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U.S.- China Educational Exchange

U.S.- China Educational Exchange: State, Society, and Intercultural Relations, 1905-1950

Hongshan Li
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    U.S.- China Educational Exchange
    Book Description:

    U.S.-China relations became increasingly important and complex in the twentieth century. While economic, political, and military interactions all grew over time, the most dramatic expansion took place in educational exchange, turning it into the strongest tie between the two nations. By the end of the 1940s, tens of thousands of Chinese and American students and scholars had crisscrossed the Pacific, leaving indelible marks on both societies. Although all exchange programs were terminated during the cold war, the two nations reemerged as top partners within a decade after the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.

    Approaching U.S.-China relations from a unique and usually overlooked perspective, Hongshan Li reveals that both the drastic expansion and complete termination of educational ties between the two nations in the first half of the twentieth century were largely the results of direct and deep intervention from the American and Chinese governments. Benefiting from government support and collaboration, educational exchange succeeded in diffusing knowledge and improving mutual understanding between the two peoples across the divide of civilizations. However, the visible hand of government also proved to be most destructive to the development of healthy intercultural relations when educational interactions were treated merely as an instrument for crisis management.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4392-5
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction: Educational Exchange and the Visible Hand
    (pp. 1-6)

    The most striking phenomenon in the relations between the United States and China in the twentieth century was the emergence of educational exchange as the strongest tie despite sharp differences in their cultural, political, and economic systems. Originating as part of American missionary enterprise in China, educational exchange between the two nations drastically expanded beginning around 1900. By the end of the 1940s, China had sent more students and scholars to the United States than to any other country for higher education and advanced training. At the same time, the United States devoted more attention and resources to expanding and...

  5. Chapter 1 Emerging as Facilitator
    (pp. 7-33)

    The arrival of theEmpress of Chinain Huangpu (Whampoa), an anchorage of Guangzhou (Canton), in August 1784, marked the beginning of U.S.-China relations. The early contact between the two peoples was limited mostly to commerce with little intervention from either the American or the Chinese government. The diversification of the bilateral relations only began to take place when American missionaries set foot in China in the 1830s. However, they had to conduct their religious and educational activities either among their own countrymen in China’s only open port or with the local Chinese in secrecy. Educational and cultural interactions between...

  6. Chapter 2 Tearing Down the Barriers
    (pp. 34-59)

    Any substantial expansion in educational interactions between the United States and China depended very much on government since almost all major barriers were set up by the visible hand. The devastating defeats suffered by China and the serious crisis that emerged in U.S.- China diplomatic relations around the turn of twentieth century forced the Qing Court as well as Washington to make some changes in their domestic and foreign policies. While the Qing Court took steps to abolish the traditional Chinese civil service examination system and establish modern schools, Washington began to stop its officials from mistreating Chinese students at...

  7. Chapter 3 Qinghua: The First Joint Experiment
    (pp. 60-91)

    The first Boxer Indemnity remission check was delivered by an American diplomat to Chinese officials in Beijing in January 1909, marking the beginning of the first joint experiment in educational exchanges conducted by the American and the Chinese governments. With hundreds of thousands of dollars in hand, Beijing and Washington worked together to make sure that large groups of qualified students were selected and admitted to colleges and universities in the United States without any incidents. Begun as a training school to prepare Chinese students for education in the United States, Qinghua received the most resources and attention from both...

  8. Chapter 4 From Central Administration to Party Control
    (pp. 92-121)

    The expansion of U.S.-China educational interactions was shaped not only by the diplomatic relations between the two nations, but also by political and social forces within each country. In China, the development of education as well as educational exchanges with foreign countries was, to an even greater extent, determined by the central government. Although strenuous effort was made by all Chinese regimes in the first half of the twentieth century, only the Nationalist government managed to build an effective central control over education as well as all the study abroad programs. Taking advantage of its control over schools and educational...

  9. Chapter 5 Maintaining the Educational Front
    (pp. 122-147)

    World War II created difficulties as well as opportunities for educational interactions between the United States and China. As allies, the two nations not only fought shoulder to shoulder against the common foe on the battlefield, but also collaborated in education and educational exchanges, another important front in the war. Washington drastically increased its support for the Chinese effort at preserving the nation’s educational system and for sustaining educational exchanges between the two nations to deal with the crisis in diplomatic relations with China caused by its Europe First strategy. The Nationalist government cooperated with Washington, not without reluctance, in...

  10. Chapter 6 From Expansion to Termination
    (pp. 148-175)

    The end of World War II saw the beginning of an explosive expansion in educational exchanges between the United States and China. Over one thousand students and scores of scholars were sent by China to the United States every year in the second half of the 1940s, setting a new record. While extending its arms to all the Chinese students and scholars, Washington signed the first Fulbright Agreement with China, sending dozens of scholars and students to China with government funding for the first time in history. However, with the Communist victory in China and outbreak of war in Korea,...

  11. Chapter 7 A Historical Perspective
    (pp. 176-201)

    Educational exchanges between the United States and China experienced the most drastic expansion and abrupt termination, all within the first half of the twentieth century. As the linchpin of China’s modernization and the strongest tie between the two peoples, educational interactions—their rise and fall—inevitably had a lasting impact on the political, social, economic, and educational development of both societies and on the relations between the two nations. If the continuing expansion of educational exchange throughout this period proved that it is possible for peoples with very different cultural and historical backgrounds to share knowledge and ideas, the sudden...

  12. Epilogue: Restoring Educational Relations with the Visible Hand
    (pp. 202-208)

    On June 23, 1978, Deng Xiaoping, the paramount Chinese leader, had a meeting with a few administrators from Qinghua University, trying to find ways to revive China’s higher education and reduce the gap between China and developed nations in science and technology. Fully aware of the shortage of experts with advanced and updated education and training at all universities and research institutes in China, Deng decided at the meeting that China should “increase the number of students sent abroad” and insisted that “students should be sent abroad not in dozens, but in thousands and tens of thousands.”¹ Beijing’s decision to...

  13. Appendix
    (pp. 209-216)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 217-252)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 253-272)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 273-284)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 285-286)