanese, but created a political system that, while a military dictatorship, would eventually allow non-Kuomintang political candidates to run and win office in local elections, many of whom went on to become the leaders of the island's new political parties.

Perhaps Chiang's greatest political legacy is that he chose as his successor his son Chiang Ching-kuo. Chiang Kai-shek was indeed a military dictator, but his son would go on to liberalize the island's politics and become the grandfather of democracy on Taiwan. In contrast, on the mainland, Chiang Kai-shek's great rival Mao bequeathed a political system that remains under the absolute domination of one party to this day.

Truly, history - and life - is not simple. Chiang did many terrible things, and he had many failings and failures. But he was not a monster, and he was not an incompetent fool.

Posted by: X at February 15, 2007 12:37 AM

Growing up, I had the notion that Chiang was considered somewhat of a dumb bunny by his wife's intellectually superior brethren. At that time, we didn't suspect the media was playing us for dumb bunnies because we believed them.

Posted by: erp at February 15, 2007 10:31 AM