• Education

    Introducing China’s Third Species (Female PhDs)

    Jokes about women PhDs are many in China. The most famous and ignominious is that earth has three species – men, women and women PhDs. A well-known writer of kungfu novels, Jin Yong, writes of women with bachelor’s degrees as Huang Rong (clever and beautiful), but by the time of reaching PhD level female characters become comparable to Meijueshitai – old nuns with kungfu skills whom are cruel, fierce and ugly. Amid such a challenging cultural backdrop, are Chinese women put off? Reportedly many. However, there are nonetheless many tens of thousands of women in China doing PhDs. 2012 2013* PhD Graduates 51,713 139,411 Female 19,250 49,180 PhD Entrants 68,370…

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    Studying in English in Hong Kong and Beijing: Three Differences

    Hong Kong and Beijing boast some of the best universities in Asia. Having studied at the University of Hong Kong and Peking University, here is my personal take on three differences between studying in English in Hong Kong and Beijing:  Firstly, in Hong Kong typically universities use English as the medium of instruction.  Chinese (Cantonese and, increasingly, Mandarin) is used as a supplement. So in theory, you are on the same playing field as your Chinese classmates. Very often this means you can choose courses in line with your interests and career plan. The situation is different in Beijing.  While Chinese universities continue to increase the number of English-language programs…

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    Studying Tourism in China: The Top 20 Schools

    The tourism industry demands a wide range of skills of its talent pool – mobility, multi-lingualism, ability to serve, cultural awareness and operational management skills among them. The tourism industry in China is growing faster than the national rate of growth, and added nearly $US1trn to GDP last year.  Yet China’s tourism industry is unprepared for the scale and speed of its own ascent. China’s “Hawaii”, Sanya, for example is reporting a shortage of English-speakers with proficient international-level tourism industry acumen to fill vacancies. Getting the right people to the right vacancies may require a change in the way tourism talent is developed, one starting point for which are China’s…

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    Five Reasons to do a Degree in China; and Five not to

    An increasing number of students from around the world are enrolling in degree-programs in China. Additionally, an increasing number of joint-PhD and joint-degree programs are being set up between Chinese and non-Chinese universities, largely for graduate students, but also including undergraduate degrees. For persons contemplating their future study choices, this piece presents a short list of five reasons to do a degree in China, and five reasons not to, that might be a useful reference point. Five Reasons to do a Research Degree in China:  1. Language:One of the deepest linguistic dives is to study in a second language, lifting your language from an every day skill to a more professional…

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    Conducting Fieldwork in China

    If you’re a masters or Ph.D. student conducting social science research on China for your thesis or dissertation, at some point you might find yourself in China for fieldwork. Having recently spent a year in China for my own dissertation fieldwork, here are some suggestions for a successful (or at least not overwhelmingly painful) fieldwork experience in China. 1) You’ll need an affiliation. Unless you are going to China for very short periods of time, you will need an affiliation in the country for three reasons. First of all, you will need an institution to help obtain a residence permit. Most tourist visas only allow you to stay for 30 days, but…

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    Alice in the Confucius China Studies Program

    I agreed to fairy exchange some knowledge service with a friend few hours ago, and here I am, trying to figure out how and why I ended up being a PhD Student officially enrolled at Peking University. To make a long story short: I think I was made for China. and studying in China, and now I am supported to do this by the Confucius China Studies Program, which I herein explain. I applied for the Confucius program in 2013. I had a BA and MA from Italy’s Venice University in Asian Studies, one fresh HSK (Chinese language test) certificate, one semester at Beijing Capital Normal University, one year at…

  • Education

    Suzhou: From Canals to Clouds 2.0

      Some 66km inland from Shanghai is the ancient settlement of Suzhou. Today home to 13 million residents, the city is famous for its ancient canal system, temples and gardens – but maybe not for much longer. A series of only-in-Suzhou innovation and research clusters may redefine not just Suzhou, but global innovation infrastructure and output.

  • Education

    Anti-Corruption By Degree: China’s Crackdown Moves to the Academic Sector

    The financial crisis of 2008 brought China’s decades-long reliance on cheap manufacturing exports to induce extraordinary growth and savings rates to a spluttering end. The plan henceforth is to stimulate domestic-led growth through science and innovation. As a consequence China’s universities and research community are now more important than ever within the broader Chinese national vision and economic reform process. And hence, the academic sector is, according to Chinese media, also coming into view of China’s corruption investigators. This piece introduces the nature of the corruption, and some examples of the on-going crackdown. Corruption in the academic sector in China is said to apply mainly to capital expenditure, admissions and…

  • Education

    China Student Visa Update: X Marks the What?

    In late 2013 China changed its visa system for foreign aliens. This piece offers a simple related update, focusing on three key points as applying to students: 1) Explanation of the new X1 vs X2 visas; 2) Can students now work in China?; 3) Can students work in China after graduating with a Chinese degree? 1.     X1 vs X2 Visas. Previously short-term student visitors to China held F visas, and long-term students held X visas. Now short-term (periods less than 6 months) students hold X2 visas. Long-term students (greater than six months) hold X1 visas. According to the Law and Border blog, X2 visa holders must register with their local Public…