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China’s brain drain

December 18, 2012

Beneath China’s stellar skyscrapers hides the nations grim reality. Given the opportunity, freedom and economic might to travel, young Chinese are increasingly finding ways to escape the country. According to a study by the Centre for China and Globalisation (CCD) and Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) School of Law Chinese immigrants – more than 150,000 Chinese became permanent citizens of major immigrant countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in 2011. The findings which were jointly released in the Chinese International Talents Annual Blue Book’s International Migration Report (2012) noted that International migration in and out of China spiked in the past decade. In 2010, the number of overseas Chinese reached 45 million, ranking first in the world.

Fleeing the socially dismal state of affairs is not only human capital but also value. Recently, China was nominated the world’s top source of tainted or black money. Totaling US$5.9 trillion of the global US$859  over 10 years through 2010. According to the Global Financial Integrity, a research and advocacy group in Washington, DC China tops the list of developing countries sending illicit money abroad, either to offshore havens or to financial institutions in developed countries. In 2010, illicit money out of China totalled US$420 billion, the report said, and exceeded US$2.7 trillion for the decade ending in 2010 – nearly half that period’s total for all developing countries.

The socially sorry state of affairs is what is driving human capital to nations that guarantee a higher standard of living, and better human rights. While China’s new government has promised to reign out unnecessary expenses, and close the gap between the have and have-nots, what needs to be seen is how Beijing derives to improve China’s social structure. A positive sign is that they are looking south to their more benevolent neighbours India – who have seen success in the Mid-day meal scheme and integrated child development scheme (ICDS), which are the world’s largest school lunch and early childcare programmes. Teams from China recently expressed interest in studying India’s systems to be able to feed and take care of their growing masses.

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